A Letter to War ~ Free Choice

Dear War:

I saw you in the news today.

You looked the same as you always did. You were wearing a scarf woven out of the threads cast by fear and hatred; power and insanity. I think that scarf is your favourite accessory – do you ever appear without it?

I heard you were in Ukraine last year – how was that? Do you know the cost you put upon humanity when you walk into a room?

Tell me, War, what does it feel like to have a day in celebration of the time you left our grandfathers? Do you pause to look at the crosses that signify the many lives you took from us? Do you pause to look at the ash ingrained in the side walks of Hiroshima? Do you pause to look at the scratch marks on the inside of gas chamber walls? No – I do not think you do. Instead, you move onto the next era; onto the next generation of humanity you wish to infect with your grief and with your sorrow.

Red has always been your favourite colour, I think. It is present within every aspect of your life, isn’t it? You have red stains on your military jacket. You bleed red. The thing is, no one likes the colour red as much as you. The thing is, we despise red when it is in the presence of you. Yes, we have red stains on our military jackets, but we mourn the bleeding red.

You seem to be abroad a lot this year – France, the Middle East, the Southern United States. I must say, you are very well travelled. Every country knows of you – they know what you are capable of. People fear you. People hate you. Some people use you to get what they want. But no one is your friend. You are not a friend to anyone either. You are merciless. You are cruel. I hope to never meet you.

Many of us talk of you as if to boast. They triumph in having met you and survived. On the contrary, my grandfather said that anyone who triumphs in having met you, has definitely not met you. If only your presence actually meant pride and bravery. Instead, you leave behind a cold shadow; a brutal reminder of the relentless pain and suffering you bring to us. This state of desolation leaves strong soldiers to become weak; wives to be widows; and children to be orphans. That is what you bring us. Nothing good ever comes from you. You brought violence and death to this world. For this, I despise you.

I’m lucky I haven’t seen you in person. Please don’t try to visit me.

Yours truly,



Picture: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YkMHI9zCzDQ/TX7JG_MAfaI/AAAAAAAAAFY/InHps2WiuRA/s1600/War_and_Peace_by_DreamlessxPassion.jpg

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6 thoughts on “A Letter to War ~ Free Choice

  1. Dear Carmen,

    I want to start by recognizing the genius behind your piece–a letter to war itself–I cannot think of a better way to address such a complicated ideal.

    In terms of improvement, I would offer that you occasionally switch between first person and third person within your piece, and I feel as though the piece as a whole would be more effective if you maintained a single point of view throughout. In addition, I believe that the following question should have been placed a little later in the blog, as it disrupts the flow of the piece where it currently stands, “Do you know the cost you put upon humanity when you walk into a room?” I would offer placing this question in the last or second last paragraph.

    Lastly, I felt that the letter as a whole worked perfectly with the image you posted, and I love the fact that you placed that picture before your actual letter. It was a good choice.

    Your blog was beautiful. I cannot express how much I loved it.


  2. Dear Carmen,

    I’d first like to start off by saying that this has been my favourite piece of writing of yours thus far. The title automatically caught my interest, how could someone write a letter to war itself?

    As soon as I finished reading, I sat back to comprehend the post and then read it again. There is something so amazing about how well you can describe war as cruel without sounding repetitive at all. I really loved the part where you talked about war being well traveled and used personification in a really interesting way.

    One thing I think you could work on is not having too many simple sentences or complex sentences in a row, layering them throughout I think could have improved the piece a little.

    I found your blog extremely innovative and beautiful, I absolutely adored it. It think it really captured the emotions of those who have never encountered such hatred but see it everywhere. If only war could read this.


