Guy De Maupassant on the Brutality of War

Guy De Maupassant on the Brutality of War

Guy De Maupassant has a wonderful quote on the brutality of war (from his beautiful short story entitled, “Buole De Suif”).

For the same thing [war] happens whenever the established order of things is upset, when security no longer exists, when all those rights usually protected by the law of man or of Nature are at the mercy of unreasoning, savage force. The earthquake crushing a whole nation under falling roofs; the flood let loose, and engulfing in its swirling depths the corpses of drowned peasants, along with dead oxen and beams torn from shattered houses; or the army, covered with glory, murdering those who defend themselves, making prisoners of the rest, pillaging in the name of the Sword, and giving thanks to God to the thunder of cannon—all these are appalling scourges, which destroy all belief in eternal justice, all that confidence we have been taught to feel in the protection of Heaven and the reason of man.

Civility is a veneer: a blanket that covers the body for a night. But eventually, the blanket falls  and the face of mankind is revealed: brutal and blood-thirsty. And when a war is declared, the tidal wave of terror is unleashed.

Political correctness will run for cover. The natural resources are at play, and the pretty lies will meet the maker. Death warrants are placed on the innocent and the weak are stomped out. The aristocrat will kill to please his ever-fattening wife. Scores are settled. Grudges become reality. And the homeless are driven to the grave.

Humanity has always been this way. It’s only in the air-conditioned rooms of a bourgeois life that a dark reality is concealed. But when the clock strikes twelve and the cannonballs fly, the bourgeois will discard their false robes…and they, ironically, become the executioners of death.

See Related Article: I Entered Life as a Meteor and I Shall Leave it Like a Thunderbolt