As we look back and remember the lives lost, I highly recommend you take a little bit of time to read the following article by Tom Gregory, on emotions and the embodied experience of war. It’s a thoughtful reflection on the use of body counts and their political effects: ‘When dealing only with numbers, we tend to lose sight of the bodies that are left broken by the machinery of war, along with the individuals who are busy living and dying on the battlefield’.
In the piece, he cites the account of an American nurse who served in France:
‘Much ugliness is churned up in the wake of mighty, moving forces, and this is the backwash of war. Many little lives foam up in this backwash, loosened by the sweeping current, and detached from their environment. One catches a glimpse of them – often weak, hideous or repellent. There can be no war without this backwash’.
You may also wish to read the following (old) piece, on the need to remember those – often shell-shocked and under-aged – who were shot for desertion.
For more information on Combat Stress, click here.
The statement is ‘the highest-level acknowledgement yet of the enormous challenges China faces’, directly recognising the seriousness of the issue. The language is reminiscent of securitization theory’s suggestion that when issues are declared issues of security and supreme priority, they can be dealt with differently – allocating extra funds and enabling emergency measures. It suggests the government is taking pollution seriously, and it will be interesting to see how far the it will take this – the Airpocalypse will likely remain a popular topic in Chinese media, and with rising numbers of environmental protests it will be difficult for the government to shirk responsibilities. The biggest obstacle, however, remains economic development. It is widely seen as the cause of China’s pollution problems, but Li’s speech also reiterated a commitment to keeping economic growth at 7.5% and it is difficult to see how this will enable a serious improvement in pollution levels. Ai Nanshan, from Sichuan University noted that “you can not get a beautiful GDP figure at the cost of environment”. This is clearly a puzzle the government has yet to solve.
The horrific figures of death and human suffering in Syria are bewildering. Over 2 million people have been forced to flee the country as refugees, over 6.5 million people are internally displaced and over 100,000 people have been killed as the civil war rages on.
It’s hard to really imagine such destruction, and several satellite images by Human Rights Watch highlight how whole neighbourhoods have been obliterated.
This is the Mezzeh area, Damascus. You can see extensive demolition of dozens of high-rise residential and commercial buildings along the main road between Mezzeh Air Base and the neighborhood of Daraya.
This is the Masha’ al-Arb’een neighbourhood, Hama.