A community of Chimpanzees was living peacefully in the rainforest. Not very far away, a community of Bonobos also lived in peace. They had lived without tension for a long time. But one day, some of the Bonobos felt that the Chimps were encroaching on their territory, taking over independent colonies of Bonobos. This made the Bonobo community very angry, and they formed a confederacy, which intended to liberate their kind from the perceived actions of the Chimps.
The Chimps, in their turn, couldn't understand what had angered the Bonobos so. True, they had been taking some extra territory for themselves, but they didn't mean to do anything bad to the Bonobos. And now their neighbors had taken self-authority into their own hands and attacked their union. But most of the Chimps couldn't think of any good alternative, and reluctantly, they went to war against the Bonobos.
The war stretched on for months. Thousands died on both sides. Both sides had their heroes, as well. But in trying to claim or liberate territory from their enemies, both sides were also bringing death and destruction to their fellow animals. The Gorillas were losing their homes. The Snakes and the Frogs were trodden on by the combatants constantly. The Parrots were screaming curses at the Apes for shredding their trees and destroying their nests, killing many of their babies in the process. And countless other beasts, birds, and reptiles suffered daily under the battles of the two different kinds of Apes.
Then, six months into the war, two female Chimps observed the war from a safe distance with great sadness. One was a little older than the other. The Older Chimp said sadly, "This endless war sees us destroy so much, and all in the name of our beloved Chimpanzee union!"
The Younger Chimp said, "I don't like it either, but we have to do what we must, if there is to be any sort of happy ending to this terrible conflict. I still have you, friend, but I lost some of my other friends earlier in the war, and it was my fault that they died. I couldn't save them, for fear of my own life. Now they're gone."
The Older Chimp said, "No, this whole thing is our fault. Every Chimp and every Bonobo bears the responsibility of the destruction of the rainforests, as well as the resentment of all our neighbors. We brought the war here, and we destroyed everything."
"I'm not sure how many other people are aware of this truth," said the Younger Chimp, "I think we need to make a statement of some kind. We need to stand up for peace."
"Yes, I think we should," said the Older Chimp, looking very thoughtful, "I'm going to try something in the near future. How about you, friend?"
"I think I will, too," said her friend.
"Well, good luck to you," said the Older Chimp.
"Same to you," said the Younger Chimp.
The next day, at a meeting between some Chimpanzees and Bonobos on the course of the war, a Leopard suddenly appeared and began to tear apart many of the Chimps and Bonobos with an amazing rage. He had finished off most of them when a few surviving Chimps used some clever tools to beat down the Leopard. Then the survivors demanded to know why a fellow animal would attack a peace conference.
The Leopard said, "A female Chimpanzee whose friend calls her 'Older Chimp' ordered me to attack this meeting. I was simply following orders."
"Why would a Chimp want to sabotage the war effort, let alone a private conference?" asked the Chimp General.
"She wouldn't tell me those details," said the Leopard, "But I can give you a full description of her."
"Take us to her!" demanded the General.
Shortly afterward, they met the female Older Chimp meditating in her private clearing. "Halt!" said the General as his troops apprehended her roughly. They met some resistance, but they subdued her in the end. Her friend, the female Younger Chimp, stepped into the clearing just then, and was surprised to see her friend being arrested.
"What happened here, friend?" she asked the Older Chimp.
"Madam," said the General, "I'm sorry, but your friend is being arrested for sending a Leopard assassin to disrupt a peace conference and killing many of our number and that of our opponents, the Bonobos."
"The peace conference?" asked Younger Chimp, "That's just where I was headed. I wanted to say something-"
"And so did I," interrupted Older Chimp, "It's appalling how we Chimps have so fallen from grace. We've become an army fighting for evil, killing our neighbors, the Bonobos, and destroying so many innocent animals' homes in the process! We should all be put on trial for this! And my attack via the Leopard assassin was an attack against what we've become. We're all failing as a community!"
The Chimp General squinted at Older Chimp. "But don't you realize, o hypocrite, that by sending a wild killer to kill some of my fellow Chimps as well as many Bonobos who were hoping to reach a peace agreement, you are yourself complicit in fighting for evil and darkness? You ruined a pretty good chance to resolve this war. You are not the only Chimp who's disgusted by all this gratuitous violence and resentment from our innocent neighbors."
Younger Chimp looked like she was both sad and disappointed in her friend. "Exactly, friend. Don't you remember that I don't like the way this war has gone, either? And like you, I had something to say on this matter regarding the war and the need for the return of peace, but mine does not involve meeting violence with violence; I wanted to make a peaceful statement."
They noticed just then that many animals of the forest had quietly come forth from out of the trees, Chimps, disgruntled neighbors, even some Bonobos that hesitated to attack at that moment. "We all heard what was said regarding the female Older Chimp," said a Gorilla, "Now we want to hear how different her friend's statement is, because we need to do something to stop this conflict."
Glad for the opportunity, Younger Chimp started to speak. "My old former friend is right. The two factions fighting this war against each other are going down a dark path by causing all this death and destruction. And do you know why? Because it was never necessary for either side to declare war in the first place. This could have been solved peacefully in the beginning. This is not a justified war. If it was, then I'd put all my effort into supporting the war effort and hope for victory on my side. But it is not a justified war. Why can't we all just get along when there's no need to oppose each other violently? And as an advocate of peace here, I intend to abstain from taking any part, official or unofficial, in this war, and I invite anyone and everyone who agrees with me to join me in this act of pacifism."
The Bonobos and the Chimps looked at each other. They looked around them at the other animals. Then they looked at each other again. At last, they started to walk toward each other, and laying down their weapons, the Bonobos and Chimps started to show signs of affection and apology toward each other. The Chimp General said, "As soon as word of this gets to the rest of our peoples, this foolish war will be officially over. We've had enough of this senseless killing, too."
The Chimps and the Bonobos cheered. "Now, give the female Younger Chimp a handsome reward for her pure actions in protesting and ending this war," said the General to his men, "But as for that female Older Chimp and her Leopard assassin, take them to the lake and drown them, for there is no room for hypocrisy when the fate of many lives is at stake."
The protesting Leopard and the blubbering Older Chimp were led away to be executed in the lake. But the Younger Chimp, who looked sad to lose her friend but happy to have done a good deed, was given a necklace of beautiful blue-and-pink flowers, and was put on a pedestal, and the Council of Chimpanzees decreed that when she was old enough and mature enough to lead, she would be the new matriarch of the Chimpanzee community. The Bonobos also had praise and kind words for her, and one young male Bonobo who also despised the war even offered to be her new best friend. Younger Chimp gladly accepted.
If gratuitous violence or war troubles your community, protest the war with its stronger opponent, peace, rather than with another show of violence. In other words, fight fire with water, not more fire.