So some old guy was killed (or assassinated if you choose) in the Middle east this morning. To me, that’s not exactly important news, and I doubt very much it is for anyone else that reads this … but …
Ever looked at the sun, or the moon, when someone you care for is away from you, and thought to yourself that they too can see the same thing if they looked up right now, so they can’t be that far away and then suddenly the vastness of the world, and their distance from you seems that little bit easier to handle ? I was thinking today that all those people who were protesting could see the same sun as me if they looked up, so they were not that far way… yet our lives are so different – not just in terms of culture, but in terms of war, death, religion, ideology and the ferocity of each view.
Europe has had two ‘world’ wars, and in comparison to casualties, and forces involved, this scrap in the Middle East is pretty damn small. But the WW was fought over territory, and territory alone. Sure, in the second one there was the vision of an Aryan race, but fundamentally, it came down to a desire to conquer and control. I could well be wrong, but the Middle Eastern (ME) stuff seems to come down to a fervent desire not just to conquer, but to utterly destroy every trace of the opposition. What can it be like to live every day with such a passion running through the people there ? Part of me sees those news pictures and thinks that many people are simply being swept up in the fervour, many of those people will join in because it is expected of them and they really have no choice, but also that many of those people really do believe in their faith to the point that they will kill, and be killed. And this is happening on both sides.
This isn’t just about a territory that was declared some 50 years ago. Maybe it was to start with, but it’s not now. The hatred runs too deep. From my poor knowledge of the NI Troubles, what started as a movement against the Catholics became a movement against the British army, then all things British etc etc (apologies for the abbreviation) but, when all said and done, although there were faith issues, and although there were a large numbers of deaths, the passion that is being displayed in the ME was never quite there in the general populace (not a criticism, an observation). The Troubles also didn’t have the superpowers involved (unless you count Jimmy Carter’s visit- or was it Reagen ?).
It is so complex in the ME, and so many different parties are involved – from the small sects within the people there to the US / UK / france / Russia – that can it ever really end ? Ever ?
And what must it be like to have to live in such an environment day after day ?
Do they become almost blase about things like “Will a sniper get me today ?”
Do they ever even consider the possibility of negotiating some sort of real peace ?
Do they realise that they will never even see peace ?
Do they demonise their enemy to the point of complete depersonalisation ?
Do they dream of happy futures ? Is that what keeps some of them going ?
It must be a very strange place to live …… but then if that is all they have known, it won’t be.