Saturday, 20 August 2016


Yesterday's photograph on the front of The Times  was of the five year old boy who had been injured in a raid on the city of Aleppo and he was sitting in the back of am ambulance on his way to hospital.   During his short life he will have known nothing but war.  It was a shocking photograph.

A few months ago another shocking photograph was of a Syrian father emerging from the sea carrying the dead body of his small son.

Yes - as the years go on so wars are brought nearer and nearer - into our living rooms with constant television coverage, on to the front pages of newspapers.   All designed to shock.    But do they, or have we become impervious to it all?

Yesterday a friend and I were talking about this and we decided that really nothing has changed.   Throughout our lives there has been killing on a massive scale in various places in the world - and all for what?

Now I read that in the 'battle' for the Labour leadership the two main contestants have argued on whether or not Isis should be invited to peace talks round a table.

I am reminded of the Winston Churchill saying that 'Jaw, jaw, jaw, is better than war, war, war' and my personal view is that any talking is better than no talking at all, regardless of one's views on what is happening in that part of the world.

I would be interested to hear what you think.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

I agree with the idea of talking to the enemy - however brutal they might appear. Ask them what they want. Talk about limiting civilian casualties. In the end, all military conflicts end with talk, treaties... the end game. However, Islamic State is probably a very different kind of enemy than those we have known before.

Rachel said...

What needs to be achieved first is a vision of what the Middle East at peace is. A bit vague but I am sure someone here will know what I mean and be able to put it into words for me.

Derek Faulkner said...

Tony Blair should be able to help, hasn't he made a fortune as a Middle East Peace Envoy.
On the jaw, jaw, side,I seem to recall Neville Chamberlain going out to Germany in 1938 and having a chat with Hitler, even coming back waving the Munich Agreement - didn't last long did it.

Mac n' Janet said...

Churchill may have said that, but as he found out talking to Hitler did no good. You can't reason with madmen.

Librarian said...

A very difficult subject and so complex I don't feel I can contribute in a constructive way. As for the pictures of dead or injured children - they are shocking, yes, but what they do with most people is that people don't want to watch the news anymore. Time and time again I have read comments on blogland along the lines "I have banned all TV news from my home" (not me, just citing other bloggers).
Also, I detest the voyeuristic streak in many people such shocking pictures tend to cater to.
The effect the pictures have on me is that they leave me with a feeling of utter helplessness on the one hand - and deep gratitude on the other, because I was allowed to have a wonderful childhood and am now living in a (mostly) peaceful and very affluent country, having all the freedom I want.

donna baker said...

I don't think ISIL can be reasoned with. It is shocking and I understand why the Syrians are leaving their homeland en masse. Why can't the arab nations put aside their religious differences and intervene? Putin isn't helping, but then I guess no one is. It looks like Lebanon did many years ago. I wish they wouldn't publish those pictures as I can't unsee them.

Joanne Noragon said...

Roosevelt's four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear---when IS demonstrates those exist, they can ask to approach. But, wait--if those existed now in the territory the have taken, a father would not be lifting his dead child from the sea.

Sue said...

Sad to think that this bewildered, innocent little boy will probably grow up in an environment where it becomes the norm to fight and kill.

Heather said...

It is regrettable that our only means of combating violence, is with more violence. It was ever thus and we haven't found a better solution. I agree that talking is better than fighting but how do you get such fanatics to talk peace? Can they be trusted? They are killing their own people and seem to have no respect for the lives of others.
That poor little boy seemed so calm - obviously in deep shock. I can't stop thinking about him and hoping he finds comfort and solace. At least him family were rescued too.

Gwil W said...

Too much money to be made from war to worry about collateral damage. Everybody should read Major General Smedley-Butler on the reasons for war. It is titled War is a Racket and prints to 20 pages of A4.

Tom Stephenson said...

