Monday 19 November 2012

When will there be peace?

I was going to tell you all about my recent experiences at the pub, but they seem very trivial in the light of the troubles going on around the world at the moment.  Perhaps apart from Thursday, which was the day of the funeral of the previous Landlord.  Death and cancer are cropping up their heads far too often at the moment.    We don't really know how to speak of death and dying in our culture.  We don't know how to grieve, how to process.   There is too much silence, I think.  We want to try to keep it tidy and reserved.  After a few weeks, we expect people, or ourselves, to pull it together.  Because people stop asking how the 'left' ones are doing.  Recent deaths of loved ones of regulars at the pub have meant that there are more  conversations about it.  Last night one man admitted it took ten years to 'get over' the death of his partner.  There have been tears and hugs and when alcohol is added it does get a bit messy and bit more honest.  Which perhaps isn't a bad thing.  I don't know.

But death will happen to us all.  It is a part of life, so to speak.  I suppose it rarely seems 'timely' - a lot of people don't die in their sleep in their nineties having lived a full and satisfying life.  But then again, quite a few do.  Today I'm thinking of places where death must seem very real. The fear of it tangible in the air, tasting like metal on the tongue.  Death untimely, death unnecessary, death caused by others with a cause, yet death unlikely to achieve anything good.  Stupid Stupid fighting and greed and pride and power and revenge.  Struggles that have gone on for decades until they seem 'normal'.  It should never be normal.  And of course it is the vulnerable, the innocent, the 'ordinary' people who will suffer, as the power-hungry play their games as if it were simply a matter of pressing the controls on an x-box.  I'm thinking of the people of Gaza, sitting in their homes with the very real threat that a rocket could come crashing through the roof at any time.   I'm thinking of the people of Goma, as rebel troops approach the city, while the army and UN seem to be able to offer very little protection.  The pawns caught in a game of chess for which the prizes are gold, diamonds, cobalt and coltan.  Paid for in human lives.

Are people not tired of fighting?  Do they not see it achieves nothing?  What will break the cycles of revenge?  Greed will never be satisfied.  Pride is a dangerous dangerous thing.  I'm scared about today, tomorrow.  It seems there are no limits.  I am angry beyond words at the unseen dealers supplying weapons to fuel the fire.  I know the arms trade probably reaches further and deeper into our own economy and nation than I really want to know.  But isn't it time that things are brought to light?  Today I hate violence more than ever.  I hate that war games are so popular.  So normalized.  One games of paintball was enough for me.  I cannot imagine living under that choking cloak of fear day in and day out.  Cannot imagine what it's like for children to grow up in a place where death is an everyday thing, where they cannot remember what it's like to walk a street without fear.  Without being reminded everyday of their vulnerable position in the world, that they are not believed to have as much value as others.

Today my fists clench in anger, and my stomach clenches in frustration, and my soul cries out for peace peace justice and peace.  Not the fake peace that glosses over the gruesome and gory and gut-wrenching stories but peace that sees people as of equal value, that sees life as a gift.  Not justice that results in yet more revenge, but justice that fights for reconciliation and understanding and cooperation.  I don't know if it's possible, but may I not give up praying and hoping and speaking and fighting for a different way.  

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