The mask of Violence
There are thousands of names for crime. It is easy. You raise your hand, pull the trigger, and blow So-and-So away— then a crime is committed. It is terribly easy to deprive someone ’s privilege to live. Combing through the history book, we see blood and tear between the lines of civilization, and we title them with solemn nouns like race prejudice, ethnic conflict, genocide or holocaust. People usually try to persuade others that the roots of violence are significant things: hatred, revenge or justice. And when violence comes to its peak at a large scale, it becomes war.
We have not experienced a war first hand, but can still relate to these feelings and emotions with descriptive texts in literature. From characters, scenery, incidents that embedded in War, we see the cruelty clearly. Tim O'Brien relates how the Vietnam War affected people that engaged in it through artistic storytelling, not on the larger political-economic front, but focus on the senseless slaughter, the plain absence of purpose behind atrocities, on the day-by-day level that him and other solders lived through. Seemly small and even trite, it encourage us and embolden us to face the big word “war” and narrow it down to feel the feeling of people that truly involved. O’Brien grapples with truth and imagination and demonstrates how exposure to the atrocities skewed the soldiers perspectives on what is right and wrong. It horribly wounds individual bodies, lacerates people’s mind. (Evidence) A true war story should be nothing like those brief introductions on history book, where wars are generalized as events, things that happened at certain years, characterized with failure and victory. The “truth” of war lies in how individual was affected within wars.
And only when we see violence and war in a human being scale, may we be aggressively and lovingly capable of pity, of tears, remember what violence, atrocities and wars bring to people.
Lawrence Weschler speaks of indescribably horrific violence in his essay “Vermeer in Bosnia”. The essay starts with particularly cruel stories of atrocities told by the head judge Antonio Cassese during the preliminary hearings of the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal. Those stories are beyond violence. They are too inhuman to believe. A Muslim, legs smashed, was forced to watch his captors “repeatedly raped his wife and two daughters and then slit their throats” (778). Tadic, the war criminal that was just about go to trial, was accused of “supervised the torture and torments of a particular group of Muslim prisoners, at one point forcing one of the charges to emasculate another -- with his teeth”(778).
Weschler asks this Italian jurist how he copes with the daily litany of horrors from endless tales of torture, rape and murder. The jurist responses that he restores his peace of mind by spending some time with the Vermeer’s paintings. The Dutch painter Vermeer lived in a world wracked by violence. Europe was in sort of...