Advertisement

You Can’t Go Home Again – Bioethical Reflections on War Veterans and Refugees as Survivors; Its Implications for Global Bioethics Education

Chapter
Part of the Advancing Global Bioethics book series (AGBIO, volume 10)

Abstract

“In war, truth is the first casualty”. Allegedly, it was the ancient Greek playwright, Aeschylus, who first coined this phrase. Aeshylus, the father of this art form, together with his two contemporary colleagues, Sophocles and Euripedes, were also among the first poets to put in verse and dramatize the fate of women and children as victims of this form of man-made disaster. The citizens of the ancient Greek society admired their war-plays and it was to the theatre they went when they wanted to watch moral conflicts displayed in vivo. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that in that time period of human history the theatre was considered the ‘locus classicus’ of ethics education. In this essay it is argued that this ancient art form still has a role to play when it comes to ethics education. Furthermore, it is argued that the moral conflicts staged in the war plays of the ancient Greek playwrights is more relevant than ever, and that teaching about the human upheavels and moral injuries caused by war, unrest and armed conflicts therefore should be included in the curriculum and acknowledged as one of the biggest challenges global bioethics education is faced with today. Three of the tragedies of Sophocles will be made use of: Ajax, Antigone and Oedipus the King, in combination with a contemporary dramatization of the human upheavals and moral injuries affecting women and children in the wake of armed conflicts: the film, Incendies.

References

  1. Aristotle. 1984. Poetics; nicomachean ethics; politics. In The Complete Works of Aristotle. The Revised Oxford Translation, ed. J. Barnes. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Benedict, Ruth. 1946. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  3. Cairns, D. 1993. Aidos. The Psychology and Ethics of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greek Literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  4. Developing Artists. 2013. Queens of Syria. Accessible at: http://www.developingartists.org.uk/our-projects/queens-of-syria:-jordan-&-uk-theatre-tour).
  5. Dodds, E.R. 1951. The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  6. Doerries, B. 2015. The Theater of War: What Ancient Tragedies Can Teach Us Today. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  7. Godwin, G. 2011. Introduction. In You Can’t go Home Again. Wolfe T. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  8. Hart, J., Tyrer, B. (2006). Research with Children Living in Situations of Armed Conflict: Concepts, Ethics & Methods. Accesible at: https://childhub.org/en/child-protection-online-library/hart-j-tyrer-b-2006-research-children-living-situations-armed
  9. Holstun, J. 2015. Antigone Becomes Jocasta: Soha Bechara, Résistante, and Incendies. Mediations 29 (1): 3–42. Accessible at: www.mediationsjournal.org/articles/antigone-becomes-jocasta
  10. Joe’s Garage. 2010. Movie Night: Incendies. Accessible at: http://www.joesgarage.nl/events/movie-night-incendies
  11. Konstan, D. 2012. Shame in Ancient Greece. Social Research 70 (4): 1031–1060. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/40971960 (accessed December 2, 2012).
  12. Maguen, S., and Litz, B. 2016. Moral Injury in the Context of War. National Center for PTSDU.S Department of Veterans Affair. Accessible at: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/co-occurring/moral_injury_at_war.asp
  13. Mouawad, M. 2010. Schorched. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press.Google Scholar
  14. National Alliance to end Homelessness. 2016. The State of Homelessness in America 2016. Homelessness Research Institute. Accessible at: http://endhomelessness.org/wpcontent/uploads/2016/10/2016-soh.pdf.
  15. Nussbaum, M.C. 1990. Introduction. In The Poetics of Therapy. Hellenistic Ethics in its Rhetorical and Literary Context, ed. M.C. Nussbaum, 1–6. Alberta: Academic Printing & Publishing Edmonton.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2016. Anger and Forgiveness. Resentment, Generosity, Justice. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. O’Mathuna, D.P., V. Dranseika, and B. Gordijn, eds. 2016. Disasters: Basic Concepts and Normative Theories. Dordrecht: Springer/Nature.Google Scholar
  18. Ohly F. 1992. The Damned and the Elect: Guilt in Western Culture. Trans. Linda Archibald. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Østerud, S. 1976. Hamartia in Aristotle and Greek Tragedy. Symbolae Osloenses LI: 65–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Solbakk, J.H. 2006. Catharsis and Moral Therapy II: An Aristotelian account. Journal of Medicine Healthcare and Philosophy 9: 2141–2153.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 2015. Movements and movies in bioethics: The use of theatre and cinema in teaching bioethics. In Bioethics Education in a Global Perspective, ed. H. ten Have, 203–221. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  22. Sophocles. 1994. Ajax; Electra; Oedipus Tyrannus. In Sophocles I, ed. H. Lloyd-Jones. Cambridge, MA/London: The Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 2014. Antigone. Trans. Ian Johnston. Accessible at: https://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/sophocles/antigone.htm.
  24. Their World. 2017. 10 Countries Where Child Soldiers Are Still Recruited in Armed Conflict. Accessible at: http://theirworld.org/news/10-countries-where-child-soldiers-are-still-recruited-in-armed-conflicts).
  25. UNHCR. 2015. Global Trends. Forced Displacement in 2015. The UN Refugee Agency Accessible at: http://www.unhcr.org/statistics/unhcrstats/576408cd7/unhcr-global-trends-2015.html.
  26. Williams, B. 1993. Shame and Necessity. Berkeley/Los Angeles/Oxford: University of California Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations