The Horrors of an Exclusionary Society

As a head of state, there is the responsibility to not only protect the population, but also to care for their morale. The Redeker Plan is at its roots a blatant betrayal of a country’s own population by its government. The Redeker Plan indeed forces governments to choose a small sect of people who have the ability to “preserve the legitimacy and stability of the government” (109), and relocate them to the safest sanctuary possible with the remaining resources they have. Assuming they survive the zombie outbreak, they would rebuild their country from the bare minimum.

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Populations become fewer and fewer as they retreat to their designated ‘safe zones’ by the government. (Image from The Economic Times)

However, this plan completely destroys team morale and nationalistic fervor, as the people who are selected for retreat to safe zones will continually face the guilt of leaving their friends, who are not chosen, to the zombie population. They would also face immense pressure, as their nation has placed the responsibility of rebuilding their society on their shoulders. The Redeker Plan is also very impractical, as seen through the lenses of Admiral Xu Zhicai. Although a country may devote their resources to help one small group survive “until the end of the crisis, or perhaps, the end of the world,” (249) it will always be impossible to account for any mini-outbreaks in the community. Once a zombie appears in the small community, it will eventually infect a certain portion of the community that would necessitate civil conflict. For instance, Captain Chen is eventually forced to attack his own countrymen because of a mini-outbreak in the small island population of Manihi, which left Captain Chen with “hair [that] had lost its color, as white as prewar snow… skin [that] was sallow, [and] eyes sunken.” (252) One single reanimation from within the community may be enough to spell the end of every human in the ‘selected population.’

The case of Paris also sheds light on the civilians who are not ‘chosen for survival’ by the government. Even as “two hundred and fifty thousand refugees” (310) fled to the Catabombs’ “subterranean world,” (310) one single zombie was able to catalyze the death of all refugees who chose to seek sanctuary in the Catacombs and the reanimation of two hundred and fifty thousand more zombies. In the zombie war, the humans who are left behind by their government effectively defects to the ‘other side,’ which welcomes the humans with open arms.

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Civilians who are abandoned by their own governments may choose to defect to the other opposing side of the war. (Image by All-len-All)

The only option as a head of state in a zombie outbreak is to attack the zombies will full force. However, the most effective plan would be to attack “slow and safe, one section at a time, low speed, low intensity, low casualty rate.” (314) Choosing to attack in the first place distinguishes humans, who fight, from zombies, who may be camouflaged amongst the humans retreating to a ‘safe area.’ This offensive plan is also beneficial because the entire population is asked to fight against the zombies in a total war. Why sacrifice the majority of the population for the survival of a small sect when there is the possibility of including all members of the country in a total war effort that increases morale and is also more practical?

Framing the zombie epidemic as a war creates an “us versus them” mentality. Humans do not recognize zombies as fighting for another country, but regard them as an entirely new species that only seek the destruction of the human population. Framing the zombie outbreak as an epidemic allows civilians to place responsibility on the government and its scientists to find a solution to the problem. However, presenting the outbreak as a war rallies the entire population, and the entire world together “under the common flag of survival.” (247)

Sources:

Brooks, Max. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Broadway Books, 2006. Print.

Images:

PTI. Retreating Ice behind Population Explosion in Adelie Penguins? The Economic Times, 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

On This Day August 13 1961 East German Soldiers Start Building the Berlin Wall Comments. All-Len-All, 12 Aug. 2016. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

Total War, Total Epidemic

A nation’s leader usually makes decisions from a utilitarian viewpoint, or a perspective that would bring about the most salient effects for the largest number of people. This utilitarian view can be seen in the Redeker Plan, which chose to salvage as many as possible by sacrificing the others. Using this same line of thinking, I would have voted to go on the offensive in the Honolulu Conference, as it would be saving the lives of as many civilians as possible and sacrificing those who fought. Going on the offensive would also build morale, which had been severely devastated, in several nations. As one fighter says “the voices woke me up; everyone jawing, laughing, telling stories.”  (282). One of the most crucial survival instincts is the belief that one can survive, but with the severe devastation of morale, the thought of survival had not crossed the minds of many, and was purely categorized into “fight or flight,” as one survivor put it.

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Even with going on the offensive, however, “every second of life cannot be devoted to victory.” (272). Total war had never been an idea before the zombie apocalypse because no country could devote all its time and resources to fighting. However, this idea of “two sides trying to push the other past its limit of endurance” which normally defines human warfare, was particularly apt for the zombie war, which could be defined as a total war because there were “no limits.” (273). The sides were constantly changing and never fixed, with one side being able to morph into the other. Because there was no way of negotiating or coming to the terms with zombies, the war was unbounded and consumed all resources and capabilities. The fact that the war was of such great capacity reinforces why it would have been best to go on the offensive in the Honolulu Conference. A war establishes that there are two sides, and that one is clearly against the other. However, by using an epidemic as a metaphor for total war, we see that the one side is completely ravaging the other. We saw this SARS and Ebola in The Hot Zone. The goal when fighting an epidemic is survival, which is the case here. The goal when fighting a war, is to win, which does not always constitute survival. Therefore, an epidemic could serve as a metaphor for the zombie war, but only if it is categorized as a total war and not just a war in which two sides are opposed to each other.