Wars show the naked face of humanity. Some become nastier while others become more humane. There are people fleeing war in a truck covered with tarpaulin. When they arrive at a checkpoint, a young Russian soldier approaches them. His eyes studying people in the truck stop at a young married woman in a black shawl. The soldier says through a translator that he wants to spend time in return for letting them pass. Then, a guy unrelated to the woman asks if he feels no shame. The soldier says there is no shame during a war. “Tell him that he is wrong. Dignity is more needed during a war than during peaceful times. War does not deny dignity,” the man says to a translator. The soldier threatens to shoot everybody in anger. “Even if I am shot 1,000 times, I cannot let something so disgraceful happen,” he says.
His son shivers in fear and asks him to stop interfering with other people’s business as the Russian soldier might really kill them. “Tell him that he’d better kill me with one shot. Otherwise, I will tear him apart to death. Bastard!” the man says to a translator, pushing the son’s hand away.
Everyone values their life. However, the man puts his life on the line for the dignity of humanity. The words he speaks are not curses. They are the sounds of dignity. Fortunately, a Russian officer approaches them and fires a blank shot to stop the soldier. He apologizes on behalf of young soldiers who become addicted to drugs and engage in such conduct during war even though they were deployed to fight for a country. He responded with dignity to dignity.
This is an anecdote included in “The Kite Runner,” a novel by Khaled Hosseini with war as its background. War shows humanity’s both nastiness and dignity at the same time. The reason why it is worth living even when the world seems so hopeless and grim is the dignity demonstrated by the father of Amir, the protagonist of the novel. Dignity wins nastiness, perhaps not immediately but eventually.