Top 15 Most Emotionally Compelling Moments in Fullmetal Alchemist
Day 3: Young Alex Armstrong coming to grips with the reality of the Ishvalan massacre
Of all the character flashbacks involving the Ishvalan Massacre, young Armstrong coming to grips with the reality of the war is the most emotionally compelling to me because unlike Roy, Riza, or even Hughes, he is incapable of suspending moral judgment and is probably the only one who sees the war for what it truly is - a massacre. Not saying that Roy and the others are all blind to what is happening around them or that they themselves do not question the moral validity of the military, but in essence, Roy, Riza, and Hughes recognize the truth about war. When you’re on the battlefield, you cannot afford to be compassionate or to be morally judgmental of what is right or wrong. To be kind is to be cruel and Armstrong had to learn it the hard way.
I think Armstrong had the hardest time coming to grips with the truth of being part of a massacre because he stood on the other side of a wall, a wall he created with his two hands, forced to listen to the voices of hundreds of children and women and men, not armed soldiers with the incentive of attacking him, not dangerous enemies with weapons threatening to kill him, but innocent civilians, crying, pleading, and praying to God for help before they are mercilessly mown down by the very people he pledged loyalty to. And when he tries to resist against the very people he pledged loyalty to and help that Ishvalan couple escape, the hands and teeth of reality beats him back into submission. How cruel is it then for a man to be so psychologically jarred by his experiences in the war that he breaks down and cries, only to be looked down as weak and foolish by his superiors and forced to return to a society he opposes but is still very much an integral part of?
Yet, it does take a brave and truly good man to walk onto the battlefield and try where others have not, or have long cast aside, to resist the hypocrisies of war and uphold what’s right and defy what’s wrong. And again, it takes a brave and truly good man to walk out of the battlefield carrying the weight of a heavy heart and the lives of hundred of innocent people on your shoulders, but rather than succumbing to those shames, to walk boldly through them towards the direction of change.