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The Warriors Honor: A Review

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The Warrior's Honour

The Warrior's Honour by Michael Ignatieff conveys the harsh realities of ethnic war to the reader. It opens a window to pictures and experiences that most cannot, and do not , think of on a daily basis. Michael Igantieff has experienced there realities as he travelled around the world in his work as a journalist, and it is in this book that he shares with us his thoughts and ideas about these war torn countries. In this paper I will review the book and discuss major themes and arguments, as well as the downfall and shortcomings of it.

Very early on the in book ignatieff makes it very clear why he wanted to embark on his journeys and also what he wishes to tell us through this book. He writes of his journeys purpose on page three: "I wanted to find out what mixture of moral solidarity and hubris led Western nations to embark on this brief adventure in putting the world to rights" (Ignatieff 3). He is speaking of the sudden surge of "interventionist internationalism [that] had swelled during the gulf War..." (Ignatieff 3). He also states: "... what, if anything, still connects the zones of safety where I and mot readers of this book are likely to live, and the zones of danger where ethnic struggle has become a way of life?" (Ignatieff 4). Ignatieff clearly maps out the direction of this book by stating:

My Concern here is with moral

obligation, beyond our tribe, be-

yond our nation, family, intimate

network. The Warrior's Honour

is about the impulse we all feel

to "do something" when we see

some terrible report on television

from Bosnia or Afghanistan

(Ignatieff 4).

Ignatieff does not get to these points and arguments until late in the book but leading up to them there are a great deal of arguments and theories made.

One of these such arguments is captured in the title of the first chapter: " Is Nothing Sacred? The Ethics of Television". Does the media only display a shallow unfeeling report of the developing and warring world's strife? Or do they open our eyes to that strife in order to make us reach out. The first chapter of The Warrior's Honour deals with these questions. Ignatieff first presents a strong case for the side of the media, outlining the facts that it has done a "good deed" by opening the eyes of the Western world and not to mention their pockets (Ignatieff 10).

With the advent of television Westerners can now no longer deny the fact that there are hungry and tortured people in this world. But there is another side to the media's relationship with pain and suffering.

The Media is accused that's they wait until the strife is at an extreme before they call upon the West with their gut-wrenching pictures and video clips (Ignatieff 11). Ignatieff solidifies his point by stating: "The medium's gaze is brief, intense, and promiscuous. The shelf life of the moral causes it makes its own is brutally short" (Ignatieff 11).

A further argument made by Ignatieff in this same chapter is that these "strangers" on the television screen are not always in the forefront of our minds. We will help those who we know and can see before we help those who we merely see a 30 second clip of on the six o'clock news (Ignatieff 15).

The question could be asked "Why do we watch shows such as World Vision?" Ignatieff says that: "Millions of people look to the screen for signs of their collective identity as a national society and as citizens of the world" (Ignatieff 27).

Maybe some of us in the West have a hard time seeing those on the screen as our brothers because they seem so far away, but to some their now enemies were once their brothers, neighbours, and friends.

This brings us to another central argument of the book, essentially what would provoke "brother" to enter into was with each other? Ignatieff tells the story of the war between the Serbians and the Croatians. They considered themselves equal before the death of their leader Tito, and the collapse of communism. The only difference between that they recognised was religion, the Croats Roman Catholic, and the Serbs Orthodox (Ignatieff 35). When Ignatieff asked a Serbian soldier why he thought that Serbians and Croatians are now so different he started of strong stating that they are so different that they even smoke different cigarettes, but then he falters and let it slip out that he thinks they are really the same (Ignatieff 36).

Ignatieff now asks that after we are informed by the media and after we see brothers, neighbours, and friends fighting, what will we do about it? Ignatieff says that we stepped thought the television screen "not only to save others, but to save ourselves, or rather an image



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