Saturday, 22 July 2006

We are all one another

I am not a political animal and this is certainly not an analysis of the world political situation. I can no longer keep up with thrice daily or sometimes not even the daily news updates, but I am aware and I do care.

So I sometimes feel that we are in the midst of WW3, although I would not want to commit as to how long I feel we - the world - has been in WW3. I think that the reason our politicians, and your's, don't have to admit that WW3 is in progress (progress!) is that we do not suffer, as others do in many other parts of the world, in our homes, neighbourhoods, towns and villages. The bombs don't reach our street.

(POSTSCRIPT a few hours later: I only see my own errors post-posting. I was thinking about families and homes being bombed by invaders, but the distinctions and boundaries blur, so sincere apologies for my apparent ignorance, to those affected in cities; London, Manchester.)

So long as we are not invaded on our little island, in our country, on our continent, our elected leaders (those we may not have voted for) can continue to righteously and deludedly refer to the misery and death inflicted, or colluded in, in our name by our leaders, and our leaders' friends, as 'a war on terror', rather than have to state our participation in a world war. The legal requirements for a declaration of war protect this very comfortable status.

Thirty years ago I took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and smiled into the camera with the famous Twin Towers behind me, so I felt connected and devastated; prayed (whatever prayer is) and tried to understand. To understand the agony and destruction and the impetus behind the destruction.

Whether they are the victims or the aggressors; whatever their colour, culture, religion or cause, they are my fellows; my fellow sisters, daughters, mothers; my fellow brothers, fathers and sons.

I know this because their country wo/men, their cousins, are my doctors, my teachers, my care assistants, shop assistants, my entertainers, poets, artists, musicians, newscasters and political analysts. We may even be distantly related, given our ancestors' global trading and invading.

We are all one another.


Blogger Lily said...

When my children were small and the world seemed on the brink of nuclear war, I was afraid and emboldened on their behalf. I joined a local Greenham Common support group and did weekend reliefs for the women at the permanent peace camps outside the base; I took part in the local May Day parade on a CND float; I got arrested at Menwith Hill protesting about the US spying on our airwaves. It all seems like a very long time ago (well it was the eighties!). These days I am saddened by the endless footage of bombed cities and casualties but no longer feel the passion to do something about it. Why? Are there too many tragedies out there, have I developed compassion fatigue? It just feels that the days of effective public protest (Vietnam, Greenham, etc.) are over and that governments will keep on warmongering regardless until we blow ourselves off the planet completely.

Sunday, 23 July 2006 at 21:59:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Hope, now I have the opportunity of personally thanking one of those women who, in the 80s, actually DID something. Thank you on behalf of myself and any other of the thousands of women who watched you on the television news, and thought; I ought to be doing something too.
Each next generation I am sure feels the passion, but the politics now seem more complex, the solutions too enormous to be contemplated as feasible.
Then we (you !) had police and authorities acting physically against protest, now it seems the water cannons and handcuffs have become endless streams of bureacracy and words that seem to be promising one thing and denying the facts of another.
On compassion fatigue - I try to tell myself that awareness counts in the greater scheme of things.

Monday, 24 July 2006 at 12:08:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

I suppose the lack of activity is due to the growing complexity of political issues, especially in the middle east. I just wouldn't know at the moment which of the protest marches I should join. In the eighties it was against atomic bombs in general, for example ,and it was easy to tell, who are "the good ones" and who are the "bad ones". I do feel sorry for the people in the Libanon as well as in Israel. But at the moment this is as far as I get. The behaviour of the Hisbollah is totally inacceptable, but on the other hand I do not understand the Israelian politics either. They are not the only ones having a right to be there, but for whatever reason behave like it. I just hope that diplomacy ones in a lifetime will be good for something.

Monday, 24 July 2006 at 14:45:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Bloggingmone, I agree, and I cannot begin to have a view on whether one side or any of the others are right or wrong to a greater or lesser degree. Also, as I get older, cynicism is so often my initial reaction - in this current situation I feel the world's diplomats have waited for a situation to develop a little more before becoming involved, as it may serve their own cause to do so.
But I cannot justify my own opinion, just examine it a bit more.
Also, thinking more about my post, which now to me seems one-sided. I have relatives who serve in the armed forces, and the police, and I appreciate the difficult work they do on my behalf. It is the politicians who make the war, not those who carry out the needs of war, that I despair of.

Monday, 24 July 2006 at 22:30:00 BST  
Blogger Margaret said...

I was watching a group of international journalists discussing the current Middle East conflict on News 24 (Dateline London) at the weekend. One was Simon Jenkins, who said that he'd always thought that dropping bombs is a cowardly way to wage war. If you're going to fight, he said, go and do it hand to hand, like a brave man.

I don't feel we're in the middle of WW3, but it's depressing to think that there is always a war going on somewhere in the world - over territory, religion, or whatever - and that it's been this way for decades. It's not WW3, it's multi-warfare. As for the current situation - the Israelis are completely out of order. Their right-wing leaders regard criticism as 'anti-semetism', which is arrogant nonsense. Their behaviour won't stop Hezbollah - it will increase its support. It's all stupid, stupid, stupid!

