"This young boy is playing on a stolen lute. He is celebrating with his friends as if at a picnic in front of the dead body of a Palestinian girl in puddles of rain. Only minutes earlier I had been told to stop taking pictures or I would be killed. The boy called to me: 'Hey Mistah! Mistah! Come take photo.' Frightened for my life, I shot off two frames. Soon afterwards I learned that the Christian Phalange had put out a death warrant for me for taking this photo." -
Don McCullin describes the scene as he captures the above somewhere in Beirut, Lebanon, 1976. -
The Lebanese Civil War lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 120,000 deaths, as well as an exodus of almost one million people from Lebanon.
We live in a culture that promotes democratic values of being fair to one and all, the importance of fitting into a group, and knowing how to cooperate with other people.
We are taught early on in life that those who are outwardly combative and aggressive pay a social price: unpopularity and isolation.
These values of harmony and cooperation are perpetuated in subtle and not-so-subtle ways-- through books on how to be successful in life; through the pleasant peaceful exteriors that those who have gotten ahead in the world present to the public; through notions of correctness that saturate the public space.
The problem for us is that we are trained and prepared for peace, and we are not at all prepared for what confronts us in the real world---war.
... but tell me something. What are YOU prepared for?
For a foreigner it's hard to get even a glimpse of the real life in North Korea, but I've been told that a lot has changed over the last few years - cars, phones, new buildings... and anti US post cards are not available... officially. Still, the propaganda of the 1950 war is everywhere.