The past few weeks have reminded us that the value of life is relative and depends on who sees it. 2 Israeli soldiers kidnapped = thousands of civilians dead and 1 million homeless. I am not supporting either side. I am looking at this and wondering how is it possible to start the incident off by kidnapping the soldiers, knowing full well the retaliation it is likely to bring. I am also wondering how so many dying can justify the fight for the release of the 2 soldiers.
Leaving the politics aside, I am looking at the role of the soldier. Coming from a country where we have to do national Service of 2.5 years in the armed forces, I know what it means to leave no soldier behind. So what is the Dharma role of a soldier in a war?
- Can he shoot to kill? Or holding a rifle would be meaningless.
- Worse, if he doesn’t then what happens to his citizens back home who are depending on him to defend them and their homes?
- Can a soldier choose not to be a soldier in a country where it is compulsory to be one? Then how does he fulfill his social responsibilities to the society and nation that protected him when he was too young or defenceless to protect himself?
- Can Buddhists claim to follow the path of non-violence and not be soldiers?
- Is being a soldier not a Rightful Living? In today’s world, then who can have a Rightful Living if there was no soldier to defend them?
There are many more questions. But I stop here for your comments, before I soldier on ;-)