Yes, Weave - that picture of the poor little boy could well be a game-changer. About time. We finally talked to the IRA, because to not do so would have perpetuated the horrible circumstances. ISIS are about 10 times worse than them, but we still have to talk - especially while the Russians are involved with Syria. Long spoons will be needed.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Most wars are fought over territory, economic gain etc etc. Ergo there is rational reason for them, ergo there can be a rational discussion.

Increasingly now we have these ideological wars; religious based like IS, or crazed dreams like Hitler. These can't be negotiated with.

Owen Smith was trying to appeal to the hard left peacenik faction of the Labour party, and frankly made himself sound a bit silly.

Fairtrader said...

Well Weaver, Its all based on our urge to become someone to remember. If we are entitled to some power and esteem its almost always too little of it, we always want more. The sharing nature of human beings is destroyed by that strong urge. Power and money Jesus warned us about. Its the lurking darkness that lies within us, telling us that we have to become, must become and deserves to become remembered and get more than our share. Be seen, heard, loved, respected or feared. If that is our goal, sacrifices must be made. Those two boys in the pictures, heartbreaking and horrible, or the unbearable masses of tortured and starving people behind barbed wire. One dead child is one too many.

Yes, if only we could start talking Pat, looking into each others eyes and stop fearing eachother, then we could start healing our souls and what is left of the planet. But we must start with the neighbour or collegue we detest and go miles to avoid, otherwise we will never overcome that urge. Ideological wars, religious wars or plain wars about assets and borders, who spoils my view of the ocean...We need to talk and listen, make bonds, create treaties and relations. Start small, aim high, pray for wisdom and hope. There I go again, preaching!! Sorry.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I think everyone should sit down to a bowl of ice cream and a chat and find out how much alike we all are - rather than our differences.

Cro Magnon said...

The problem is that ISIS wouldn't talk to Jeremy. Why would they? They are on a mission to conquer the world, and unless stopped they will continue.

If anyone knew the address of where to send the invitation, it would be bombed.

Gwil W said...

The perpetual war is a scenario the arms industry and its financiers and shareholders and the owners and backers of spin-off industries and financiers could once only dream about. When Syria is resolved another war will pop up to replace it. Watch this space. Whatever the excuse, war will find a way.

A Heron's View said...

There was a time when a Druid would walk onto a battle field hold up their hand and all fighting would stop, the injured would be tended, the dead given honour according to customs and talks would take place.

Sadly this no longer happens.

Today's wars are generally all about power over, profit for the arms dealers and all the while the United Nations looks on.

Sometimes I wonder perhaps cruelly as to whether, these wars are not connived as a means to reduce the worlds ever growing population. That thought is perhaps too vicious for most people to condone and yet .......

Elizabeth said...

Not sure that one can reason with ISIS since they seem to be a death cult.

The situation in Syria is horribly sad.
Had Geirge Bush not destabilized the middle east things might not be as awful as they are.
And the US could stop supplying weapons left and right.
Just feel very sad.

Hope you are feeling better

Rachel said...

They have said this morning that every non-Muslim will be destroyed.

The Middle East, Turkey, Russia, Israel, Saudi and more, are in disarray and before any kind of peace talks can ever be considered everybody needs to be singing from the same hymn sheet. This happening is about as far away as the defeat of ISIS.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Maybe we should ask the little boy; he may have more sense than some of the grown-ups.

Frances said...

Earlier this Sunday morning, I heard news that the five year old Syrian boy's older brother had died.

I also heard more coverage of misbehaving, lying U.S Olympic swimmers.

I saw videos of raging fires in California and floods in Louisiana.

What I have just been typing somehow reminds me of an old Bob Dylan tune, Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.

In my own immediate family is a bully with all sorts of negative influence on the rest of the family. After decades of trying to communicate with him, I now find it better for my own health to adopt an estrangement. My mother says that she wishes I loved her as much as I hate him. She also has not heard what I have tried to communicate.

Weaver, I really do try cherish what is good in our world, but it surely can be difficult. xo

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for these contributions - we seem to be largely in agreement but also see no end in sight - all to depressing for words really.
But thanks for joining in.