Not long ago, I saw a photo of a dog and a cat sleeping together; “natural” enemies who were at peace with one another. It made me think about one of my all-time favorite movies: Enemy Mine.
For those of you who may not have seen it, it is a science fiction movie about a war over planetary rights between humans and another species, the Dracs. The planet was neither Earth nor Dracon, and I got the impression that this interplanetary war had bonded the humans so they weren’t fighting each other anymore. One of the human characters said they had never even seen a Drac, yet the humans all seemed to be filled with so much hate whenever they talked about them.
During a battle in space, one human (played by Dennis Quaid) and one Drac (played by Louis Gossett Jr.) both crash-land on an uninhabited planet. Eventually they figure out that they need each other to survive. Eventually they begin to see some similarities in their beliefs. Eventually they become friends. Eventually…no, I’m not going to tell the ending here, that would just be wrong.
Apparently, Enemy Mine was not a box office hit, yet I saw more in this movie than just alien makeup and special effects. I saw how it really is possible for enemies to become friends. All it takes is to actually get to know them as a person with a name, a family, and a life, instead of as an enemy.
As I reflected upon this, I started thinking about the many thousands of interactions I have had with people from other parts of the world since my reluctant concession to my son’s suggestion that I join Facebook. Because of social networking and from joining groups like The Daily Sisterhood, I am learning how much alike we are, even though we are from different cultures, economic backgrounds, and religions. Yet, because of our governments, we might not be much different from the characters in Enemy Mine.
We also live in a world that is at war; sometimes over a belief, sometimes over a piece of land, sometimes because of the need to be righteous. I know in my heart that we, as individuals, do not want war, but are manipulated, either under the threat of treason by our governments, or by making heroes out of patriots.
Patriotism simply means “inspired by love of country”. Would we ever be at war if we taught our children to be philanthropists who are “inspired by the love of mankind” instead of encouraging and praising them when they become soldiers? I think not.
What would happen if there was a war, and we, together as friends, just decided not to show up? As individuals, much like the two lead characters in Enemy Mine, we need to be working together in order to survive. The wide-spread success of social networking sites like Facebook is proof that we all have at least one thing in common: the desire, possibly even a need, to be connected.
Do we really have to wait until the planet Earth enters an interplanetary war for our governments to allow us to connect in peace? Let us all, right now, just choose to be members of an international community; even if we never meet face to face.
“I dream of the creation of a World Peace Service which would allow young people from all countries to work together for peace and humanitarian causes instead of military service.” ~ Excerpt from acceptance speech by Robert Muller, as the Laureate of the UNESCO Prize 1989 for Peace Education.
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My name is Laura Mozer Davis, and I was born over half a century ago. My life’s journey has included raising three children as a single parent while caring for my parents who both became disabled during the last 10 years of their lives. Now that my children are grown and my parents have passed into the next part of their journey, I finally have time for me to grow as a person, not as just a care-giver. What I am learning, however, is that my destiny is to always be a care-giver. When I started writing for The Daily Sisterhood blog, I realized that I was to continue my care-giving through my writing. If my words help even just one person find either solace or joy, I know my life continues to have meaning.