And The Beat Goes On

After depressing you with blogs about the pandemic, Nazis and Trump, I thought it was time for a little lightness about smiting through the eons to remind us all that yes, it could always be worse.

This is not an exhaustive list because that would take forever to recount the fighting that has been going on ever since a cave man became livid because he thought his neighbor wanted to steal his girl and so he ended the dispute by picking up a rock and cracking his neighbor’s skull. Here are some of the highlights or lowlights through the centuries of conflict, in no special order.

Fortunately, I do not have to fret over Visigoths invading my town in 395 A.D. and plundering and pillaging my home, raping my women and burning down whole cities. These traveling marauders skillfully murdered with swords, spears, lances, pikes and javelins.

So in that context I am quite happy and fortunate, also I am lucky that I was not a Native American who was murdered by the white skinned hordes invading my land, forcing me out at the point of a gun and then killing many of us, raping our women and taking our kids as captives, just because they could.

I am not a black man in 1820 Alabama where I was forced to live under circumstances that would be best described as, well I wouldn’t have the word, it was just such indescribable torture.

I am not fighting in the trenches on the front lines of World War I, wondering if my gas mask will work or if the ghostly green clouds of poison gas will seep in and bring me a slow and horrible death by suffocation.

I don’t have to be blown away as a 16-year-old placed on the front lines like fodder in my first taste of war at the decisive, Battle of the Bulge in World War II. And everybody knows about the holocaust of 6 million Jews during the war.

Had I fought during the Civil War, chances are I would have been one of the 7 million men who were killed or fell victim to such common deadly viruses and infections like typhoid fever, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, pox (both small and chicken), scarlet fever, measles, mumps and whooping cough. And if you made it through the disease and enemy fire, there was still the harsh weather, bad water, inadequate shelter in winter quarters, poor policing of camps and dirty camp hospitals.

The Napoleonic Wars were fought between France under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte and a number of European nations between 1799 and 1815. Tens of thousands died as infantry soldiers fired their muzzle-loading muskets which the best trained soldiers could fire three times a minute, which doesn’t give you a whole lot of time to protect yourself.

And you had your bloody Anglo-Scottish Wars fought between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland from the early 14th century through to the latter years of the 16th century, that’s 200 years of war, a long time for anyone to keep fighting.

And it wasn’t a war but it had the same results if you were unlucky enough to live in the appalling, lurid slums that made up the notorious Five Points neighborhood in 19th Century New York City. The gangs of Irish immigrants with names like the Dead Rabbits, were so bloodthirsty that Charles Dickens visited in 1842 to see it for himself.

One of the first records of war was fought through several generations in India more than 5,000 years ago. Known as The Mahabharata War or the Kurukshetra War, it is described in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata, and included battles between two rival families, resulting in around 1.66 billion deaths, according to the Mahabharta epic.

You did not want to be a Jew or a Muslim in much of Europe and America from the 12th to 14th centuries, during the time of the Inquisition, which was first organized by the Catholic Church to cleanse the world by rooting out and punishing heretics. And you really didn’t want to step foot in Spain where the Spanish Inquisition was a dominant force for more than 200 years, resulting in around 32,000 executions and various forms of torture for those who were forced to admit to heresy.

If you were unlucky enough to have been either a Hutu or a Tutsi, you very likely would have been killed as part of the Rwandan genocide. An estimated three million people — mostly civilians — were killed in the fighting or died of disease or malnutrition as a result of the conflict. During the height of the genocide in 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered as many as 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority.

And let’s not overlook some of the earliest shows of inhumanity in the 3250 B.C. campaign of Egyptian King Scorpion and against King Tarus; Narmar’s campaign against the forces in upper Egypt in 3150 B.C.; Hor-Aha’s Nubia Campaign in 3100 B.C. etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

It seems never-ending, doesn’t it?




Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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