War Tourism

“Make Peace not War,” raps Skepta. This here piece is about tourism and war. For all you wannabe Christiane Amanpours out there who’d like to traipse to Palestine and Congo in your Louboutins and Chanel quilted bags, this one is for you.
In Vogue, April issue.

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2 thoughts on “War Tourism

  1. Von Clausewitz who wrote the definitive treatise on war distinguished between real war (to serve some political or economic aim e.g. land grab as in NEFA/Kargil or peacekeeping forces) and absolute war which he defined, beautifully, as an act of violence to compel the opponent to submit to our will.

    My humble opinion is that depravity should be studied where it occurs i.e. where the decision to wage war is taken. Why did Mahmud Gazni attack India? Genghis Khan? Alexander? In all their motives is the depraved use of violence – conquer at all costs. Their foot soldiers who actually do the killing cannot be called “depraved”; they are actors in the war theater, mere puppets following orders. American soldiers during the Tet offensive were not able to distinguish real peasants among gun-toting peasant guerrillas. The fact that innocents were killed reflects those who had the intent, not those who carried out the action.

    Nor do I get these people who “court danger” for the fun of it e.g. Harlem trotters. The addict who shanks you for $2 worth of crack is not that interesting. He is no different from a rabid dog. The only defense you can offer is to shoot back. If you really want to confront fear then pick a subject where you can offer a more meaningful and self-fulfilling resistance. Work in an AIDS clinic. Befriend someone who holds an opposite worldview. Zipline. Whatever.

    In an analogy – if you want to learn about healthful living and good nutrition then studying dung, depraved as it is, is hardly the best way to do it.

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  2. War tourism, Yes if you have the money and the inclination to discern the extent of depravity of human mind. If perspective is what matters, there’s the cheaper way out… Grab a good commentary of Bhagavad Gita and find yourself a lonely corner.

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