War is once again ravaging Europe, again in Ukraine, again instigated by Putin. The war in Ukraine has been leading news in the media, and rightly so. Never must we forget the horrors of the ongoing war, or in fact any war.
To remind us about the dreadfulness of war and the benefits of peace, the European Dialogue Program of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in cooperation with Free Market Foundation has published Poems of Liberty, War and Peace in Europe.
The publication presents a strong case against war through 5 poems, by showing the horrors of war, the tragedy of deaths, no matter how brave. Art and artists have a long tradition of speaking up against armed conflict, from paintings to novels and songs. Poems are an excellent way of conveying ideas through potent imagery and moving emotions.
This is the reason Poems of Liberty was born. The previous edition, published in December 2021, highlighted the importance of human rights, and the long way we have yet to go to entrench them. Since then, humankind has drifted even further off.
The number of wars has been on a steady decline, thanks to democracy, civic oversight and global trade. The nations of Europe, that were in conflict with each other constantly are living the longest period of peace in history thanks to the European Union. Yet war is brewing once more in Europe, right on the border of the EU.
A generation grew up in relative peace and was lulled into a false sense of security, even though conflicts in Ukraine and Georgia have been major red flags. Yet, would we deny anyone a sense of security, even though it might only be an illusion?
Security is important but so is the strong demand not to break peace. History is a great teacher, but in this case poems are even better, for they not only teach history, but conjure up images of war and convey emotion. The five poems in this edition do just that.
On Receiving the First News of War by Isaac Rosenberg shows what it’s like when a war breaks out and disrupts lives. The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson depicts the sacrifice of soldiers in the Crimean War in 1854. Taras Shevchenko’s poem Zapovit calls for a free Ukraine and Hope Is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson embodies hope, we all feel that the war will soon end.
Let us also hope that the war in Ukraine will not only end, but that its conclusion will bring about an even steadier decline in armed conflicts.