I love Blogging, always have, and hopefully will continue to do so, and I talk about a lot of stuff, mostly personally based, and make up stories because that is my pleasure, but very recently as events have unfolded in Gaza and Ukraine, I have asked myself if trilling on about sandwiches or the extraordinary behaviour of some bank clerk is a proper use of my imagination.
Because I am who I am, I tend to research topics with an almost unhealthy thoroughness, and try and get behind the key characters involved. We remember don’t we, in a sense, what the movement was like towards the beginning of the First World War, and how the character of those in positions of power was regarded as significant. How the Kaiser strutted and British King, largely powerless within his own country, raised his eyebrows at the uncouth behaviour of his cousin. How the Russian Czar fell under the influence of possibly malignant individuals and the Austrian Emperor struggled to retain his threatened Empire, but the causes of that war run much deeper as we know.
There was a growling of political and social tectonic plates as powerful forces for change affected the landscape, and these figures in power had an influence, certainly, but there was a larger story of which they were not so aware, lost as they were in the vanities of their own situation.
Today as leaders of countries intimately involved in the troubled world I see around me, posture and make guarded speeches about what other parties and countries should be doing, while largely retaining a distance of approach so as to “not raise the international temperature” I nod sadly as the sound of those tectonic plates growls ever louder.
“Love is the answer, and you know that for sure” John Lennon sang in the sixties, but it is a lesson which we forget or continue to ignore, as hundreds of deaths in Gaza demonstrate. At the same time firing large numbers of rockets into Israel without effect , Thank God, does nothing but undermine the Palestinian case which would be made more powerful if some Ghandi like figure appeared to emphasise the humanitarian tragedy we see in the middle east.
The fight in Ukraine may be depicted as caused by the wounded pride of Putin, whose nose was put out by the drift of that country towards Europe, considered by him as the last straw, and further evidence of the European Union and the United States interfering in the Russian sphere of influence. but also has deeper causes found in the changing social and political landscape of his own and the surrounding countries.
In both cases it is the families grieving lost loved ones and the sense of personal and private loss and bewilderment in the face of such events, which distress me most. Long after these current events fade from the news to be replaced by a gripping story about the personal conduct of someone in power, families will continue mourning, and live with the loss of people without national power but who were central to their own precious lives. Unless their grief gives us pause for thought, new and more horrific events may dwarf the horrors from which I am recoiling.
All in all, the ‘key’ figures may or may not have an influence on events and, for various reasons rooted in national and strategic interests, numbers of them have been surprisingly silent on both issues, but in terms of religions and national identities there is a level of conflict, endurance and hatred in the world today which would have shocked John Lennon if he were still alive.
I will not write of this again, but I told myself, I cannot have a pen and a Blog and say nothing and still respect myself. Normal service will be resumed in my next post.