On March 14 now nearly 3 weeks ago, 3 students who will remain anonymous were subsequently suspended for 3 days. (3.3.3?)
These, without a doubt integrated, members of our student body later explained to me what had happened. The newly formed, dedicated EMIS soccer team, was playing against another team of the HaKfar campus and winning. The score slightly in favor of the EMIS athletes was quick to agitate the opposing team.
In little time, the opposing team had begun to abuse physically a particular player through the most banal of methods: excessive pushing. This anonymous player retaliated, spawning an entire cascade of pushing, tugging, name calling and screaming obscenities of all sorts you can imagine. This cascade degraded, until the entirety of both teams had become involved.
I know my own recounting of the events is based thoroughly off one side’s account, so this is in no way an unbiased report. I am sure the opposing team, of which I know nothing about, has a contrarian view. No doubt!
This however, is not what I sought out in my fervent questioning of the witnesses. I was in my own dorm, pondering across various writings on the Spanish Civil war, topic I venture for pure scholastic reasons, when it came to my attention that my roommate had been suspended.
He, who will remain anonymous as well, told me of the conflict and therefore, after a hearty laugh towards the situation, explained how he had been suspended as well, since he had successfully wounded one of the belligerents with a well-aimed blow with his jacket.
According to him, he had, without hesitation, jumped from his seat and joined the fray in the name of his comrade. As I listened to the account, I continued to ponder over my literature when I was hit by a specific intrigue. I wondered to myself of this draw, this pull and tug, this seeming passion towards the fight, towards violence.
In the words of my roommate, it seemed almost like gravity pulling him to fight. Rather enthralled, I sought to ask the belligerents a single question: What is the will to fight? The main contender in my interviews justly replied, I didn’t have the will to fight. But they did.”
Another of the suspended put it differently:
I accept that sometimes you have the right to fight. And sometimes you have to fight.
Perhaps the answer which most satisfied me, was that of my roommate who told me, “It was something emotional, more emotional than anything.”
The truth is I was immediately attracted to the prospect, the defense that the guys from the EMIS football team had shown. It was the romantic view for the fight, the need to take action, to act against or for something. As described, an emotional impulse almost like a passion.
It is like the passion to take action, to truly rise and give yourself in all the will to fight, to foment action on your passion. The passion to fight.
Of course, it does not consider against who or who will be jeopardized. It does not consider the physical pain it might cause another human being. It never even considered that the subject of this violence was another human being altogether. It simply is the outlet of outstanding, extraordinary emotion, into the will to do something in its namesake. Almost like the artist who strokes the canvas or the writer who grasps the pen. Or even the pianist who strikes the keys with all his fervor.
Can you deny there is not passion in this? Or can you deny there is not violence in this? How can you?
The passion to protect a friend, or as the second of my interviewees later added with a solemn silent tone,
The passion for music, the passion for any art, the passion for a country, a people, a cause, an idea, a family, a life; these are the passions that electrify men and women. The passion to fight, the will to act.
I guess, in turn, the question transforms itself. It becomes:
What are you willing to fight for? What will compel you to act? Bring you to violence?
As I study the Spanish Civil War, I came across George Orwell and his vibrant narrative of his experience in the anarchist militia. On page 31, I found a particular paragraph which caused me to ponder and thrilled me with this very same question. This, then, was what they were saying about us: we were Trotskyists, Fascists, traitors, murderers, cowards, spies, and so forth. I admit it was not pleasant, especially when one thought of some of the people who were responsible for it. It is not a nice thing to see a Spanish boy of fifteen carried down the line on a stretcher, with a dazed white face looking out from among the blankets, and to think of the sleek persons in London and Paris who are writing pamphlets to prove that this boy is a Fascist in disguise…The people who write that kind of stuff never fight; possibly they believe that to write it is a substitute for fighting. It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever gets near a front-line trench.
I think that as I pondered my roommate’s own emotional charge, the passion as he rose from his bench, with the will and power to take action and truly protect what he felt was worth protecting a friend, I thought of the death and fighting of 1930s Spain. It was my disgust towards this description, the shouting journalist, the inactive patriot which compelled me.
I do not wish to be just that. I would not simply constrain myself to the banality of paper and pen. Maybe I wish to take action face what I write out there, among the flesh and blood of a world.
Perhaps I have a passion to fight. Something I am willing to fight for. The duel, which I foresee, the romanticized view of my foe and I in the eternal struggle. This drives me to seek my passion to protect it.
I am not writing to say that all war is justifiable, that violence is condoned and righteous. What I am implying is perhaps there is a passion to war, a reason for war. A will, a strength, a beauty, an art. Not in the war and violence itself but instead in what leads people to it. In what drives people to it.
Perhaps I am saying some wars are worth fighting, and some peace worth not having. Maybe the beauty is knowing what is worth fighting for. What war is worth having.
We have come to a time where peace is worshiped, peace is the outcome and peace is the utopia we constantly cannot contend without. We wish for peace but would we be willing to be peaceful if we are oppressed, struck down, beaten, shaken, damned? Would we fight if we could liberate ourselves?
Fight if we saw something worth fighting for? Or would be compelled towards peace? Would we still be preaching peace? Whether it is peace and suffering. How can we call for peace, when we have never known war? How can we fight for peace when we have never fought at all?
Perhaps it is hypocrisy to speak of violence in this flattering light, while attending the school for Peace and Sustainability.
Or perhaps peace is an inherent blind eye.
Perhaps I am saying we all have something we are willing to fight for.
And perhaps I wish to ask you all: What are you willing to fight for?
What is the will to fight?
Written by Carlos Sevilla