What do you do when you are 17?
We make Podcast episodes ourselves (about missions), but this time I was a guest in someone else’s Podcast. That was a special experience, I must say. But what was that podcast about? Well…
This podcast is about the “Cold War”. It started around 1945/1949 and ended around 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down. In that “Cold War” I too was called up for conscription as it existed at the time in the Netherlands. And what do you do as a boy of 17 or 18 years old and get “the letter”? Will you enlist… or not… and why, and why not?
How do you feel about it as a human being, how do you feel about it as a Christian? A little look into my 17-year-old brain, with the choice I made back then.
The episode is described by the administrator of that podcast as follows:
In 1987, Martin received a letter informing him of his conscription into the Dutch Army. A number of European NATO countries had conscription during the Cold War. Holland’s applied to men over the age of 18 and included service for about a year, after which you were placed on the reserve. Martin objected to military service as a conscientious objector on religious grounds. Conscientious objectors could perform alternative civilian service instead of military service. However, to get to be an official “conscientious objector” you had to pass multiple military courts and military procedures, which was especially challenging for someone aged 17 years old. Martin is very honest about his beliefs and his experiences.
During the Cold War, he was seen by some as an enemy because he refused to bear arms to protect his country. You may disagree with his views, but it’s a Cold War topic that is little covered elsewhere, and I’m sure you will find my conversation with Martin as fascinating and powerful as I did.
And now? Now we are in another “Cold” war, which is not so cold anymore… exciting times to say the least. And the question remains… what do you do? A fascinating question that is still relevant today.