Innocents Suffer in the Modern War

The world is witnessing one of the largest human evacuations, combined with untold civilian suffering, in Lebanon after Israel began its “counteroffensive” strikes on the country. The strikes were aimed at the hard-line Islamist group, Hezbollah, after the group took two Israeli soldiers hostage and killed two others in a cross-border raid against Israel.

By doing so, Hezbollah seems to be signaling the official start of an indefinite war with its longtime adversary, Israel, and inviting another full round of carnage in the Middle East, which has seemed to have calmed down for some time, before.

Hundreds of thousands fled for their lives to their respective countries, and many are still struggling for a safe escape from the Lebanese sites, which at this moment shuddering under the overwhelming bombardments and rocket strikes from the Israeli fighters and tankers, which they claim is to counter and destabilize the “terrorist” group Hezbollah.

Besides the relentless exodus these civilians have experienced, another gruesome aspect hitting the global headlines these days is the massive number of civilian casualties on both sides. For the time being, the civilian deaths are more profound on the Lebanese side, where Israeli aggression towards this Islamic hardliners seems to have blindfolded them to see the loss of innocent lives, while dispersing the heavy artillery targeting the Hezbollah militancy.

Terrorism associated with extremism of any form can never be supported. But this doesn’t mean that any regime fighting terrorism should disregard civilian lives simply because they happen to live in the same place as terrorists. More unfortunately, the forces involved in modern warfare, be they from the side tagged with “terrorists” or from the other side who claim to stand as “anti-terrorists,” seems to have failed to accord ordinary innocent lives with an utmost degree of respect.

Yes, the respect for humanity is hard to expect from any insane elements who perceive brutality as their power or a way to justify their cause. For instance, Iraqi insurgents routinely kill innocent civilians in cold blood, but refrain from terming it as a crime and instead call it a form of “martyrdom.”

How can a suicide bomber be termed “brave” or a “martyr”? Martyrdom could be termed as something when a person saves lives at the cost of his own. Killing vulnerable women, children and passers-by is not bravery, but only cowardice and an ugly crime that can never have a pinch of justification from any religious perspective. Just because you don’t regard and respect your life as God’s gift doesn’t mean you are free to do the same to the others.

How insane it looks when the Iraqi insurgents, by killing roadside civilians, try to prove their cause and say that they would “counteract the invasion” by doing this. And how unbearable it looks when hard-line groups like Hamas (esp. in the past), Hezbollah, or any other termed as a radical entity from their attitude and action from the world’s view at large, try to prove their political stand, simply disregarding the loss of lives due to their attacks on the “enemy.”

The toxic religious misinterpretation and extreme unwillingness to look into one’s own heart and mind for what is wrong or right seems to have blindfolded the people who are tormenting the peace of the modern world, and who are termed as “terrorists”; an obvious term that spontaneously flows out from any lover of peace, not only from those who might have selfish political or strategic interests.

By saying this, there is no way that Israel or any other country can avoid the responsibility of protecting civilian lives, simply by claiming that there are “terrorists” on the other side. Reports have suggested that Hezbollah have used civilians as human shields, or that some “civilians” also have assisted the violent actions of the group. But does this mean that Israel won’t bear any responsibility if it doesn’t distinguish between its enemy and an innocent life, simply because the enemies are hiding among civilians without a recognizable uniform?

Attacking any civilian habitation as a whole, by claiming that it is impossible to sort out the enemies from the innocent populace, seems like another kind of insanity and disregard for human life, which also terrorizes the people like the ones being sought after. The brutality caused by the creatures who term their evil deeds as “noble” fail to acknowledge the hatred – and only hatred – they gain from such acts, doing away with any sympathy they might get for the suppression or injustice that they had suffered.

Such inhuman acts will never help the world listen to those who commit them, nor will they receive any justice or sympathy from the world community. Anti-human activities will only shove the perpetrators down the abyss of neglect and hatred from those who still view peace and humanity as the essence of living.

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