Looking at the television screens I, like millions of others, struggled to understand the latest horror to come out of this troubled land and the resultant five hour ceasefire. But almost immediately afterwards I thought, “Why five hours?” What is the mind-set of the people responsible that they come up with such a figure? What was the instruction that came from the command post?
“Oh Fuck!!! Some more kids got killed. Better have a five hour ceasefire . . . that should sort it”
Five hours. That’s 1 hour 15 minutes of ceasefire for each child’s life. Is that the going rate? I really don’t know but it makes the financial costs of warfare pale into insignificance. And why five hours? Why not 1 hour 34 minutes, or 15 hours 10 minutes, or the more traditional 24/48/72 hours? Is it just that after such a long period of conflict, senses are now so dulled as to remove all morality from human thought?
In no way do I feel qualified to comment on the history and religious politics of this running sore of conflict on our beautiful planet. What I do know however, is that if you look down from Space you cannot see any natural barriers of race, colour, creed or gender that separate us. These have come from the religious and political beliefs of our species, used as a tool to ‘divide and conquer’ the majority for millennia. In the beginning it was brute force that took the power but now, in a modern democracy, we elect these people to continue the divisions that divert our attention from turning on them.
Isn’t it perverse that we elect them to indoctrinate us in beliefs that keep them in power at the cost of ours, and our children’s lives? Left to their own devices people get on well together, learning from each other’s different means of living this thing called Life. Maybe the time is fast approaching when we ‘unelect’ these trouble makers and watch world peace grow across this increasingly joined up Planet.
As I finish this piece I am not ashamed to admit for the first time in eight years of writing there are teardrops on my keyboard. I believe the toughest challenge life can throw at us is the death of children. There is not only the agony of the grief and loss but a sense of guilt that we have unnaturally outlived our own children. My heart goes out to those and the many other parents paying the price of senseless power plays.
It also goes out to those who actually witnessed this barbaric atrocity. For a moment they were watching kids laughing and playing the timeless game of hide and seek, something we have all enjoyed at one stage or another in our lives. Then a mighty explosion and suddenly nothing. I hope and pray they find the wherewithal to deal with the mind numbing trauma they have experienced, both now and in the years that stretch out before them, because it will surely always haunt them.
One last thought on the five hours. Perhaps it was just a favourite number that now demands another child’s life to square everything!