Extract of Thistelflowers
Do you really have such a problem with the conduct of your father? One cannot judge the behavior of a human being separate from the circumstances.
What do you know about what he experienced in this war and what he had suffered? Hunger and thirst and fear of death, the sight of horrible wounds, lingering death without any medical attention, the death of family members and friends. Like all soldiers back then he had to be severely traumatized because of what he had experienced. He was part of a unit that gave him strength. In this group rapes were perpetrated, as has been customary since times immemorial and it was accepted that not only the material belongings of the enemy but their wives and daughters fell to the victor, too. There is no war in which the victorious troops did not assume the right to rape, as if it was a kind of natural law.
Looked at it from a distance it is despicable. How about finding oneself in such dreadful circumstances? Could not every one of us become a murderer under such extreme conditions? By the same token, in chaotic situations, any man can turn into a rapist. Whoever is caught up in in such a brutal, cruel and unjust war and does not emerge with a damaged soul, is a saint. Your father was most likely not a saint. He was a human being like millions of others. Desperate, injured, full of rage, driven by revenge, no longer the master of his own mind.
In peace time he may have been a loving husband and father. That you don’t know. The only thing that is safe to say is that war kills the good in people. In Iraq, in Afghanistan, everywhere in the world.
Kind thoughts, Dorothee (Dribusch, died in 2009)
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