would you like peace? i would, at least
by Wong Cheuk Chi (Cherry)
Part I: Proposing a Christmas violation
Infoslide: You are a Western liberal democracy in a four-year long brutal and bloody war of attrition against an imperialistic dictatorship. Every Christmas, there is a football match between the two sides and a ceasefire. Attending the match are high ranking political and military persons of both sides (Achte Minute, 2020).
Motion: THW violate the ceasefire and kill the leaders (Achte Minute, 2020).
Panel, as Prime Minister I will first go over the framework and definitions of this debate before moving on to the actual argumentation. On Opening Government, this House represents a Western liberal democracy engaged in a four-year-long brutal and bloody war of attrition against an imperialistic dictatorship. We define Western Liberal Democracy as a political system that believes in freedom, equality, and liberalism, while the imperialistic dictatorship in question is the country suppressing the democracy, having used force to acquire control and power over important officials who have recognizable power in the latter. Given the situation that every Christmas there is a ceasefire, defined as an agreement to stop fighting to allow discussions about peace, in the form of a football match, with high ranking political and military personnel such as lieutenants, commanders, chief ministers, and chancellors from both sides attending, this House would violate the ceasefire and kill the leaders. The key question in this debate is whether or not to violate the ceasefire, and if Opening Government can prove to you beyond reasonable doubt that violating the ceasefire will do more good than harm then this House wins this debate.
Moving on to my substantive material, I will first explain why the violation can effectively end the war. I will then move on to the unnecessary nature of the ceasefire. My Deputy Prime Minister will further elaborate on the negative impacts of not ending the ceasefire.
To begin with, violating the ceasefire can effectively accelerate the pace of the war and potentially lead to the ending of the war, something that is most desired. Indisputably, the ceasefire violation will result in escalated conflict. As the Western liberal democrats, we will wait until the football match is going well and smooth, with a peaceable atmosphere in place and everyone enjoying themselves. Then, we will take action to ruin the concord and wreak havoc. There are two potential tactics we may take. We can either stamp out onto the field and assault the army of the imperialistic dictatorship without warning. The army will react to our surprise attack quickly through violence, and our attack will either succeed or fail. Or, we can attempt to assassinate the enemy leaders, who are the bearers of all the concentrated power in the enemy’s military and government. If we succeed, the enemy will be leaderless and overwhelmed. Their army will fall into chaos and confusion, and our democratic army can seize the opportunity to launch our attack on them. If we fail, our act of assassination will trigger an aggressive response from the enemy’s army without question. Of course, the best scenario is to end on a high note – that is, to win the war by violating the ceasefire. Whereas even if the violation ends in failure and we lose the war, we still benefit to a great degree as the war will end. Note that the war has already dragged on for four years, and our side has been suffering from grave casualties, heavy military expenditure, and drainage of national resources ever since the war began. With the burdening costs of war, there is no reason to allow it to drag on for a fifth year. Therefore, based on the goal of ending the war as soon as possible, it is only reasonable that we violate the ceasefire.
Secondly, the ceasefire is unnecessary. Ceasefires are established to allow peace negotiations. Yet if the Christmas ceasefires in this war had been effective, the war would have ended four years ago when the first ceasefire was held. Yet ceasefires have been held annually for three consecutive years, and the two sides are still engaged in warfare up to this date. This proves that the past ceasefires were nothing more than temporary festive luxuries for the soldiers trapped in this whirlpool of chaos and bloodshed. They created charming illusions for the soldiers, that the war had ended, that peace had returned, and that the fighting was over. But right after the end of the ceasefires, the soldiers were roused from their dazy states, only to realize the war had not ended and they were forced to return to the world of combat and blood again. This year’s ceasefire will be no different. It will provide nothing more than false hope for the soldiers. It will meddle with their mentalities and deceive them. It will harm the soldiers on the inside. Not to mention in the aftermath of the ceasefire, the soldiers will be forced to go against their morale and shoot the very same people who played football with them not long before. The guilt that comes with such will tear them apart and torture them within. The initial purpose of the ceasefire to bring peace is completely defeated for it does nothing more than prolong the war and wound the soldiers mentally. Hence, we can conclude that the ceasefire is pointless. By violating the ceasefire and ending the war quicker, we see a much more ideal scenario: the soldiers can play football in their respective homelands with no belated fighting to worry about.
In conclusion, the violation of the ceasefire can bring about an accelerated ending of the war, which is crucial to the restoration of peace and stability on both sides. The ceasefire itself also has no purpose and can be seen as unnecessary. For the reasons mentioned, this House is proud to propose.
Part II: That’s humanity, and that’s Christmas
24th December 1914
I was over the top.
One by one, we leaped out of our trenches – tentatively, hesitantly, yet indeed…
It was happening.
Along with my English comrades, I rolled down onto the gravel field of No Man’s Land and laid flat on the ground. I remained static for a second, but the world enveloped me, refusing to remain silent, vibrating with a whirl of energy I had never sensed before.
Our squads moved forward, as the men from the other side advanced towards us little by little. They were not like us, I had always told myself. They were blatant, and they were eager to spill our blood. They were not soldiers the way we were, as we fought simply to uphold the honorable cause of defending our country. They were soulless monsters, tramping the earth like machines, with no guilt or sympathy. And therefore I had every right to kill them.
But now I saw the Germans soldiers – the youth, the young. Kicking at pebbles along the way, scratching at their tufts of hair, surging forward in almost what seemed like… excitement. They looked ecstatic. I could feel the bliss blooming from them and see the sunlight smiles on their faces from afar. They had emotions, just like us. Without their usual pointy helmets and murky viridescent jackets, they looked every bit like us. We were humans all the same. The monstrous beasts I had been trying to kill a day ago were gone.
Yet they could be acting. The evils of their sins and souls concealed deep beneath their friendly faces. Their rifles and firearms hid behind their backs, waiting to blow our heads off. Using the ceasefire as an attempt to start a massacre. We would be foolish to fall for their trap.
All of a sudden, a cheer erupted across the field. Both our sniper and that of the Germans were clambering down onto the ragged piece of No Man’s Land, unarmed. A soft breeze blew past our heads. The wind brewed, fizzling with a hint of thrill. We all wrapped our coats around ourselves more tightly and inched through the snow in huddles, reducing our distance from the opposing side.
At some point, a pair of luminous eyes glimmering blue found mine in recognition. He had curly, chestnut hair and a long nose, small palms, and skinny limbs. A sling was applied to his left arm.
I silently condemned myself for what I had done the day before.
But there was no hatred in the eyes of the boy. Instead, there was blessing.
My raw feelings and muddled thoughts melted into the dirt as the balmy rays of light sliced through the air, warming my throat, dissolving the acrid in its midst.
I was sick and tired of the meaningless war. Let it fade away behind me. No longer did I care about the authenticity of the breathtaking smell of peace placed before me. If I were to die I wanted to die a happy man.
This was our hour.
Our liberation from the atrocities of the world.
Our moment of humanity.
Our state of peace.
A soccer ball was produced as champagne spilled, gleaming in the hearth of Christmas.
Cambridge wins Trinity Open 2020 Online. (2020, June 11). Achte Minute.
Cherry Wong is a 15-year-old high school senior from Hong Kong. She loves writing, and especially novels of the fantasy genre that are layered with unpredictable, twisty plots. She is the Founder and President of the Teen Writers Club Hong Kong Branch (TWCHK) under the international TWC. Her writings have been published in-school and by the Hong Kong Young Writers Awards. Apart from writing, she also has a great passion for law and loves mock trial and mooting. She aspires to become both a renowned author and an outstanding lawyer when she grows up.