Is there such a thing as a “just” war? by Cecilia Pang

A child grips the rail of the tear stained window, waiting. Suffocating in sorrows so deep, she’s drowning. Her heart is tired from all the waiting. It’s like waiting for an ice cream truck that never comes. When will it be over? The sounds of wailing pierces the silence of night. The glow of lights illuminate the woman next door, who clutches a piece of paper. The creases on her face harden into scars that will never heal. What does all of this mean? As she closes her eyes, she remembers the despair of hearing about her brother. Will I lose my father too? Her hands grasp themselves onto a single word, war, this word was responsible for everyone’s loss. War often becomes a competition between two opposing forces either for good or for the bad. The effects of war on people and society itself can be devastating. War is not an answer to justice in that it tears human conscientious, and destroys innocence.

Thick strains of bodies are hunched together. The strenuous thump of hearts. The thoughts of surviving and death swirl around the soupy destruction of war.                                     Men are caked with mud, and blood drips down their sticky skin. Dozens are resisting, but some have learned to let it go. Their glass like eyes freeze from the broken promises the sky has thrown down. The last whispers of their wives and children that they will never see again, wisps from their cold lips.  Life after life, death after death. Countless men die but blend into a fuzzy number. They were nothing but numbers. One life worth a lot, but hundreds, thousands, they’re only a number. Numbers are prominent in war. The larger the number for the enemy, the better. Only when perspective is changed and life has altered, the realization of killing dawns. A just war is an oxymoron in itself. The process of killing a human being is atrocious. Bringing justice often means punishing another for their wrong actions. However in a large scale event like a war, the process of killing becomes a game. The focus is not on the lives taken but the feeling of victory at the end of the day. The soldiers that are hired to do the dirty work are ripped apart. Consciously, a gut feeling breathes the fact that killing another person is not okay, nor will it ever be. Upon hearing the word war itself, makes humans cringe. Deep down, conscious knows it is not right and the constant spoon fed lies of how war can be right is a mask of fury over the fear of being a coward. All wars result in innocent people dying, and that is the determining factor of the injustice of war in itself. Through the process of conscience being broken, innocence is streaked.

The ashen bleached face of the sky, now seeps with blood. The sky gleams with pride and the people die. The futures of many are bundled up and tossed into an abyss bound to return. The world has changed, as people have changed. A blind eye is turned against love, forgiveness, and towards peace. The thought of resolving problems is war. What does war mean? The sacrifice of lives will not make things right. They never had. The world will not move ahead. Caught in the past, not focusing in on the future. Killing does not bring justice, it is not an excuse. The thoughts of those affected by war are now jagged and broken. The fragments of love possessed before are hardened by the passing of war. Not only do inevitable deaths of innocent civilians occur but those affected are changed forever. How many lives are going to be sacrificed for a “meaningful cause?” How many are going to die, in order to prove a point? Thousands of innocent, unknowing people in oblivion trip into the path of destruction. What becomes of them? The stakes are painstakingly high. War does not underhandedly bring justice to those who deserve it, but it brings a domino effect, that knocks everyone down.

Time really does take its toll. A little child but woman at heart. Seen more and felt more than those twice her age.  She is exhausted from hoping, holding onto that last thread of faith. She doesn’t want to feel anymore. She wishes she didn’t love. It’s exhausting. And her mama is locked in psychological warfare. Dysfunctions by the minute, eyes filled with nothing and see nothing. Days spent by the window, not eating, not sleeping, not caring. Humans are complex beings, bursting with the determination to do anything while being able to withstand unbelievable circumstances.  At the beginning, a “just” war is simply not justified. Two words that repel, cannot be mashed together.  Justice is about being morally right, being guided by the truth, and reason. What is the truth? Truth undeniably was built by instinct. There is an understanding of the truth that war is not just. However, when there becomes a distortive view of war to purposes that are mainly based on justice, it easily tumbles into a bigger mess that encases many people who are not intended to be involved. Humans are not perfect and often justice can be flawed. That is why justice can also be equally guided by resentment and revenge. War and justice lie on two parallel lines that do not cross even when the burning sun encases everything.

The smell is what hits her squarely in the chest. That undeniable smell of cigarettes and ash twirl around her as she stares at the closed eyes of her papa. Nothing else in the world meant more to her than he did. His infinite love would be carved into the depths of her heart, but deep down she knew that the world would never truly get the chance to know her father like she did. She’s grown up too fast, her eyes have seen the mounting piles of pain and soulless bodies. Her heart has shriveled, afraid to let go of the past, and terrified of the future. Life goes on, but her mind a funny thing, will never forget. It’s written in the unforgiving skies as she calls out to her papa. War did this to her papa, and she will never forgive that. It’s becomes extremely hard to forgive, but it will be the first step to learn to accept past mistakes. It is the key to love, that envelopes peace. Fighting fire with fire does nothing. It ignites kindled rage and hatred. Instead, hope, a bird that perches in souls radiating warmth that means rebirth instead of destruction. A promise that mistakes have been made and the only thing to do is to go on and not make them again. To get past history, to teach others that life does go on, no matter the amount of loss, that life can be good again. *We cannot, we will not make the same mistakes of having wars again for whatever reason. Once is enough, twice is more than enough, and the third time should never happen.


Her eyes brim with tears as the drops land on her papa’s cardboard face. They begin to form seeds in the creases of wrinkles on her father’s face. Seeds of promises and new beginnings that began to form in the wrinkles of time. 

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