02 February 2010

Thoughts on war and peace

In addition to watching two frivolous films I knew Michael would despise (September Issue, (500) Days of Summer) and losing myself in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I whiled away my transatlantic flight by reading through old Guardian review sections. In stark contrast to the happy escapism of my other pursuits, the paragraph below is from an excellent interview with Amos Oz by Aida Edemariam, a good friend of our London neighbor Kieron.


Oz fought in the 1967 war, then in the Yom Kippur war in 1973, and both gave him a "gut hatred of war and fighting" - but not, he clarifies, any shame for having done it. "I am not a pacifist in terms of turning the other cheek. There is a difference between myself and some of the peace people in Europe: whereas they think that the ultimate evil in the world is war, I think the ultimate evil in the world is aggression, and aggression sometimes must be repelled by force. I will never forget the words of a relative of mine, who spent the years of the Holocaust in Theresienstadt concentration camp. Although she was a peace activist, she said to me, 'You know, we were liberated from the concentration camp not by peace demonstrators carrying placards, but by American soldiers carrying submachine guns.'"

Grey, as always, not black and white.