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Civilian Fodder

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The Chief of Hamas in Gaza has said that civilian deaths are ‘necessary sacrifices’ in the war against Israel. This should come as an eye-opener to those well-meaning people that are protesting around the world against Israel for carrying out a ‘genocide’. Israel’s allegation that Hamas fighters deliberately hide among civilian habitations, including hospitals, is borne out by this admission. Terrorism, by its very nature, seeks to achieve its goals by disregarding human rights and values. Civilian deaths are only a means to pressure the opposition, be it in Gaza or Kashmir.

India’s strict moral code in the battlefield thousands of years ago was much more evolved than is the case even in the present day. Wars were fought between those who were trained to fight and adhered to the code of the warrior. Unfortunately, those who broke the rules, over time, gained an advantage once the purpose of war became more than merely proving one’s skills on the battlefield. If Israel, today, sticks to such principles, as it is being persuaded to do, it will lose, as did India’s kings in the past.

This was explained by Krishna to Arjun when the moral dilemma arose about fighting against one’s own kith and kin. Duplicity cannot be allowed to prevail by taking advantage of a set of rules that is followed by only one side in the ‘contest’.

In sports, in regulated courts of law, there is an endless effort to ensure the rules are followed and nobody cheats. Unfortunately, in war and politics, the results too often justify the means. Hence, it is necessary for the righteous to not just win the contest, but also do so through an understanding of the reality.

The world has seen the most devastating wars, even the use of nuclear weapons. It knows that going down that route for the resolution of differences will lead to a calamitous end. Conventions and institutions have been developed to resolve differences in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately, injustice continues to be inflicted unrighteously upon the weak by the strong. The tests of truth and justice fail to be enforced. For some it is a fight between good and evil, but without knowledge of either. Others seek power for the satisfaction of the ego, or to defend ill-gotten privileges. War justifies none of these. Sadly, it continues on and humanity stands helpless, still deceived by the illusion of victory and defeat.