The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

War! What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing!

Taking a break from holiday postings for a moment, I feel compelled to make comment on recent events.

The sickening lurch I get every time I read about innocent adults and children being killed by bombs doesn’t go away. I don’t care whether they are called freedom fighters, illegal combatants, or an official national army. If you kill innocent people you are a terrorist. Whether that is Al Qaeda, The US Army, the IRA, The Israeli Army, Hezbollah, The British Armed Forces or Black September. There is no justification, ever, for killing innocent people to satisfy your political leanings.

People are not cardboard cut-outs. People are not nameless figures. Every single person killed in a conflict had parents, friends, carers, lovers, children, siblings or someone who cared deeply about them.

If you have volunteered to join the army, any army, then you know the risks you are taking. But if you are a civilian, a non-combatant, an ordinary, everyday person who is just trying to live their life then you do not deserve to be shot at, bombed, maimed or killed in the name of some else’s beliefs

How can anyone think that killing innocent people will stop a conflict is completely beyond me. If a stray bomb – intentional or otherwise – was to kill my children, then I would happily lay down my life if it meant I could have the chance of revenge on the perpetrators. Every time a bomb or bullet kills a civilian or child in Lebanon or Palestine, then it acts as a recruiting ground for any organisation that wants to get back at Israel.

Of course it’s never the leaders who are in the firing line. It’s never the people who wield the power who have to worry about their children being hit by a stray bullet or missile. These people who make the decisions that will kill hundreds or thousands of innocent men, women and children aren’t the ones who suffer.

There is a part of me that knows that I will die as a result of some else’s conflict. It won’t be anything to do with a cause I support or believe in. I will just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. An unnecessary statistic.

When I heard about the person who was killed by English football thugs who, after England had lost to Germany in a match, decided to take it out on the first German they could find – and it turned out the poor guy was Dutch; or the case of Jean Charles de Menezes who was killed by the police as a suspected Muslim terrorist but was in fact a Brazilian student; I felt a connection deep in my bones that that could have been me.

Going along the lines that a picture speaks a thousand words, I decided I wanted to create a visual image of the idiocy of conflict, where it is the innocent who are most affected, and to try and undermine the apologists who seek to justify and legitimise the killing of children in the name of their cause. So I used the only outlet at my means and spent all day carefully crafting a Bunt Cogs cartoon strip, using the characters I know and love to try and put the point across.

You can click on the image for the result. While it does in fact say everything I want it to, and can be applied to pretty much any conflict you care to name, in the end it’s just a cartoon strip and I won’t have anything like the impact I would like it to.

I’m not naïve enough to believe that it will make any difference to anyone. Those who are convinced they are right are not going to be swayed by a cartoon, or even reasoned argument for that matter.

For me, though, it just reinforces my sense that you should never trust those in authority. They do not have your best interests at heart. They do not care if you live or die. We are all just cannon fodder for their personal games.


kats said...

That was a good song by the way. I'm afraid words to describe how I feel about this are eluding me at the moment. I just keep hearing that Bob Dylan song - "Wih God on our side" going round in my head.

Anonymous said...

War *huh* what is it good for? absolutely nothing!

Nice blog on a difficult topic

SafeTinspector said...

Authority is like a Pontiac Firebird or a Chevy Camaro.
You are either an asshole to want one, or it turns you into an asshole when you get it. Either way, all Camaro and Firebird drivers are assholes.

Unknown said...

I know that feeling you have been having,,,,and WAR is good for absolutely nothing...say it again!

Severin Bloodclot said...

Hey tubs
I’m with ya baby! Modern war, what is it good for (apart from giving us computers and shit)?

There has to be better ways of culling the numbers; youth in asia, gas, a painless injection. But yeah, war is really bad these days, no skill to it. Ya pull a trigger and someone two hundred yards away explodes. What the hell is that about!

When I kill I want to twist the blade and look deep into my enemies eyes. Face to face we’d meet armed with a sliver of sharpened metal… or our bare hands… the strongest survives… or maybe we'd just arm wrestle... or tussle, bonded in our hatred, masculinity, sweat

Do you get where I’m coming from there… or is a tinsy bit stwong?

Unknown said...

Great post! You echo my thoughts. How can we trust our leaders they condone and participate in such terrible acts, then try to justify what they have done. There is no justification.

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks for the comments guys - it's appreciated.

Kim Ayres said...

severin bloodclot - I can appreciate a good bit of witty banter and a well crafted insult. Visit some of the regular Blunt Cogs contributors and you will find some first class bile.

But it needs to be done with respect.

Unfortunately you are just bordering on coming across as a prat.

I don't appreciate being called "tubs". I don't expect anyone does. If you want to insult then at least have the decency to create something worth reading.

If you continue in this vein you will not be welcome here and I will just delete any future entries

Dr Maroon said...

I saw the strip a couple of days ago but was detoured before I could comment. I'd forgotten about it till now. I too wondered why Binty bought it first, and liked the introduction of the flamethrower.
Our complicity in the real affair is becoming quite sickening.

Kim Ayres said...

Dr Maroon - It was actually quite emotionally draining shooting, burning and bombing everyone, but a simple glark wouldn't have had the same impact.

I think the strip could be applied to any conflict, but the idea was inspired by what's going on at the moment. As you say, our complicity is sickening.

iLL Man said...

Theres days I look at yr strip Kim and think "Too simplistic". Other days I think, "Bang On!"

I'm having more 'Bang on!' days than the other............

Anyway, theres nothing quite as 'simplistic' as mass murder

Kim Ayres said...

Ill Man - thanks for taking the time to comment.

I'd like to think that those who make the decisions to kill thousands of people are aware of the intricate complexities of the situation and go through some serious, considered, reasoned debate without resorting to cliches, soundbites and stereotypes, but given Bush's recent comments I can't say I have much faith.

Anonymous said...

hi Kim,with you on the post,war an all. It never sovled any thing (feudalism,slavery,naziism etc).i suppose the people in positions of power are just as lost as everyone else when it comes to judgement

Kim Ayres said...

Anonymous - welcome to my ramblings. If you comment again, could I ask that you leave a name or initial so I know how to distinguish you from any other anonymous comments? Thanks :)

Everyone is making it up as they go along. Sometimes they get it wright and sometimes they get it wrong. The problem with those in power is that everyone expects them to get it right all the time and when they get it wrong there are much bogger consequences.

You can never assume that just because people are in power that they know what they're doing or that they give a shit about anyone else.

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