All That’s Lit To Print

In Regard to the Chemist

By Benjy Jude, Creative Content Manager

The duality of man is in the impurity of values.

Take Fritz Haber, who dared play God. At the turn of the century, he saved half of Europe. At sundown, the night before a great famine and food shortage across the formidable continent, he plucked Nitrogen out of the air and answered the farmers's prayers. He used the scientific method to use the divine resources to save a continent and a world.

Aside from the environmental issues that stand tall today, he should be heralded. He should be known the world over. His name should be on the sides of educational facilities, governmental agencies, agricultural employers. But it isn't.

Because he is the reason we saw Syria's name in the news in April. He's the reason the reason Nick Ut's name is known across photojournalism and to anyone who pays attention to History. Yes, because of him, our vegetables are bigger and our fruits are sweeter. Yet, because of him, my family is smaller and modern history is bitter.

He is a chemist, renowned for his work getting Nitrogen in the soil and getting Fluorine in the air. He is the father of modern chemical warfare. He dared play God again and put Fluorine in gaseous form. He dared play God and caused the killings of sons and brothers in the name of country. He laid the groundwork for the development of Zyklon B, the chemical that made millions question who God even was.

I will admit, his name is on one institution: the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, the lab that developed the Hitler's chemical arsenal. His name stands with numerous Nobel laureates, he himself one, awarded the same year as Max Planck.

Yet why does this one institute want his name looming over its head? He hosts two legacies, and yet the first is inseparable in the right eyes of history from the second. The life of half a continent cannot shake off the death of its brothers. The nitrogen in the soil cannot be unbounded to the fluorine that should have never entered the air.

And so I implore, know he should be venerated and vilified. Know whom he saved and killed, what he left behind and what he stopped in his tracks. Know his story and know this is not it. Know he loved his country and know that's no fault. . Know he knew more than many knew of him. Know he is but one example in the pantheon of invaluable lessons on the perceived corruption of one's values. Know he knew his values. Know his name.

And value that knowledge.

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