People are Essentially People: War Hospital and Human Nature


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There are no heroes in “War Hospital.” There are those who act heroically, but they are not pure. There are those who do good, but they are not essentially good, and they do not act from total selflessness.

“War Hospital” is filled with doctors trying to do what doctors do: heal the sick. But there are so many sick. There are so few supplies. And everyone is so tired. It’s not as simple as all that. While a man’s life is saved, a 13-year-old boy who should have lived dies because there is only one surgeon. Abortions are performed without anesthesia, and on many mornings the screams of those women wake the hospital staff. But no one tries to stop it. And no one ever gets around to using the condoms distributed.

If the doctors leave, people will die. But the doctors want desperately to leave. They want to go out and fight, or they want to go find their families.

No one higher up is thinking about the civilians caught in a war zone. No one is thinking about the children they kill by shelling. And all the people caught in the middle can think about is their own safety and that of their loved ones. That’s their first priority, and it always has to be.

People are people. On a casual level, they will do great good and great evil. They will lie, and they will tell the truth–and when they choose to do which may change. They will accept honor where it is not deserved. They will be kind, and one day a kindness to a stranger may save their life.

People are by nature people. They are not good or evil: they are just people capable of anything. And in “War Hospital,” the myths of honor, glory, and “great times make great men” are stripped away, until all that remains are people, people who are exhausted, who are hungry and want to go home. People who may save hundreds of lives.


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