  3. Dear Carmen-

    I am stricken by what you have written, and I want you to know that I’ve never read anything like this before, nor have I been able to write anything like this before. I understand that this topic is one that hurts and is painful, so seeing that you managed to push past that pain and be honest about what war meant to you… it truly inspired me.
    Seriously, I’m not just saying this. You writing actually inspired me to write an emulation from this blog piece, and produced some wonderful results. So first of all, thank you for that inspiration.
    The narrator in this piece was incredibly honest about his or her feelings towards the personification of war, and this was something that as a reader I appreciate because I agree with it. You took the position of every person who has ever had to sit back from a distance and see what war and hatred does to the world- without being able to stop it. And these people who are distanced from war, including me, see exactly what your narrator sees. We see how awful things have become, we hope and pray for the people being affected, and we give thanks that we are still unaffected. This letter really resonated with me because you narrator echoed my own thoughts.
    The imagery in this piece was a powerful tool that you used to great effect. I especially loved the line, ‘You were wearing a scarf woven out of the threads cast by fear and hatred; power and insanity.’ This really caught my attention and evoked emotion within me. As well, the personification of war was done incredibly well- even flawlessly, I would say. It really made that gap and that distance between war and everyday people shrink. Through this, the reality of war was more apparent to me than it had even been before.
    As a constructive criticism, I have to say that signing the note with Someone really threw me off and completely changed the tone of this piece. What I loved about this letter so much was the honestly in it. But the signature- being anonymous- took away from the candor and the bold bravery, because the person isn’t accepting responsibility for what they have said. For me, it was a turn of events in which the narrator proves themselves to be somewhat cowardly. Because I know this is not what you intended, I hope it was helpful to let you know how the signature comes across (at least for me.)
    Carmen, you are amazing. If you recall, I commented on your This I Believe piece at the beginning of the year. The writing then was fantastic and it is even more so now. It’s been fascinating to see how you have grown and improved as a writer. This letter is definitely my favorite of your pieces, and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to read it.

    Infinite Love and Gratitude,

  4. Dear Carmen,

    The chaos and brutality associated with war is a concept that is so foreign to me, yet I witness its extremity on the news. I witness the terrors of humanity but am far removed from the subject. Therefore, when your letter started with dear war, I was immediately drawn to what your perceptions were on this subject and how you could possibly portray these ideas with the right words. I can question you no longer, for what you wrote is a heartbreaking, purposeful, and a remarkable piece.

    What struck me was how articulately you presented war as cruel and sadistic. It represented the evils of humanity and how our vengeance and hate feeds into this bitter cycle. When you mention, “some people use you (war) to get what they want. But no one is your friend,” I had conflicting emotions. Are you representing how there are individuals within mankind above war, as the individual is in control if using war for their internalized means of deception. But I’d like to mention that doesn’t war use them? It uses the loathing and rancor present within man to cause itself to become malicious and deadly. For once one succumbs to war, it is simply a cycle that feeds into itself and uses our want of revenge to cause destruction to mankind. War eliminates the one thing that causes it to grow.

    When you present the idea of how war has a life through the line, “it is present within every aspect of your life?” what do you mean by this? How does war have a life and when does its life end? Does it ever end? I would honestly like to know your interpretations on this.

    One line that I had to mention that struck me speechless was, “On the contrary, my grandfather said that anyone who triumphs in having met you, has definitely not met you.” I don’t know what to say other than it was beautiful in the sadness and devastation it presented.

    A truly note-worthy piece.



  5. Carmen,
    I honestly have to say that I’m blown away by your piece, and I think that many of us could relate to what you’ve said in your letter. We see war in the news but we never come into contact with it, and we hope we’ll never have to look it in the eye, or so to speak.

    I personally have to say that this is one of the best uses of personification I’ve ever seen, calling war “well travelled” and saying that it wears a scarf woven out of fear. I also noticed your constant use of short, sentences, but each of them holding a different meaning that helps reinforce the message behind your piece.

    I noticed that you switched between third person and first person occasionally, but aside from that your letter was incredibly powerful and well written

    – Genevieve

  6. Carmen,

    My goodness this is really something indescribably amazing. You’ve turned War itself to a person! its so simple yet genius, and you wrote to him too ending off with “someone”. Its amazing, I can’t get over it. “someone” its almost like you’ve made yourself insignificant, but at the same time made yourself a much bigger thing than war himself, that you can take as a united force and maintain peace.

    You talk about war being evil, and destructive, and while that is true I would say that our true enemy is our own pride and conceit, they are what war is bred out of. We can survive war, but not ourselves. Wars can be ended but not the evil side of the human nature. I’d say that those who practice evil, in mind have this clouded tunnel-vision that has total disregard for the beauty and joy in life itself . and it is with this total disregard that births conflict (war being at a larger scale). Just one criticism when you said “Some people use you to get what they want. But no one is your friend” it doesn’t seem to fit too well with the flow of your writing

    What I love especially about this letter is the fact that you made it is so simple but so meaningful and deep, I don’t know if this was intentional or not but either way its amazing.

    Kudos to you


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