Getting rid of war

The Central Library organised another very enjoyable event last Thursday.

This is a big year with regard to commemorations. Richard Doherty gave a lecture on the Battle of Jutland, the biggest naval battle of the First World War. Richard is an authoritative military historian, with more than twenty books to his credit.

Britain lost 16 ships in the battle and Germany lost 11. The battle lasted from the 31 May till 1 July, 1916. 6,784 British and 3,039 Germans lost their lives. The Germans claimed that they won since fewer were killed on their side. But the British said that they won since the Germans mounted no more naval attacks after Jutland. As I see it, neither side won: there were 10,000 losers.

In the current edition of ‘An Lúibín’, the Internet magazine of the Irish Language Association of Australia, Colin Ryan writes about the Gallipoli campaign of 1916, when the Turks drove the Allied Forces from the Dardanelles. 74,000 soldiers from Australia and New Zealand fought in the battle: 23,000 were wounded and 10,000 were killed. In all, 45,000 were killed on the side of the Allies and 86,000 Turks died. Ryan describes the environment of the area: the combatants had to put up with summer flies and frost, wind and floods in the winter.

The Commemoration of the Somme will be held next month. That battle began on 1July, 1916. It lasted 141 days and there were more than a million casualties.

The Spanish Civil War began 80 years ago, on 18 July 1936: it is said that half a million people died in the conflict. It was a practice for the Second World War. More than 60 million people died in that war.

And so the tale goes on. It is claimed that 400,000 people have died in the fighting in Syria so far. Around 500,000 have died in Iraq and 30,000 in Afghanistan as a result of hostilities. After thousands of years of civilisation, can human beings not solve their problems by some other means?