“Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars, and when the wars were over, no one knew what they were about”.
War is an immensely complex social phenomenon; hence it is difficult to explain it by any single factor or singular approach. However, if we were to analyse war, it could be divided into several categories, including political, economic, technological, legal, sociological, philosophical and psychological approaches. Furthermore, it mobilises entire populations and economies for a prolonged period irrespective of the scale.
The theorists interject that war, in its modern and complete form, if it is still considered a national state instrument, should be undertaken only if the most vital interest of the state, depending upon its survival, is concerned.
But no matter how much experts try to rationalise the conflicts between the governing states, ultimately, war is a social disaster bringing untold misery to the people. The consequences of war go far beyond the deaths of soldiers and on the battlefield; the lives of innocent civilians who are trapped amidst the conflict are constantly in danger. They may or may not live to see another day and often are subjected to forced migration.
Let us take a look at some of the beautiful countries ravaged by wars in recent years :
Afghanistan is located between central and South Asia; until the last one to two years, it had been a promising travel destination. You could find tourists from all over the world visiting the country for its diverse and scenic landscapes. For instance, Band-e-Amir is a series of blue lakes located in the heart of central Afghanistan. Specifically, they are situated in the foothills of the Hindu Kush- the second-highest mountain range in the world.
It is surrounded by pink towering limestone cliffs that are bereft of any vegetation; the lakes amidst these cliffs look alienated and otherworldly. Also, the distinctive blue colour of the lakes is due to the clarity of air and the high mineral content of the lakes, which causes the intense colour.
Amongst the six lakes, Band-e-Amir is the smallest, with a diameter of approximately 100m, and the largest lake is Band-e-Zulfikar, which measures 6.5 km in length. The lakes have been a favourite destination for travellers since the 1950s, and it had only been declared a national park in 2009. Band-e-Amir is the only national park in Afghanistan and has been given UNESCO world heritage status.
Another iconic landmark is the two monumental statues of Buddha in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley. The Bamiyan Buddhas were locally known as Salsal and Shamana and were 55 and 38 metres in height, respectively. The statues were set in niches on either end of the cliffside and carved out directly from the sandstone.
The statues date back to the 5th century, during which the Buddhist Kushana Empire flourished around the surrounding valleys. The two enormous statues were part of several other structures such as stupas, smaller seated and standing Buddhas, cave wall paintings, etc.
During the early 1990s, the Taliban movement started gaining traction; by the end of the decade, almost 90 per cent of the country was under their control. Then, in March 2001, despite condemnation and protests from governments and cultural ambassadors, the terrorist organisation started the destruction of the statues. First, they made a global spectacle of destroying the Buddhas; they took nearly a month to complete the demolition.
The Taliban succeeded in overthrowing the Ashraf Ghani government in August 2021 and came to power twenty years after the U.S. troops ousted them. So, presently, a travel advisory is initiated against travelling to Afghanistan due to civil unrest, armed conflict, terrorism, and crime.
Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is the only country in Africa, south of the Sahara, that has ancient historical monuments. Besides, most of the tourist attractions in the country are centred around the historic circuit.
Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and is located at a distance of 560 km from Addis Abba. Also, the lake is considered to be the origin of the Blue Nile, one of the two main tributaries of the Upper Nile. Additionally, more than 20 churches and monasteries are located around the lake.
Gondar is located in Northern Europe and is famous for the walled Fassil Ghebi fortress and palace compound. The structure is surrounded by a 900 m long wall that contains Indian and Baroque style palaces, churches and monasteries.
Unfortunately, a year of conflict has left Africa’s most populous country, Ethiopia, devastated, wherein thousands of people lost their lives. Moreover, two million people were forced to leave their houses while leading parts of the country into an unprecedented famine. The civil war that broke out between Forces under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — the Ethiopian military, ethnic militias and troops from neighbouring Eritrea and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or T.P.L.F.
Researchers and scholars have always been fascinated with the rich cultural landscape of Syria; the country has some of the oldest cities in Western Asia, like Damascus and Aleppo- a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the most well-known places of the land include the Dead Cities of northern Syria, a group of 700 abandoned villages between Aleppo and Idlib. Most of the villages were left between the 8th and 10th centuries; it has well-preserved architectural remains of temples, cisterns, bathhouses and many ancient churches from early Christianity.
The Syrian Civil war that began in March 2011 caused severe human rights violations and massacres, leading to a significant refugee crisis. The war continues to be fought by several factions, including the Syrian Armed Forces and its domestic and international allies, a loose alliance of primarily Sunni opposition rebel groups (such as the Free Syrian Army), Salafi jihadist groups (including al-Nusra Front and Tahrir al-Sham), the mixed Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.), and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The biological diversity and varied landscape in Iraq are astounding, but the country has been in a continuous state of conflict since the early 1980s. Furthermore, the country is presently going through several constitutional, political and security crises, while most of its provinces — including Baghdad — are under the control of militias aligned with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The militia leaders also believe that they own all aspects of the Iraqi state and publicly threaten all the other Arab countries’ security.
Cameroon is located in the Gulf of Guinea, a Central African country amidst varied terrain and wildlife. Some of the nation’s top tourist destinations include Dschang, Dja Faunal Reserve, Korup National Park, Kribi, etc.
But the ongoing violent conflict between the separatists of two English-speaking regions in the country and Cameroon authorities since October 2016 has gradually worsened. The conflict, which is also known as the Anglophone crisis or the Ambazonia war, has killed thousands of people in the war and caused massive displacement of over half a million people.
Libya is located in the Maghreb region in North Africa and is bordered by the Mediterranean sea to the north and Egypt to the east. The country is loved amongst globe trotters because of its captivating desert scenery and classical ruins. But the political-military instability occurring in the country that began in 2011 led to the civil war and foreign military intervention.
Unrest and tension are still ongoing in the country due to which travelling to the country is unsafe; no wonder it has been called one of the most dangerous countries in the world.