Can Wars Be Celebrated?

Can wars be celebrated and martyrdom hailed?
Can there be ‘good wars’ promising the larger good, and
‘bad wars’ cursed for the bloodbath they bring along?
Can there be wars to remember and wars to forget?
1947, 1965, 1971, 1999.

But they do,
they say in unison,
loud and clear,
“We triumphed and they had to bow down to their disasters.”

Wars fought over territories, geographies and democracies.
Did anyone care to trace the ethnographies?
The border towns are crying in agony,
lamenting the loss of shared heritage,
the syncretic culture, the shared identities and memories.

They are tarnished like a corroded truss,
in animosity, hostility, and aversions,
ready to fall over my head and their heads too.
Trickles on my wrinkled skin, where blood once flowed
has never ceased to stop – and my bones are brittle
as if my torso is being smashed and crushed
every now and then,
from both sides.
Once united, they have now fallen apart –
far, far and far apart.

Difficult memoirs of ageing mothers and fathers
their offerings for the sanctum and altar
are now wrapped in the tricolor – the martyrs.
The ‘noor’ (light) of their eyes and
the ‘saboor’ (patience) of the widowed women,
both young and old,
are now fading away.
And the orphaned children–
whose hands are they going to hold?

Fifty years – five decades – have passed.
More like five centuries,
but we are still alive
to witness more triumphs – and disasters?
They tied our souls within the barbed wires –
The wires that I have seen across the borders.

And then they tell us,
“These wars were fought for the good”
Whose good?
“Let’s celebrate”, “Let’s celebrate”!
Whose celebration?

Wars can be anything but good
and victories anything but moments to be celebrated.
“…There was never a good war or a bad peace!”
As Benjamin Franklin once said,
For a nasty price, both sides have paid.

Sabine Ameer is a 25-year-old architect-urban planner and a development practitioner in the making. She is currently a commonwealth scholar pursuing an MSc in conflict, statebuilding and development from the University of Birmingham, England. Her research lies at the intersection of conflict, cultural heritage, and cohesion which also in a way has greatly influenced her poetry.

Featured image credit: Amazon Prime Video