Anatomy of a Civil War

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We all know what war is. Also, some of us have experienced the effects of war. However, although we all know what the word civil means it is interesting to start this anatomy by ‘dissecting’ the word civil. The root of civil is the Latin word ‘civis’ which means ‘citizen’.The Latin word for city is ‘urbs’  (hence; urbahn, suburb, etc). This sounds a bit strange. One could expect that ‘civis’ would derive from a word that sounded more like ‘city’ or something similar.For example.the Greek word polis (city , pronounced polees accent on o) gave birth to the word politis (citizen, pronounced: poleetees, accent on bold ee). Maybe there is an explanation for the Latin peculiarity which is unknown to me. However, it is true that in most languages the word ‘civil’ is used to describe this kind of war. For example, the Germans use the word ‘Buerger’ (citizen), the French use the word ‘Civile’, the Italians use the word ‘Civile’, and so on.

[Parenthesis: It is interesting to note that the ancient Greeks instead of the word ‘civil’ they used the word ’emfylios’  (pronounced as emfeeleeos, accent on the bold ee) in the expression “civil war”. This word is a compound of the preposition ‘en’ (changed to ’em’ for reasons of euphony) which means in, between, etc and the adjective ‘fylios’ a word that leads us to deep water. The Greek word fyllo (or ‘phyllo’ in the dictionaries, φυλλο in Greek) means the leaf of a tree! From the word ‘fyllo’, that is from the word ‘leaf’ a very dangerous word was born, the word phyle (pronounced  as feelee , accent on bold ee), which means race or tribe. (My guess is that the Greeks meant that the leaves belonged to the same tree.) A development that introduced the notion  that my race or tribe is “ueber alles” (of the Nazi anthem, meaning “above all”), that is my race is better than yours, while your race is simply … shit. [End of the Parenthesis].

Back to the ‘magnificent’ word polis (city), whch gave birth to: politics {a profession ?), to  politician (?), to policy (again ?), and unfortunately to police and finally to a rather ‘divine’ word politismos (civilization, pronounced: poleeteesmos, accent on bold o). Inevitably, a question arises in the mind of an ordinary person: is the polis good or bad?

– Let us check the negative:

* Millions of humans living very close to one another. Result: usually hate and violence.

* Living in a ‘Le Corbusier’ space, therefore in an apartment on a floor many yards above the surface of the soil of the planet, which obliges one to use an  elevator.

* Each morning billions of humans send, through a rather complex sewerage system, the products of their toilets to the oceans. And one wonders why the billions of our fellow-animals on our planet do not muck up neither the land nor the oceans?

* The result of having hundreds of thousands of multi-story buildings clustered together during an earthquake, is to have  dead in the hundreds of thousands

No need to go any further. Any honest observer can complete the rest of the list.

– The positive:

* The big hospitals..

* The Universities.

* The Museums

It is rather obvious that the ‘offspring’ of the poiis are at best uncomfortable places to live in. At the worst they become political tools in the hands of the Putins and the Trumps of the world.

Civil War

Here is  what happens in a civil war:

Obviously the people are separated into two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A consists of the extremely rich, the very rich, the rich, the well-off, the Nazis and the crypto-Nazis (a significant percentage in any society), the religious fanatics. most of the ‘professional patriots’, the majority of the military of the country, the psychopaths, and the majority of the criminals. Part B consists of the greater part of the middle class , the poor, a very small part of the military, part of the religious, most of the educated, most of the intellectuals, some criminals and other crooks. At the end of the war naturally there are the Victors and the Defeated. Finally, each of the  A and B Parts happens to be dominant in some of the localities of the country.

The Police Stations

The civil wars begin in the police stations. The policemen who are supporters of the locally dominant Part,A or Part B execute (repeat::execute) the policemen of the opposite Part.A. When the civil war ends.the Victors, pay tribute to their executed professional comrades-in-cruelty, by fixing a plate on the wall with the names of the policemen executed. [In the police station of the Athens neighbourhood I was born in, that plate is of white marble. The same marble of Mount Penteli with which the Parthenon was built..

The neighbourhood killings

Following the killing of the policemen, early in the beginning of the civil war people who had a grudge with neighbours or others harm them or kill them. This lasts as long as the civil war lasts.

