Profit in Peace

There is no profit in peace.  And that is why we are on the verge of going to war once again.

Tomorrow the House of Commons votes on whether we bomb some towns and villages where we are told there is a threat to our way of life.  Yet can we be sure it is not our own previous military intervention  and consistent supply of arms to all sides of Middle East conflicts that has provoked and perpetuated the violence?

Only this weekend our own government lawyers warned that the UK could be prosecuted for war crimes following the sale of arms involved in atrocities in Yemen.  Surely if we are so prepared to facilitate the destruction of innocents in one country we cannot complain when death comes shockingly to our neighbours.

I don’t understand the world out there.  I just know that killing people is only going to breed more hate.  The corporations and governments of the world are not stupid, they know this.  Yet the pull of riches and power are too much and so war must continue.

“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.”  There is no profit in peace.

Ocean Colour Scene, Profit in Peace

 

 

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Wonderful Ukrainians

It is amazing how in the short space of a week it is possible to feel so much love, hope and
affection for people that you have never met before.  I met many great people during this past week at the YMCA Youth Unify camp in Poland and was most deeply moved through the immense privilege of getting to know an amazing group of people from YMCA Ukraine – specifically Kiev, Lutsk, Odessa and Kharkiv.  They really ambushed me with their friendship and encouragement.  I wish to use this blog post for two simple reasons:

  1. To honour their faithfulness to their nation, the YMCA and, most importantly, to God.  They work tirelessly in their home towns sacrificing time, money and man
    y other things to serve young people.  Their hunger to understand and know Christ is inspiring.  Love and humility just pours out of them.
  2. To call you to pray for the nation of Ukraine which remains in the midst of such violence and a heartbreaking war.  This video shows four of the volunteers from YMCA Ukraine sing a haunting prayer for the peace of their nation. You may wish to use the song as a tool to lead you into praying for the peace of Ukraine.

A short comment on the Gaza conflict

I think one thing we have to understand is that it is the politicians that are screwing over the citizens of Palestine and Israel.  Hamas, Israeli government, US, UK, all other silent western governments are ABSOLUTELY HAPPY to see war and destruction so long as they have their own personal gain. I urge you not to take a political side or support a political ideology.

The ONLY way forward is reconciliation between people.

Not on my street

Twice yesterday I was hit by how incredibly comfortable my life is.

The first time was when I watched one of those ‘one second a day’ videos.  This one is different to any I have seen before though.  It shows the devastating impact the encroaching evil of war has on a little girl.  The unique perspective on the whole thing is that the little girl is British and war has come to the streets of Britain.  I think it would have spread like wildfire on social media if it wasn’t for just how terrible the reality is – there are little girls like our daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters, goddaughters, neighbours etc. who are caught up in the brutality of war and, for the vast majority of us, we probably don’t really care because they’re on a different continent and maybe because they have a different colour skin.

The second time was when I turned out the light last night after reading some more of The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer.  I’d just read a section that describes the utter mundane, terrifying, lonely and dehumanising existence of someone living on a mental health ward.  As I lay there in the dark I realised there were thousands of people  all over the country experiencing that terrible existence right now – stigmatised by society, maybe abandoned by family and friends, controlled by medication, institutionalised.  Lying in the dark.  And again, we don’t truly care that much because it is such an unreality to us.  There will be someone living with the terror and hopelessness of mental illness probably within 50metres of where you live, yet we don’t see it, and it passes us by.

The Book Thief

Running Rachael has started a great book club at work.  It’s great to be able to spend an extended lunch time with friends and colleagues* chatting about literature and life and generally relaxing in the middle of a hectic work day.

The latest offering that we have read is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  It really is a good one and before I go further I would thoroughly recommend it.  It is quirky and is written and edited with such innovation that your attention is kept and you remain eager to see how events will unfold.

The setting is intriguing as it portrays life in a regular German town with regular German people but during the surreal experiences of the Second World War.  For me the fascination in this is that in Britain we are so preoccupied with our perspective of the Second World War that we don’t think about what life would have been like in Germany and the book suggests that life was pretty hellish.  It wasn’t just air raids and rationing.  Germans had to deal with a nationalistic political fervour that demanded adherance and dolled out horrific consequences for those who did not make the right choices.

Liesel, the protagonist, is a delightful character who captures your heart from the off and takes you on a childhood journey of growth, survival, loss and love.  The concept of Death as narrator is ingenious and allows for an easy fluidity from story telling to philosophising.  Although tragic from the start the tone is heart warming and generates a real confidence in the potential of humanity in the midst of the absolute worst that our species has to offer.

Out of interest, the film adaption is out in cinemas in the next month or so starring Geoffrey Rush.

*The colleagues referred to are also  friends, I’m not suggesting some are friends and some are colleagues!

Veterans trump Aids victims

It was in the news today that Graham Norton and his production team have been told off for wearing black ribbons in support of World Aids Day.  The reason for this is that, according to BBC editorial guidelines, “The BBC must remain independent and distanced from government initiatives, campaigners, charities and their agendas.”  Fair point.  I can understand that while a particular campaign may seem very worthwhile and uncontroversial it is almost impossible to know where to draw the line.

However there is an exception to this…the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal which raises money for war veterans and is supported by every public BBC figure on all its domestic channels leading up to Remembrance Day.  Surely the Royal British Legion is a charity and surely it’s poppy appeal is part of its agenda?  I have done a quick google search but cannot see any comment on this from the BBC.

I understand that the poppy appeal is supported nationwide, almost without exception, but it does make you wonder whether the BBC allowing, and even insisting, the appeal is supported is part of some wider agenda.  It was also revealed today that the BBC led Comic Relief have invested donations in weapons manufacturer BAE Systems.  I wouldn’t want to draw conspiracy theory type conclusions from all this but it does make me sad that as a society we support war related charities and companies so easily whilst the causes that will not bring about money and power for the ‘powers that be’ are pushed down.