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A Combat Reporter Read - Scott Anderson, Prisoner of War, Harpers Magazine, January 1997 - Essay Example

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The author is mentally trapped in war as most of his memories get filled with war stories. He tells of the story of Athuma, a woman who got murdered by…
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A Combat Reporter Read - Scott Anderson, Prisoner of War, Harpers Magazine, January 1997
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Prisoner of war The article gets d as ‘the prisoner of war’ because the is mentally, physically, and socially trapped in war. The author is mentally trapped in war as most of his memories get filled with war stories. He tells of the story of Athuma, a woman who got murdered by Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka just to show how much war has trapped him emotionally. He bears the conviction that he should have saved Athuma who he believes got killed instead of him. He does not seem to get over the thought of this particular story. The article also gets filled with the author’s recollection of his memories about wars in the various places he has witnessed it firsthand. The author’s story gets clouded by memories of wars in places such as Beirut, Uganda, Chechnya, Northern Ireland, and the Sudan.
The author is also physically trapped by war and thus the reason for the article’s title. At the present moment of his narration, the author is physically in Chechnya trying to relocate a man who disappeared in a war torn village. From his narration, the reader can witness that the author has physically been present in various warzones around the globe. The author explains that he feels a rush about wars that drive him to the war fields. He feels as though he has never been an observer of war but rather a participant. Through the article, the author also gets to explain how wars physically trap civilians and victims in a manner that curtails their freedom. The presence of gunships, tankers, and creation of physical barriers prevent people from living freely, and thus they become prisoners of war.
Socially, the author is a prisoner of war. His social upbringing through his familial background almost destined his path to becoming a prisoner of war. He explains that ever since a young age, he always felt like war would eventually find him. His father was a foreign aid officer and this meant that he got raised in ‘frontline states’ such as south Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia where he begun to witness the impacts of war at a tender age. His father had fought in the World War II. His Godfather was an air force major. His brother was also a writer who documented on the direct impacts of war on civilians. This social upbringing shows that the author became a prisoner of war from an early age. He witnessed wars from an early age and thus he gets trapped by it.
This article shows the effects that war can have on individuals. Through the author’s narrative, the reader has a feeling that wars have made him to become partly numb mentally. The author also gets mentally fatigued whenever he recalls images or experiences he has witnessed in killing fields. The experience of war also paints a sad picture when considering the families that get forced to separate through abductions and killings. Many people get to lose their closest ones leaving them lonely and emotionally ruined. War also leads to a large number of civilian casualties. The author provides damning statistics that shows how many innocent lives get lost through wars. He also describes walking through killing fields where all he gets to step on is human bones, and this further illustrates the agony of war. Read More
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