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Can we abolish war?
June 29, 2006 1:27 AM   Subscribe

Green Parrots: I just finished reading this book by Dr. Gino Strada, a war surgeon and founder of Emergency, an Italian NGO, whose mission is to provide medical treatment to civilian victims of war. A series of essays on his experiences in far away places like Peru, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Sudan and Cambodia where 90% of the casualties he treats are better known as collateral damage. One third are children under 14. He ends with a heartfelt essay that asks, "Is it legitimate to accept war as an inevitable prospect for current and future generations?"
posted by infini (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Book Description
Designed to look like toys, green parrots are small, winged cylinders roughly four inches long that flutter over lands devastated by war, but are, in fact, antipersonnel mines. This book introduces us to the endless destruction that the green parrots have spread throughout the world, and in so doing raises an urgent question: Is it legitimate to accept war as an inevitable prospect for current and future generations? After appearing in numerous languages since its initial publication in 1999, this English edition is particularly timely. The appendix of Green Parrots contains the complete text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, approved on December 10, 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which begins by proclaiming: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." No matter who triggers a war, the end result will be a catastrophe for civilians who bear no responsibility for it. --Dr. Gino Strada
posted by infini at 1:29 AM on June 29, 2006


No matter who triggers a war, the end result will be a catastrophe for civilians who bear no responsibility for it.

This is nothing new. It's been going on since man started walking upright and all the "wars to end all wars" just result in more of the same.

"Is it legitimate to accept war as an inevitable prospect for current and future generations?"

It may not be legitimate, but it certainly is the pragmatic view.

Nice post infini.
posted by three blind mice at 3:41 AM on June 29, 2006


"The good doctor is a 55 year old heavy smoker with a quadruple by pass.......a kind of indirect gift from Saddam Hussein."
Good post. Thank you. I will think a little differently now every time I see and hear the local green parrots in fly past.
posted by adamvasco at 4:22 AM on June 29, 2006


I think war is analogous to slavery. Children don't get angry and think "I'll assemble an army and attempt the organized slaughter of my opponents' family and friends." They may think about murder, but not organized mass murder, so war is socialized behavior. It's certainly pervasive (just as slavery once was), but the fact that it's socialized means that it can be unsocialized. I have some doubt that wearing white rags is a step toward sustainable peace.
posted by scottreynen at 4:43 AM on June 29, 2006


The documentary on Afghanistan you linked to - as well as this previous one - is also very striking. I remember the scene mentioned in the comment on imdb, one of the young fighters he treated wanted to get back to fight immediately, and Strada was trying to argue with him. It was almost funny, in a way it was the typical doctor's frustration when confronted with a stubborn patient, only obviously compounded by that context of people getting blown up and maimed every day.
posted by funambulist at 4:59 AM on June 29, 2006


scottreynen - that's exactly it. Dr Strada uses the word legitimate. Analogous to slavery - which still exists in parts of the world today, but none of us can conceive of it as legitimate nor can we condone its existence. It was globally accepted just a hundred or so years ago, and today it is not. similarly, if the concept of large scale war can be made illegitimate, even if conflicts continue, wide swathes of peoples around the world would not accept that it can be the answer or allow it to happen openly. even that would make a major difference to the number of conflicts around the world, no?

three blind mice, it may be pragmatic to accept it is inevitable, but if death is inevitable, is hastening it necessarily so?
posted by infini at 5:39 PM on June 29, 2006


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