Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Man's Inclination to Invade

Left: Norman ships sailing to England
Right: depiction of fallen D-Day soldiers on the beach at Normandy
Within a space of a few hours, we visited two historic sites which coincidentally focused on the same theme - invasion. One the invasion of England, the other an invasion launched from England.

The Bayeux tapestry is an incredible depiction - in embroidery - of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and events leading up to it. William the Conqueror sailed from France to defeat the usurper Harold and become the first Norman king of England. http://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/la_tapisserie_de_bayeux_en.html

The other site was the American cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, one of the landing locations of the 1944 D-Day invasion of the Normandy coast. During the battle for the foothold on continental Europe an estimated 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded, or went missing. For all of World War II, as many as 25 million soldiers and 55 million civilians died.

Growing up, I saw a lot of movies and television which sanitized WWII. But when you visit, in person, sites like the Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor or you touch the names etched into the wall of the Vietnam memorial - and you recognize names of people you knew when they were alive - the sense of sadness is overwhelming.

What a waste that so many die and suffer because of the greed of a few.

And ultimately the root of war is greed. For power. For wealth.

It may be fueled by hatred, revenge, racism, fear. The elite stoking pseudo-nationalism so the serfs willingly throw their bodies into battle. And ultimately the elite control more land, more tax revenue, more oil, more personal perks. The world's so-called leaders are all too willing to send other people's sons and daughters into battle so the realm of designer-dress galas and offshore bank accounts can be preserved.

The soldiers who do not fall on the battlefield are then ignored when they return home, left to struggle with their wounds and inner demons.

Ever hear of a President or Prime Minister suffering from PTSD?

In the past thousand years, from the mace-wielding William to the drone-bombing Bush and Obama, we don't seem to have learned much.

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