War is a terrible thing — but the subject keeps rising in my consciousness. There is the unsteady state of international affairs, my frightening memory as a young bride during the Vietnam War, and even the political comment of a strange UK artist named Bansky in the way he has decorated his West Bank Hotel, in the midst of continuing conflict. All these images swirl in my mind.
I know that war has been with us as long as people have existed, but I still hold on to the hope that humans will become wise and prudent if not kind and cooperative. After all, we pay for war through human lives, and that is too high a price.
A memory flooded back from the 1960s, during the Vietnam War. I was a young wife and mom; my husband was a mechanic with the Naval Reserve. I was driving when the announcement blared over the car radio that his Jet Pilot squadron was being activated along with their support team. I pulled over to the side of the road and sobbed, convinced my husband would die.
Every time there is a war, young men and women lose their lives in combat. Unfortunately the decision for war is made by leaders whose families are not at risk. I shudder every time leaders – mostly men – rattle their sabers, and when there are irresponsible, erratic leaders here at home or abroad, the possibilities of destruction is immeasurable.
A few months ago the NYT printed an article about UK artist Bansky who opened The Walled Off Hotel on the West Bank of Israel. The very location, the name, of the hotel, even some of the art caricatures and criticizes war. Take a look at the portrait in one room of an Israeli and a Palestinian having a pillow fight over a bed. War is not a game, the artist shouts; it is real and deadly.
— Jonnie Martin