The official Sebastian Junger community
So this morning Daughter and I were at the breakfast table. We were both tired, and I was reading the paper and on the front was a picture of Libyan rebels with RPGs and a sundry of weaponry. I casually mentioned that I wasn't sure who was funding their acquisition. She asked me the difference between an RPG and a hand grenade. We talked about that for just a bit. She got it. So much for the usual pleasantries.
And then she said something that is a partial truth, but didn't recognize it as such. After all, it had been presented to her in class --or to one of her friends, or somewhere along the high school buzz. She said that the rebels get their weapons from armies who leave them behind.
I guess there's nothing about arms dealing in her AP curriculum. What raised my hackles is that it's stuff like this that easily segues into blaming the US for something, even this current situation in Libya. I mean, it sounds so simple. If there were no more armies leaving their weapons behind, then there would be no more wars, right? And no more wars, means no more armies, which means no more weapons would be made, see? And then there would be peace. Yeah, okay. I get that line of thinking.
I'm annoyed because it seems like a shortcut, and war deserves far more discussion. War is such a complex thing. And if the AP curriculum isn't able or willing to talk about war in those terms, then maybe they ought to just skip it. And that goes for peace, as well because it's the sister to war.
Her generation, without a doubt, has and will be shaped by war more than anything else. If the teaching is still in this good/bad blame game then they're really shortchanging them by not bringing in all the facets of peace and war. Trade, economics, politics, culture, religion, economics, social justice, human rights and greed are all part of the landscape that encompasses both. I know it's a tall order, but war and peace both deserve some respect (and the acknowledgment from whomever plans the AP or IB curriculum that neither is easy to tackle).
That's just what made me upset today. It mirrors the struggles I've had ever since we came into this realm of the military. I continue to learn new things, most of the time having old impressions proven wrong. And when they are, I learn and grow. I've lost a few friends, the ones who are entrenched in the beliefs of the 1960's, ones who had been friends until my husband joined the military. I mean, let's face it. Either people approach me like The Hubs is dead already, or that we've walked into this giant war machine as total naifs. I've been able to bear that loss because the military community is so incredibly supportive.
But most disappointingly when it comes to learning and understanding, I'm finding that even with our daughter's generation, shortcuts to understanding the complexities are being tossed like crumbs along a path through the woods.