The Living and the Dead

by Mary Pitt

The living sing songs of inspiration, songs of praise for the superiority of their own nation, their own principles, and their own concept of God. They are the best of humans and they will triumph over all because their hearts are pure.

The dead are silent.

The living tell tales of great wars, of valiant men who have willingly laid down their lives in the pursuit of victory for their side, (whichever side that might have been), of men who still fought bravely though gravely wounded because their cause was just.

The dead remain still.

The living expound on the greater good of “our side” while exposing what they believe to be the shortcomings of others. “We” are good and “they” are evil so “they” must yield to “our” will, must become not only subject but subservient to “our” interpretations of fact because “we” are always right.

The dead say nothing.

The living mourn the loss of their loved ones and lament the circumstances of the passing of their dear departed friends and family members. They pray at the gravesides, beat their breasts, and shout out to the heavens for comfort in their pain while swelling with pride that they had sacrificed that beloved soul to the interest of “winning”.

The dead do not reply.

The living march in parades; they listen to leaders expounding on the great heroism of those who gave their all in the cause of proving one group of people superior to others and bringing great honor and glory to their native land. They listen to the sounds of marching bands playing patriotic music that stirs the soul and they wave the flag of their nation in a great show of loyalty.

The dead lie still.

The living argue, struggle, and even fight over whether a war is worth fighting and how best to go about once again proving the reasons for asserting mastery over other men; over whether, when, and how to end the fighting and return to a brief period of peace before creating a situation in which yet another war will be begun.

The dead have no comment.

The living squabble and fight over whose God is the One True God, which Bible is literally true and which heretical, which nation is truly blessed, can do no wrong, and should rule over another.

The dead lie side by side in perfect peace and brotherhood for they know the answers.

How many more must die before we learn what the dead already know?

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