“Ninong, why do people fight?”
Yesterday, I went to my kumpare‘s house to watch the evening news. While in the middle of the telecast about the Ukraine-rebels-Russia conflict which was connected to the downed Malaysian plane, my godchild asked the question which made me think for some time. He was answering his homework about cultural differences between nations.
“It’s a complicated matter,” I said without trying to be evasive. “You will not understand it fully even if I explain it to you.”
He stopped writing, surely not satisfied with the way I phrased my reply.
“Why not just talk it out and look for a peaceful solution.”
I turned to him, removing my concentration from the depressing news. All the speculations surrounding the incident downplayed the real issue: why kill innocent civilians.
“People want something they do not possess. When they see those things in other people, they could try to get it using different means. One way to do it is to grab it forcefully and fight for it. Naturally, the other side will fight back to keep it.”
“So talking is useless?” he asked bluntly.
“Not necessarily,” I replied, impressed with his quick retort. “Talking is important when the fight gets out of hand (I pointed to the remains of the crashed plane flashed on TV). Someone should go in the middle and sort things out so the two opposing parties could talk about a compromise.
He shook his head several times, staring intently on the retrieval operations shown for all to see.
“I cannot imagine myself fighting to get what other people own. It’s stealing, plain and simple. It’s not fair.”
Yes, he was correct. However, to some of the world leaders and their followers, fair is an alien word not found in their vocabulary.