For most of your life, you’re told that “…everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.” Which is true, of course. But when it comes to a more global matter, war issues seem to stir up a whole pot of opinions. In “Testament of Youth,” Vera Brittain is faced with her lover going off to war and the changes she and he will face together as time goes on. During this trial, Brittain questions many things, including the war itself. In her book, she writes:

‘Is it really all for nothing – for an empty name – an ideal? Last time I saw you it was I who said that and you who denied it. Was I really right, and will the issue not be worth one of the lives that have been sacrificed for it? Or did we need this gigantic catastrophe to wake up all that was dead within us? … It is awful to think that the very progress of civilisation has made this war what it is … For me I think the days are over of sheltered physical comfort and unruffled peace of mind. I don’t think they will ever come again.’

I think this speaks perfectly for what it is to question war – so many sacrifices have to be made when someone goes off to war and Brittain sums them up nicely. She points out that the most precious thing is sometimes made a sacrifice – life. It takes her sweetheart to go off to war to fully appreciate and question the war surrounding her. For some people, however, it just takes living in the eye of the storm to see how destructive war can be, physically and emotionally. In her blog, called “Raising Yousuf and Noor: diary of a Palestinian mother,” a Muslim from Gaza named Laila El-Haddad writes about the war going on there. In one of her posts, she writes:

There is a an unfamiliar stillness in Gaza today, says my father. No
F-16s ripping through the sky. No ravaging explosions. There is time to
hear yourself think. All a sort of anesthetic. A pause in a sick
calculated brutality- to allow the caged disposables a moment to

contemplate their options- to create the illusion they even have options … And so the cowering uncower. The homeless return to no homes. The decomposing dead are unearthed from the rubble, only to buried once again. The damage is surveyed.

Uprooted trees. Entire
groves. A city eviscerated. People burned to a cinder. Disemboweled
streets. And more tales of horror on every corner.

25 more bodies recovered from Samouni family. An ethnic cleansing.

Reports of executions by young trigger happy Israeli soldiers, cheerleaders on the borders. A boy, 15 years old. And in between air force pilots on playstation.  ‘I want to destroy the city’ said one gleefully. And sub-contracts are handed out to further enforce the siege. Hands are shaken. Lives taken.

A woman’s 5 sons are killed in the assassination of Saeed Siam. they lived in the building over.

Laila points out the sacrifices made in the Gaza Strip conflicts – lives. She doesn’t have to sit and wonder what happens when war takes over the world. She lives in it. She sees daily the lives taken and mothers who will never see their sons and daughters again. She breathes the sorrow and worry that war delivers to each family affected. Laila El-Haddad and Vera Brittain share similar worries and wonders. They both see the pointlessness of that “necessary evil” and both women question why it takes civilized nations such bloody means to come to an end, if one comes. It makes one think about today’s Iraq war, why we are in it and what will happen in the future. It makes one wonder what the difference is between opposing World War One, the Gaza Strip conflict or the Iraq war. All three brought about the same consequences and sacrifices.

References:

Brittain, Vera. Testament of Youth. U.S.A.: Penguin Books, 2005.
El-Haddad, Laila. “Gaza rising.” Weblog post. Raising Yousuf and Noor: diary of a Palestinian mother. 19 Jan. 2009. 22 Jan. 2009 <http://a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com/2009/01/gaza-rising.html>.

As I was drifting through Milblogging.com, I came across a man named Fraser. Fraser is currently an airline captain in Iraq (he’s originally from Texas). I started to read one of his posts from his blog entitled “Sticky Mud” and immediately was brought back to the poets we were reading from World War One. Fraser describes his current miserable living conditions:

“Everything you wear becomes muddy: the back of the helicopters are covered with mud, inside the trucks we drive is mud, and on the chow hall floors it’s mud. Plus, it’s not like the good mud, if there is such a thing. It’s a sticky crappy mud. It sticks to everything and doesn’t wash out. So now everyone is wet, cold, and muddy.”

What did this remind me of? A certain British poet named Seigfried Sassoon. He wrote a poem entitled “Trench Duty” that rings back to Fraser’s post about living in the trenches. He writes:

“Shaken from sleep, and numbed and scarce awake, Out in the trench with three hours’ watch to take, I blunder through the splashing mirk; and then hear the gruff muttering voices of the men crouching in cabins candle-chinked with light…”

In Fraser’s post, repetition of the word “mud” and “muddy” brought into my mind our class discussions of parallelism. He is a very poetic writer whether he knows it or not!  It also reminded me of a poem called “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen. He writes:

“Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through the sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge.”

Owen and Fraser both display disdain for the settings they are surrounded with and they don’t try to hide the dirtiness and uncomfortableness of living in the middle of they eye of a war. I can only assume that they are both talking about trudging through the same “sludge.” It doesn’t really matter if it’s WWI or the Iraq war – it’s messy survivalism either way you look at it.

References:

Fraser’s blog website: http://badtoad.com/

World War One British Poets. Mineola: Dover Publications, 1997.

At first, when I was working on this bibliography, I thought that I would only focus on one problem in the world: Gaza and the Middle East. But then I got to thinking, which is never a good idea because when I think I make things more complex for myself. So that’s what happened with this blog project. Not only do I want to focus on troubles going on in the Middle East, I want to focus on the whole world. I want a broader view. And I want to somehow include Mr. President Barack H. Obama into this project as well, so I will when it seems fitting. At first, the focus on Gaza and the Middle East will be prevalent, since I did most of my initial research on the subject. But eventually I will branch out onto more global matters. So, for now, here is the list of sites I will be using:

1.) Milblogging.com. This site seems to be a popular one, as you can find almost any kind of soldier blog here. It will come in handy when I’m looking for first-hand accounts of war and the nature of living in that kind of situation.

2.) allAfrica.com. This site is nifty because it shows news from all of Africa, hence the name. It pans the continent searching for news articles about conflict and that’s exactly what I will need as a contributor for my global perspective studies for this blog.

3.) Gaza Strip News – New York Times. Because, at first, my main focus will be on Gaza, this site helps. It keeps me up to date on current happenings there, as there are many recent updates. I trust New York Times because it just so happens to be one of the best news collectors out there.

4.) Raising Yousuf and Noor; diary of a Palestinian mother. This blog, from a Palestinian mother and journalist, gives me great insight into the Middle Eastern conflicts coming from a Palestinian perspective. She writes so poetically that I think it will deem fitting for this class.

5.) Al Jazeera. This source will prove to be a good one because, like allAfrica.com, it scopes most of the Middle East, including Gaza itself, and presents the reader with a compiled list of articles relating to the Middle Eastern conflicts.

And now for my Obama sources:

1.) Obama HQ. This site is nice beceause it has the inaugural speech as well as other speeeches from President Obama. It will be a nice reference when I want to look at language and comparing/contrasting the authors we will be studying to Obama.

2.) msnbc.com: Barack Obama News. This is just a straightforward Obama news feed that lets me know what the latest news is. It comes in handy because I will need to know what Obama is doing around the world in response to war and conflict, and msnbc.com will keep me up to date with that.

3.) Obama’s global to-do list – csmonitor.com. I like this site because it goes around the world and keeps an eye on conflicts and what Obama is planning on doing or what he is doing about them.

Again, this is my list for now. It is bound to change as the semester rolls on and I focus on different areas of the world. Thanks for reading! Do widzenia!