I am currently sitting in a dark room at a hostel in Seoul, South Korea. Trying my best to recover from an exhausting day of warfare study. Or should I call it a study of humankind? Earlier this morning I looked into North Korea with binoculars, seeing their flag shaking defiantly in the wind. So close, so far away.
Korea is a country tragically divided into two parts, separating families and friends. Barb wire, mines and armed guards are part of the country-scene here. Between the two are a DMZ where I wouldn’t want to wander on a dark night. Our guide politely advised us to “please stay away from the land mines”. I had no trouble at all in following that advice.
After that I went back to Seoul and visited the War Memorial, a vast area filled with the bloodstained history of battle and strife. The halls told the sad story of killing, slaughtering and pillaging in the region. Outside the building, a lot of vessels were on display including Sherman tanks, B52 bombers, AAC missiles and more objects created by humans to kill humans.
Why is the human history so extremely focused on bloodshed? I fail to see any reason for all this killing. Is it really that necessary to attack other people just because they have chosen to live on another side of some man-made fictional border on a map? The desire to divide people is a familiar theme I’ve encountered many times before. In Berlin there are still traces of the Wall left. When I crossed the island of Cyprus, the tension between the northern Turkish part and the southern Greek part could be felt in the air. And so on.
How fragile we are.