War and Who Does it Affect?
War is a touchy subject for all of us as it attracts all of our human emotions. War draws in our anger and excitement to defend the country we hold dear in our hearts. War seduces our happiness when the war is won. Above all, war’s number one fan is sorrow. Kien’s stepfather from the book The Sorrow of War was filled with fear and unease knowing that Kien was off to war, “You are all we have left, your mother, your father and I. I hope you live through the war and return home to Hanoi,” (2). He cannot stop Kien from going. War causes friends and families to be torn apart. They are only left with dreams and prayers that one day the he or she comes out of it alive. Civilians are harmed by the effects of the war through fear, finically problems, the destruction of their town and Mother Nature, emotional distress, and in the worse case getting caught in the bloodshed.
It doesn’t just affect the people at home. War as well affects those on the battlefield. “Kien shuddered and jumped closer as bullets poured from all sides towards him. He hadn’t cared, standing firm and firing down into the man’s hot, agonized body in its death throes. Blood gushed out onto Kien’s trousers. walking on, leaving blood-red footprints in the grass,” (3). Soldiers are forced to be rehabilitated into an emotionless killer. There is no racial thinking nor emotions. In the simplest term, they were robots. Along with this, when the war ends as Bao Ninh puts it, “Losses can be made good, damages can be repaired, and wounds will heal in time. But the psychological scars of the war will remain forever,” (4). Though they made it alive and are reunited with friends and family, it is not the same. These men/women are left with psychologically problems that no average daily human will ever understand. “He was at a stage when he had no idea how he would spend the rest of his life. Study? Career? Business? All those things he had once considered important, and attainable, suddenly seemed meaningless and beyond his reach. He was still alive–just. He had no idea of how he would earn his daily living. It was a time of utter isolation, of spiritual emptiness, of surrender,” (5). Many are left jobless due to missing limbs or mental issues. They are left clueless and confused on how to function in society. They have lost touch with themselves and what it means to be human. Thus, they begin to use drugs, alcohol and sex to try and forget all of the pain. As days, months, years go by, many of these soldiers are left in the past. They are left isolated in a world that no average human being can understand.
The saddest truth is, these complications affects everyone. Win or lose, the people back at home from both sides face these difficulties. Win or lose, the soldiers from both sides face these struggles. Win or lose, sorrow is an inescapable part of war no matter what side you belong to.
1. Ninh, Bao. The Sorrow of War. New York: Riverhead Books, 1995.
2. Ninh, The Sorrow of War, 58
3. Ninh, The Sorrow of War, 17
4. Ninh, The Sorrow of War, 193
5. Ninh, The Sorrow of War, 74
6. Image URL: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3835/14427406036_e424cd9ba8_o.jpg