Tuesday, 25 July 2006 at 00:39:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Hi Margaret - I think your description "multi-warfare" is accurate and describes these decades well, and leaves scope for that dread announcement of WW3 for the next wave that will engulf us all if we get it wrong, terribly wrong in the here and now.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006 at 09:45:00 BST  
Blogger Sage said...

"We are all one another."

If only Bush could see it that way. (And Harper, and Blair....)

Tuesday, 25 July 2006 at 20:40:00 BST  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

You are blind like us. Your hurt no man designed,
And no man claimed the conquest of your land.
But gropers both through fields of thought confined
We stumble and we do not understand.
You, only saw your future bigly planned.
And we, the tapering paths of our own mind,
And in each other's dearest ways we stand,
And hiss and hate. And the blind fight the blind.

When it is peace, then we may view again
With new-won eyes each other's truer form
And wonder. Grown more loving-kind and war,
We'll grasp firm hands and laugh at the old pain,
When it is peace. But until peace, the storm
The darkness and the thunder and the rain.

-To Germany, by Charles Hamilton Sorley. CHS never saw the peace - he was killed in 1915.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006 at 08:45:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thank you, thank you, Charles.
We are no further forward than when my great uncle died in France in 1918. I have scanned onto my laptop the tiny sepia photograph of him in battle dress, and am able to look into his almost life size face and remember. Your quoted poem have become his words, when his presence reminds me that we have a duty; to their past sacrifice, as well as to future generations, to be aware, and to act where we can. The thunder in the distance may become our local storm.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006 at 10:04:00 BST  
Blogger marmiteboy said...


This is something that has made me very angry recently. I have every sympathy for those families in Manchester, London, New York, Washihgton, Tel Aviv, Beriut, Baghdad etc who have been killed or injured. That goes with out saying.

What angers me is the self righteousness in which our 'leaders' indulge.

During WW2 there were occupying forces in France, Holland, Norway etc. There were people who tried to remove those forces by many means, some of which were distinctly unpleasent and violent. Vichy France was a target of some of these people. They were called The Marqui or 'Resistance'...

However, if we (and I use the term loosely here) occupy a country and a group of people try to oust us then they are 'Terrorists' and 'Insurgents'.

In the current appalling situation in the Middle East it is both sides that are causing the conflict. One side fly bombing raids into civillian areas and cause indiscriminate damage and yet are shocked when the other side dare to respond by rocketing them back. Of course both acts of unwanton violence should be condemed.

However our 'leaders' seem to be unable to criticse this for want of upsetting what they see as an ally. If a western city were being bombed (unless of course we were doing it) Bush and Blair would be in uproar.

All war is appalling and I wish it would stop but I wish the double standards would too.

Rant over.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006 at 13:52:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thanks Marmite, ranting is good.
I missed last night's C4 News but I've heard the news comment was that America 'agreed'(allegedly) to give the Israelies 10 days to do as they wished before stepping calling for a cease fire and negotiation. I try and resist quoting news items, wanting only to stay with general themes, but that report is similar to my original view.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006 at 21:15:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

I think that a lot of wars and terrorism could be prevented if there was a strict separation of politics and religion. It is possible to critizise politcs, but to critizise religion is like entering a mine field. Whoever is saying somthing against the Israelian politics will be accused of being anti-Jewish (that's why you will never hear an open word of critsism from Germany!), a lot of muslim states openly declare that their religious rules are at the same time the legislation of their countries and have clergymen ruling it, and even western states started referring to their "christian values" they feel endangered. A lot of problems would be solved if anyone could agree to regard religion a private matter and politics a public one.

Thursday, 27 July 2006 at 13:06:00 BST  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

The trouble is, Bloggingmone, that Jews cannot afford to separate their private religion from their public or state lives.

We have never had pogroms in Britain, but Jews were expelled and then banned from this country for hundreds of years, and there was very ugly antisemitism between the two World Wars (anyone heard of Sir Oswald Moseley). The French are still trying to achieve closure over the Dreyfus case of the 19th century. Both Communist and pre-Revolutionary Russian Jews went in fear of their lives. Spanish Jews can remember the Inquisition.

I can see why the Israelis are so aggressive now. I only wish they could see how much damage they are doing to their own cause.

Thursday, 27 July 2006 at 14:03:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

I know that my comment was more or less wishful thinking and that due to history it isn't easy to keep religious issues out of political debates, especially not in Israel.
It is just that growing religious stubbornness and the decline of tolerance that makes me worrying. Countries like the Iran and Egypt used to be more tolerant in the past than they are today. And everyone is claiming the ultimate wisdom for himself. I have been watching a programme last night about Kairo. Tourists have a growing fear of going to Egypt, because there have been terrorists bombings lately. So the reporter asked someone, if the decreasing number of tourists would kill jobs and what they do for security. The stunning answer was that he thought dead tourists from western countries were not a great loss, because they are not Muslims and their way of life was sinful anyway. Even though I still do believe that his oppinion is that of a minority, despite of having had ten people standing around him and nodding in approval, I think this is a dangerous seed, which planted into the wrong brains can easily cause a catastrophy. On the other hand this comment may also rise wrong ideas in western brains, so broadcasting it in the first place, wasn't a good idea either.

Friday, 28 July 2006 at 10:05:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Whether they are the victims or the aggressors, whatever their colour, culture, religion or cause - we are all one another.

Saturday, 29 July 2006 at 22:42:00 BST  

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