What categorizes a war fought on just principles? This is the question that religion, philosophy and human morality grapple with every day ever since the beginning of time. It is a long standing debate- the subject of many books, poems and art work and displays the grey area of morality that most human matters reside within. This is an extract from a speech I once wrote for a competition and it is still largely relevant to this day.



A few months ago, a boy stumbled in front of the internet, a young boy, about the age of five, caked with dust and blood his face covered in scratches and bruises. He was a survivor from the Syrian war. He was a child whose parents were killed in front of his eyes. He was a child whose entire world was ripped into shreds by war.

And he is just one of the many affected. Wars kills millions. Thousands are displaced from their homes. Each individual’s death leaves a void that can never be filled. Families are torn apart. Humans are reduced to killing machines. Maybe in another world, another life they might have been friends. But the situation brings guns to both hands. Friends ? Family? Nothing exists. Survival is all that matters. War doesn’t determine who is right or wong. It determines who is left alive. it isn’t about victory or defeat it’s about the utter utter failure of humanity.

Why  war?

People go to war for power, religion, oil, patriotism. Others argue that we war for freedom, and to fight injustice.

Patriotism. Throughout the course of our life we’re taught the old lie. It is sweet to die and kill for your country.  Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. While there are many reasons worth dying for there are none worth killing for.  Just as you love your country, the other side loves theirs. Who decides which side is right?

But what about when fighting injustice? What do you do when innocent people around you are killed? Sometimes, you have no choice but to continue the fight, to ensure a better tomorrow for the future. But liberation takes its price. Remember, an eye for an eye only makes the world blind. War may perhaps be necessary, yet the utter disregard of humanity that takes place during conflict, ensures that war can never be justified. Fighting fire with fire, sees the world perish in the smoke.

And what is the end of war?

For the people left alive, life never remains the same. Children are left orphans. It takes decades for a country to recover from the effects of war. And the hatred and emotion that it instills in both sides, lasts generations.

The end of war is only seen by the dead as it never ends. The fight may end, the weapons may stop but the hatred never leaves the people. Peace is still an envisioned illusion. Children play wars but not peace as we are yet to know it.

If we think religion or different ideologies justifies war, we are wrong.

If we think patriotism can justify war we are wrong.

If we think there is anything that can truly justify war we are wrong.

For war can never be justified.


– Adyesha Singhdeo