On Seeing the Positive and Achieving Progress
“Minors accuse guards at Libya detention center of sex assult”, “Missing US-Student Catherine Serou found dead in Russia”, “Kim Jong Un says North Korea faces food crisis due to flooding”.
These are the headlines of some of the most prominent English news outlets this past weekend. They all portray a negative view on our world - or even humankind. Newspapers, publishing houses and news broadcasters seem to share this negativity, no matter whether they are located in New York, Tokio or Doha.
On the other hand, we only rarely hear about the success stories that humankind has produced. Because the bad prevails over the good in the public debate, we are missing out on why humankind is actually not a self-interested - to speak in realist theory terms - species. Considering this OLMUN’s theme “Progress and Perspective - United Efforts for a Brighter Future” I therefore want to throw light on a story that tells why it is worth believing in a brighter future for humankind.
This story took place during the biggest atrocity of human history, which ultimately led to the creation of the United Nations in order to prevent a Third World War from happening. It tells about the discoveries of the American Colonel Samuel Marshall.
The logic of war determines that soldiers have to kill the enemy in order to not be killed themselves. Therefore, one must think that most surviving soldiers have shot another human being. American Military Command also held this to be true when the war arrived on the Pacific Island of Makin.
The landing on the island led the American Army into a nightly battle, which was coined by chaos and impenetrability. At the end, no one knew what had happened, and not even the commanding officers were able to make sense of the occurring events. Already an hour after the battle, stories got mixed up and rumors began to spread.
In the midst of this confusion, Colonel Marshall took it among himself to untie the conflicting narrative and understand what had happened that night on Makin. He certainly was not expecting what he discovered: 85 percent of all soldiers never fired their weapons to kill an enemy and most never fired their weapons at all.
This incredible fact is unknown to most of us. Soldiers in the Second World War were not intrinsically bad murderers, but even on the battlefield the positive side of humanity prevailed.
We can take the story of the soldiers who did not shoot as a reminder to look behind the scenes and question these headlines that portray humankind as negative. Then we will be able to progress towards a brighter future. I encourage you to keep this in mind when negotiating with your fellow delegates and maybe even beyond the OLMUN 2021 when looking at the news next time.
By Dennis Kirsch