Much like chemical weapons, conventional arms kill innocent civilians
With the 20th century came many new wars and the destructive mentalities of fascism and communism. The deception of the so-called lower races and the ridiculous claim they did not have a right to live were popularised. As these twisted ideologies were infused into people, it became easier for some to kill others. This mentality spelled disaster and the 20th century witnessed two horrible world wars.
The use of chemical weapons was one of the foulest legacies humans left behind in this era. Certain politicians deeply admired during war times, such as Winston Churchill, openly advocated the use of chemical weapons. Prisoners of war became test subjects for chemical weapons and the first world war resulted in the death of more than 100,000 soldiers from chemical weapons.
During that war, 124,000 tonnes of chemical gas were used. In 1919, the British Royal Air Force deployed chemical bombs against Bolshevik revolutionaries during the Russian civil war and again against the Kurds in the region of Mosul, Iraq. During the same period, fascist Italy also used chemical weapons. As a result, more than 100,000 Abyssinians lost their lives.
During the second world war, it was the Japanese who resorted to using chemical weapons the most, carrying out chemical attacks against other Asian countries, particularly the ones they regarded as lower races.
In 1988, the Iraqi regime unleashed a chemical attack on the Kurdish population of Halabja, killing 5,000 people within minutes.
As the production of chemical weapons went on, wars and skirmishes around the world continued with the relentless and ever-increasing use of conventional weapons, including napalm and barrel bombs.
While chemical bombs killed people in horrible ways, conventional weapons were just as bad. They destroyed people’s houses and blew their bodies to pieces. Just like chemical weapons, conventional weapons and bombs, which are also massacre machines, were used with insidiousness and perfidy, again mostly affecting civilians. Today, civilian casualties from conventional weapons have reached dramatic proportions.
The international community’s strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons is praiseworthy. However, the reason many private and non-governmental organisations remain silent when it comes to conventional weapons should be questioned.
We all saw how strongly the media reacted to the recent chemical attack in Syria, with headlines naming it a “crime against humanity.” Earlier, however, when civilians were killed in Damascus, Daraa and Idlib with conventional weapons, the world did not show the same indignation. While the UN Security Council quickly convened after the chemical attack, it did not take any action for the attacks that took place one week before.
It is certainly wrong to consider the loss of innocent lives to conventional weapons acceptable and dismiss it as “collateral damage.” If bloodshed–particularly the dropping of bombs on innocent people– is considered normal, should we not worry about the reign of such unscrupulous people? Regarding killing people with bombs and machine guns as acceptable while condemning chemical weapons might pave the way for a major disaster.
Yet, sadly, that path has already been paved. The silence we witness while such a terrifying amount of blood is being shed is alarming. This is a form of subliminal reconstruction imposed on society by certain war profiteers. It leads to people getting used to things they would have never otherwise gotten used to and advocating things they would have never otherwise advocated. It is up to all of us to put an end to such an insidious perception.
The struggle we face is to avert any ideology that deems people worthless and war reasonable. Wars are cultivated by twisted ideologies; those same ideologies foster ruthlessness. It falls upon us to thwart the schemes of those who present weapons of mass destruction as a lesser crime in their own ways and to refute the mentality of those who consider war a necessity.