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ON GOOD VERSUS EVIL

 

By Yemi Soneye

Friday, May 06, 2011.

It does not matter if he fought on the side of good or evil. A warlord will feel crashed when the war ends. Headaches will be his lot every morning after euphoriants taken to weather chilly and feverish long nights had gone. Coming down from the high horse of a militia strategist and orderer to just another citizen of a peaceful society will be hard on his sensibilities.

The pincers of the realization will grow like ramiform into his wellbeing. The luxuries he enjoyed are gone. No more shall he get booty. His name will no longer strike anyone with dread. On the streets, people will walk with him shoulder to shoulder. Sighting him will no longer send anyone into the safety of a gutter. And as such, any attempt by his threatening chest or even daring gun to infringe on rights will be killed by the verdict of the judge. He might even be jailed for it.

There is no way around wars. The ultimacy is decimating the enemy, if not materially and physically, socially, economically and psychologically; both the good and evil warlord aim for this. But variants of justifications are often attributed to war causes. This is mostly out of the need to lessen guilts. However, every conscience knows that ‘collateral damage for the greater good’ can never rationalize war.

The words are mere offering of chocolate bars to people who will drink bowlfuls of bitter-leaves juice with the great expectation of sweetened mouths. The toils of reconstruction that wait are rarely regarded. That is even unrepresentative of the woes of war. It touches only infrastructures. What about the humans that will die? Can offering people, children inclusive, to the god of war on the pyre of expunging evil make a war cause good?

Let us assume a bi-faceted war and we are attempting the identification of the good and the evil side. To our chagrins, we will discover, if we take all parameters however insane into account, that the sides are relatively indistinguishable. In particular contexts: A is the Overarching Evil that must be hacked down for the sustenance of the world while in the other; B is King Evil and must be dethroned for continued world balance. It is all contextual and this is where it gets tricky. Evil gives you the license to kill and Good gives you the license to kill. Who now is evil? Who now is good? They really seem to converge in this particular realm.

Perhaps, we can get to separate the evil and good side of wars in the manner by which the campaign is carried out. Perhaps, we can regard the side that resorts to the crude use of rape, mutilation of corpses and other sickening methods on his enemy’s unprotected folks, knowing fully that acting a humiliator is potent enough to shatter his enemy’s stony heart, as the one whose soul has been permanently encroached by darkness.

Perhaps we can regard the side that kills with bullets, and then wears black clothes and mourning dispositions minutes after, all attentions rapt for the respect of the dead as a hired holy man performs burial rites, as the one whose soul is lightly held by the forces of darkness or the one who still makes effort to wrest his soul from the clutch of darkness. Perhaps, but that they both get people killed clamps them together. The only difference is that one is cool about it.

Wars do not go on forever, enmities do though. Wars stop at some point; when either side had won or both realize the futility of war. But in either case, the position of the reconciled warmongers differs from the warlords’. The warlords cannot really be expected to simply lay the arms that they were cheerfully given at the beginning of the war.

At the points of arms collection, the warlords and their army, probably ordinary easygoing people, get transfigured by the near omnipotent power carelessly thrust on them into unquestionable monsters. And as it is that wild characters can only survive in the wilderness unless domesticated by iron cages, the peace of warlords are just irrevocably tied with the continuance of war.

The warlords that give in to peace exist in the sufferance of untold societal and self-inflicted afflictions. Those that resent it find other ways to be useful. They become bigger Frankensteins until they die gruesomely. The recently dead Al Qaeda Emperor Terror, Osama Bin Laden, was of the United States, Iran, China and Saudi Arabia bankrolled Mujahideen that fought Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan in 1989.

In Ivory Coast, Ibrahim Coulibaly, leader of the Invisible Commando, played a front role in the ending of former President Laurent Gbagbo’s infamy.  He was on the side of good but he balked when new President Alassane Ouattara ordered the militias to surrender their arms and join the new army. He instead requested for a meeting with the President, a father figure to him, as a first step to disarming. However, he will not get it. He has been murdered by unknown persons.

Yemi Soneye was born in 1991. He is a graduate of Agricultural Economics and Extension from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. His works have appeared on Sentinel Nigeria, Saraba magazine, Istanbul Literary Review and Palapala magazine. He was a winner in the 2010 StoryTime One Sentence Short Story Competition. 

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