The Legacy of War

30 Oct

I feel fortunate. I’ve never (so far) lived in a country ravaged by war, and I can honestly say I hope I never do. That feeling of gratitude was magnified recently, when I talked with an acquaintance who was raised in Kuwait and was living there during the Gulf War. Maybe I was too young to notice the reality (I was about 16 at the time), but I thought the Gulf War was a pretty open-and-shut case with few casualties.

Apparently, I was wrong.untitled

Recently, I listened to this person talk about what it was like to be trapped in one’s home for months, no electricity, no water, no school…uncertain what would happen when the money ran out (no one could work). She was 15 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and she cried as she described the teenage Iraqi soldiers starving and asking for bread at the checkpoints. She cried even harder thinking about the families who couldn’t afford meat because no one was bringing in any money.

I’m not sure I’ll ever forget the look she gave me when she said, “War is horrible. No one should ever go to war.” She was equally as emotional when she described her fear of blackouts, due to the PTSD she still feels from having no electricity for so long. I guess I was a little naïve to think the Gulf War was an easy operation.

What’s more–she and I were roughly the same age when the war started. How different our lives were at that time. My concern–which date to accept for the coming weekend. Her concern–whether the family would have enough to eat that night for dinner.

Now, I know differently. I also understand why so many people who have seen war first-hand have an almost visceral reaction when the subject’s brought up. So, as different conflicts rage around the world, I have a new perspective on PEACEFUL conflict resolution. Because now I understand that, when you’re the collateral damage of war, the effects last a lifetime.


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