I have asked myself that question multiple times. Is it relevant at all or is it just me who has been absorbed into a world where I am becoming steadily more obsessed by The Dane? Why would anyone care about a random man running around in other countries than their own? Does it really matter?

I always come to the same conclusion. This story must be told. Not because that the world or I owe anything to The Dane. It is not meant as a tribute. It’s closer to being the opposite.

From my own pacifistic point of view it is hard to see or accept war as a necessity. 

These devastating events to which we are exposing each other in different parts of the world make no sense to me. One would think that we humans – as a race – were ready for the next evolutionary step where we don’t fight over resources, because there are enough for everyone if we could share them more equally. It bugs me big time that some people have to die for others to gain wealth, because of faiths and religion or whatever bizarre reason the next war is excused with. 

To me The Dane has become a symbol of some of the things that have gone wrong. He has become the monster he went to war to slay. He has gone from idealism to murder and from idealist to murderer.

There is a lot of war going on around the world. I am not sure that you could find a single day with peace on the entire globe in all the time we humans have been here. Wars attract fanatics and are started by fanaticism. however you look at it, there is always some form of fanaticism behind the urge to annihilate the opponent and all that they stand for. If their families are a part of the deal, you are happy to kill them as well – and then you expect the world to somehow be a better place afterwards. The last part has never happened in all of history. We have had world wars, great wars, local wars, religious wars and a bunch of other wars but none of them has been the last war. The war to end all wars. That war doesn’t exist. If it ever happens it will be because it is a war that ends us all as a race. But I guess that will bring peace to earth.

The Dane was an idealist when he left Denmark. He was going to fight for the good cause. Thereby meaning what he thought of as being right. It doesn’t matter how noble a cause, traveling halfway round the world to join a war and kill people because of their political beliefs, can’t be called anything but fanatic. 

At this moment in time there are a lot of idealists to be found in prison camps in Syria (I’m guessing that most of them are former or presumed idealists by now). There are other political prisoners around the world and in several places people are refugees or imprisoned. This goes for the Uighurs in China, the Rohingya in Myanmar and most of the people in Yemen where a major humanitarian catastrophe is taking place as I am writing this.

People go to war to fight for their beliefs. They did so during the civil war in Spain and all other wars. Only history will tell us if these people traveling to war are heroes or villains.  

Time will tell us who are villains and heroes

Just like The Dane most of them will probably find war to be terrifying and atrocious, that death, when it comes in huge amounts, is horrific, and that war can’t be worth the cost. Or maybe they will be filled with thoughts of vengeance and bring death along with them, when they come home. In their own way each, a lot of clever people have said that history repeats itself. It is doing so again and again, and it will continue until all of us, the entire human race, wisen up.

A few idealists start a war. A lot of other people make a lot of money from it. Sometimes it is even the money – or at least the men behind the money – who start the war. Then more people come along and fight for their beliefs or to avenge those who have already fallen.

My work related to this story about The Dane is also my contribution to end all these wars that have no winners. There are no winners in war. There is only a lot of loss. The victorious side don’t really get to share the spoils of war. The only winners are a few people in the highest positions who have the possibility of gaining anything from a war. everybody else loses. No matter what side they are on.

The Dane could be any – or represent any – idealist fighting for something he believed in. I have later found things that could indicate that he has given up on the ideals and has become a monster living in a kind of parallel world underground where death and destruction are everyday events and that he no longer sees himself as part of our ordinary world.

I know that there is the other side to all this. That there are times when you have to fight. That there are regimes and leaders who have a twisted view of themselves, their power and their right to use that power as they please, and that we have to oppose them with actions. As human beings we cannot stand idly by while people are being slaughtered – or at least we shouldn’t. The world we have created just isn’t that straight forward. If you have the money for it, you can get away with murder, violations of human rights and even genocide.

But we always forget the ones who actually do the fighting. I don’t think that humans are meant to kill each other. Not on a large scale anyway. Young men might still fight to prove themselves or to show who is the alpha male in a group, but that is not the same as mass slaughter. 

History and stories are important. They always have been. The same goes for this story about The Dane. His life is wasted. He is a lost and condemned soul who will never find his peace. I just hope that some people out there read this testimony about the meaning of war to an individual who has seen it up close, and that it will make those people think twice. Can the idealism really endure the weight of murder?

en_GBEnglish (UK)