Burying the dead

The immediate next problem is the burying of the dead found in the streets.In a civil war most of the dead are civilians from stray bullets or mortar shrapnel (see below).The solution of the problem begins with the burying of the dead in the area around the churches, parks and any public site available.

Forming of enclaves

This is a characteristic of Part A, whch includes the rich and the military. These enclaves can be a town, a village, or even a city-neighbourhood. The paramount factor in forming

such enclaves is the protection offered by the military, who form a heavily armed military cordon that surrounds the enclaves.

Electricity and Water-Supply

Potent tools in the hands of the leaders (that catastrophic group of humans) to help them carry out their cruel acts.


Probably the most potent ”weapon’ in a civil war is food. As expected, the section of the  population that ‘deserves’ to have food first are the soldiers! Naturally, these precious soldiers can use canned food as bait to attract desperate and hungry females, in the way that exceptional human,, Heinz Kissinger, used to do in Germany, his original country. after WWII as a soldier of the US occupation army.


Around the middle of the duration of a civil war, the population comes to the conclusion that their present situation allows them a bit of ‘recreation’. So, they loot big shops of  mostly useful products (e.g.. mobiles and TVs, in our present time) and maybe food, if it is still available. In some cases, after the civil war ends, some big corporations that had been looted try to get back the looted products by having the police check all the houses of people living in an area included in a circle of a radius of one mile from the building that was looted!


Both combattants, A and B, decide that certain buildings in their cities and towns should be demolished, for reasons difficult to explain. Thus the use of dynamite is a useful product in a civil war.

Mortars and Mines

In a city or a town the use of artillery during a civil war is a bit…cumbersome. Thus the always inventive human mind invented the … mortar. In one of the most important dictionaries  in the history of the world; “A Dictionary of the English Language”, compiled in AD 1757 (!) by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), an Englishman, a ‘strange’ intellectual,. we read: ” MORTAR... A fhort wide cannon out of  which bombs are thhrown” (‘f’ stands for an ‘s’, at that time). Almost three centuries later in the British “Cambridge Dictionary of English”, published in 1995, we read: “Mortar... a large gun with a short wide BARREL which fires bombs and othwr explosive weapons at low speed over short distances and very hgh into the air… ”  Also the entry offers the following explanatory examples: *More than 100 mortars hit the village during the night damaging a church and other buildings.” “Terrorists have mounted three mortar attacks on the police station over the past year.” 

[Sad Note: Why this very day, a Sunday of March 8, AD  2022, some people in the Burma of George Orwell or in the Ukraine of Putin use mortars to kill helpless humans? Answer: To blame are the humans themselves!  They are the ones who allow the Putins, the Trumps and the Adolfs of the world, that is their Leaders, through their votes to do that. End of Note] 


Mines are put around the enclaves to protect the precious population in them, the rich et al, against a possible attack by tanks. The last time I saw a mine was 78 years ago, in Athens,Greece. It was a German Nazi mine, named Teller-mine.Teller in German means (soup-) plate!

The foreign intervention

If the country suffering the civil war is a small and weak country, there is always the possibility that a foreign rich and powerful country will decide who will be the Victor in the war. In esense it will be the Trunpian leader of the foreign country who will decide who will be the Victor. Naturally, such a relationship between the Victor and the foreign leader is considered traitorous. Who cares!

Nearing towards the end of the civil war

The inevitable route to end the war is the total lack of food for the entire population, A and B. This happens around 30 to 40 days after the beginning of the civil war.

The end

Finally the end of the civil war arrives, there is a powerful government by the Victors, which is obliged to do something and fastly, to avoid mass-starvation of the population. The solution: To all the squares of the cities and the villages of the country, magically, appear barrels filled with a broth of cereal grains or other folksy stuff that does the trick.

The (useful) display

The Victors, mostly the A -section of any population, have to prove how bad the Defeated, usually the B -section of any population, are. Again, in a magical way, this time in parks or  other open spaces, appear dozens of corpses, positioned in rows, most of which are mutilated, for example women with their breasts cut, which proves that the Defeated are…bad people.

The aftermath

The years that follow a civil war sometimes are worse than the civil war per se. The grudge, the cruelty, and the violence continue, this time in secret, for almost  a generation.

[Final Note: Do the Ukrainians and the Russians belong to the same tree? If so, then Putin’s war is a civil war.]

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