You can't help but to admire a young man who stands solidly upon moral principle and refuses to capitulate - despite facing a jail sentence for his beliefs. His EIGHTH such jail sentence for refusing to knuckle under to the will of the state.
Let's check this guy's story out, shall we?
Nathan Blanc is a 19-year-old who wants to study science or technology at a university. He does not wish to delay that educational pursuit for 3 years while serving in the Army. But the delay is not why he is refusing to enlist in the military. Here is his reason - in his own words, as quoted by the British newspaper The Guardian:
The government, he said, was "not interested in finding a solution to the existing situation, but rather in preserving it … We will talk of deterrence, we will kill some terrorist, we will lose some civilians on both sides, and we will prepare the ground for a new generation full of hatred on both sides … We, as citizens and human beings, have a moral duty to refuse to participate in this cynical game."For his refusal to "participate in this cynical game", Nathan has been sentenced to spend 15 to 20 days in prison seven different times so far and is expecting to be sentenced again today. Over the past 19 weeks, he has spent over 100 days in prison for refusing to allow the state to force him to carry a gun against his will. Again, in his own words:
"The wave of aggressive militarism that swept the country then, the expressions of mutual hatred, and the vacuous talk about stamping out terror and creating a deterrent effect were the primary trigger for my refusal."Sounds like a young man talking about a country we're familiar with, doesn't it? But we have an all-volunteer army. So he isn't being jailed by the US, but the country in which he lives isn't important. What's important is the moral stand he has taken on the issue facing him.
Nathan could easily avoid military service in his country if he falsely claimed a medical condition that would disqualify him. But he doesn't want to lie. He could also be exempted on the grounds that he is a pacifist, but he would again have to lie because the military in his country defines pacifism very narrowly and, again, he'd have to lie - and to him this refusal is "a point of principle." It seems that his country does not permit refusal of military service because you don't believe that it is the right thing to do or that what his country does with its military is wrong-headed or morally unjust - what we here call "conscientious objector." That is the basis for his refusal. He objects based on his conscience.
So Mr. Nathan Blanc is about to once again become a prisoner of conscience - jailed for his beliefs that he does not wish to participate in military aggression against another People. My last direct quote from the article (sanitized so that we focus only upon this admirable young man) is here:
In an interview with the Guardian, he says: "The war going on in this country for more than 60 years could have ended a long time ago. But both sides are giving in to extremists and fundamentalists. The occupation was supposed to be temporary, but now no one speaks of it ending." [His country], he adds, keeps people "under our control" without democratic rights. [They] are subject to "collective punishment" for the actions of a few.So now this kid - and I say "kid" as a reflection only of his age compared to that of those elected to lead nations - is standing up to what he feels is an immoral use of his nation's youth, money, and military assets and is refusing to be forced to serve a system which he feels is designed to accomplish nothing more than a perpetuation of oppression, pain, denial of civil rights, and to collectively punish millions of people. He disagrees with all of it and refuses to be a part of it. And for this, they're sending him to jail . . . again.
This is one helluva "kid" here. Were there millions more like him everywhere.