I just finished watching an incredible and thought provoking documentary on the Spanish Civil War of 1936 - 1939. After the fall of Spain's Monarchy and abdication of King Alfonso XIII in 1931, the different factions of Spain's diverse population struggled for power and dominance in the newly formed Republican Government. The Government was fragile from the beginning, formed from factions of Fascists, Communists, Socialists, Liberal Democrats, Monarchists, Catholic Conservatives and some Anarchists. The winds of war and spilling of blood was inevitable, as it was only a matter of when not if.
In 1936, the military, who remained under the sway of the fascists, monarchists and Catholics revolted against the Republican Government in Madrid. Soon Gen. Fransisco Franco came to the fore as the leader of the Fascists and lead a bloody and relentless campaign against the government. A loose confederation of Communists, Anarchists, liberal democrats, socialists, and foreign volunteers put up a staunch defense of the Republic and in the beginning of the conflict seemed to be able to withstand the fascists forces. But as the conflict progressed, internal fighting between the different factions of the Republicans along with military aid from Hitlers Germany and Mussolini's Italy turned the tide of the war, and the Republicans crumbled.
After the war, Franco carried out a viscous and cruel purge of any remaining opposition in many little known Spanish concentration camps. In some cases, Francos men resorted to outright public executions. This story is not somehow special or different and has been told thousands of times in thousands of conflicts over the course of human history. Before the war, they were just Spaniards, then the war caused by nothing more than ideology and a sense of righteousness turned Spaniard against Spaniard.
No one ever stopped to ask how ideas, only different ideas and beliefs were more important than the lives of their fellow countrymen. Most wars have this fog that settles over the populations, dividing humans into ideas, splitting our species into violent sides based on the illusion of infallibility.
Abraham Lincoln in his first inauguration address, in an attempt to stem the tide of Southern revolt in 1861, said:
I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Unfortunately for that Civil war and many like it, our better angels remained as silent as the dead that littered the battlefields of so called glory.
It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it. ~Robert E. Lee
I am not naive enough to think violence and war will not continue. With regret, I can not even say I see some war, some violence as unavoidable. Such is our ability to produce a few humans of unimaginable ignorant hate and unbridled insanity, who will not cease nor reason until forced to. I merely echo the words of John Lennon, "All we are saying is give peace a chance."
I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace. ~Dalai Lama
Whoever said idea's don't kill?