Saturday, 2 August 2014

Bombs - we are all culpable

Today a photograph appeared on my Facebook timeline. It shows an object ominously hovering in the sky. There is a man on a scooter and a man casually walking along. It's a frozen moment that belies the chaos that is about to unfold.

That object is a bomb; that bomb is about wreak havoc and possibly kill many caught in its vicinity.

I spoke about this photo with my husband who has worked in electronics and we chatted about the manufacturers that make these weapons.

Honestly I had never thought about this before, never imagined a place where brilliant minds invented and developed technology to kill people.

I then had this scenario playing out in my mind about the person/people working on that bomb hanging there in the sky that day.

I know they are just people like you and I. They have family, children, lives. They have names like Bev, Al, Tracy, Daniel and so on (insert names from your country in here). After all weapons are manufactured all over our globe.

Today is august Saturday 2nd of August 2014 the death toll in Gaza is 1,500. Bombs made by people just like you and I landed on their homes, in their neighbourhoods on their loved ones on them. They are now dead and others are terribly maimed. Some are now orphaned or childless. Their lives don't look like they did a mere few hours earlier. Their lives are now irrevocably changed.

Tomorrow all over all world people will get up and go to work in the multi-billion dollar arms industry: there are lots of different kinds of weapons that can cause terrible devastation to our very frail human bodies. Some genius worked out ways to be able that we could be more deadly and devastating in our capabilities to injure and kill.

They might not know if it was the bomb that they made that is caught in this particular picture: it could have come from any factory.

I don't want to lay the blame at the feet of the people who work in these factories. We are all culpable. The need for arms is created because we are all capable of waging war with each other. We can all find it easy to blame one another for the problems in our world. We hear it all the time on the news, in our newspapers. Whatever the problems it's 'their' fault. The 'their' are those who typically don't look like us or vote like us, or share our beliefs.

Look around the world is at war: many blame religion, and I understand why, but honestly I think more often than not we really are fighting 'for a cause that is long forgotten'.

The commonwealth games are on at the moment and what we could so easily forget is this group of nations exists because at one time or another the 'British' conquered each of these places.

The French, Portuguese, Spanish and so on, all conquered various corners of our world and made their mark one way or another to this day.

There are many conflicts at the moment: 39 areas are categorised as having conflict and many more smaller internal battles. Coming from the West our biggest culpability is not only the manufacturing of these arms but that we sell them to all of these countries we may be in conflict with right now - how insane is that???

Alan wrote a great blog about how those with most power are the ones who are those with the greatest responsibility to create peace: in reality we are the ones who tend to sell and buy most of the arms.

I think our so called advanced society still has much to learn. When I look at this photo and I think of the so called lesson after the Second World War 'The war to end all wars', I am filled with sadness that this has not been true. In fact the decision by most western nations was to keep producing these weapons and bombs and for some bizarre reason selling them to anyone who could pay. Even if those nations could one day use said weapons on them. It truly makes no sense to me, the madness of all this.

For the people in this photo, frozen for this moment, it is worse than madness, it's is life and death. If we could ask them what would they like for our world right then, I think their answers would be different than a few seconds earlier. Because at that moment when your life is going to be snuffed out by a bomb whose last screw was put in by a worker called Beverley at the factory in the UK or elsewhere in the world, the wastefulness of your destruction and your absolute desire to live out your life in peace would seem the most sensible option.

I pray, rather than waiting, we would all be those who strive, and call, and march, and protest: whatever it takes to stop war.

There are no winners not even for those who manufacturer these weapons. After all one day you may be the one caught in a photograph with a bomb that you invented or made hovering over the place where you are; ready to cause mayhem and destruction in your life and the ones of those you love.

Praying for all involved in conflict across our world

Bev x


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The hunger games

I once had a conversation with an old Polish gentleman he spoke about his time in a Russian concentration camp during the Second World War. There were 1000's of prisoners and very few guards. He said that they kept us subdued by starving. 'When all you can think about is bread, you have nothing in you to fight', I remember feeling so moved that in his younger years he had seen such atrocity and had lived through such dreadful times.

Hunger must be a terrible thing.

The ongoing conflict in Palestine between the Israeli people and the Palestinians has simmered and ignited several times over the last 70 years. The recent assault on Gaza by the Israeli government has led to well over a 1000 dead and many 1000's injured and maimed.

It still continues.

I learned when reading about this long conflict that Gaza is basically an open prison where 1.8 million people live in a land approximately 149 in size. The most densely populated area of land on earth.

Israel control the borders of this country including the coastal waters. They are effectively locked in an open air jail.

Their water, electricity and communication is under the control of the Israeli government.

What shocked me (and believe me so much has shocked and astounded me about the life of these people and their treatment) is that the food sent into Gaza from Israel is rationed.

Rationed - just think about that for a moment. One people group had decided what another 1.8 million people need to eat.

Their is a trilogy of books written by novelist Suzanne Collins named the 'Hunger Games'. When asked where she found the idea for the book she states "One night, I was lying in bed, and I was channel surfing between reality TV programs and actual war coverage. On one channel, there’s a group of young people competing for I don’t even know; and on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting in an actual war. I was really tired, and the lines between these stories started to blur in a very unsettling way.

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic North America, it is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games.

To punish the people in each district, and as a reminder of their power, Capitol make each district yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory. The games are broadcast through the Capitol and to the twelve districts to entertain and intimidate the population.

One of their tools to repress is through keeping the people hungry.

The hunger games.

Is that how you subdue a nation? You place a limit on what they can have to eat?

Because I have to say I am not sure how a whole people group should feel if treated this way?

During this conflict there has been TV footage of some Israeli people sat on settees overlooking the landscape of Palestine watching the bombing and the shocking thing to see was they were cheering.


Sometimes the lines between reality and fiction become so blurred.

I am not sure how this current conflict will end.

I pray it will end with a real peace coming to this ancient land.

The names on our TV all so familiar to me from my faith as a Christian.

The name of Israel such a special name many believing that this land was meant to be the home for the Jewish nation, theirs by right.

I have had lots of debate with many on social networking who refuse to hear anything negative said about what is currently happening.

Only in the last few years have I become aware of the real history of this land.

A land called Palestine stolen from a nation who had lived there for the previous 2,000 years.

I cannot blame the Jewish people they were dispersed throughout the world often terribly treated in the nations they lived.

A people group who at the hands of the German Nazi party in WW11 were subjected to unmentionable horrors in the holocaust.

The likes of the USA and UK felt the guilt of having let this people group down terribly.

So their gift was another's nation.

It does seem unbelievable that this could happen but then add to that the Christians who believed this land had been prophetically meant to be their home.

I have just watched Schindlers List, the story of Oscar Schindler a black market entrepreneur in Nazi Germany who found ways to rescue Jews from the concentration camps.

These camps dehumanised everyone and one of the main tool of subjugation was to keep the prisoners hungry.

Hunger so raw that the prisoners although they outnumbered their captors by the thousands could not fight back.

They were led to the gas chambers in their thousands.

6 million dead.

Hunger in Gaza

1.8 million people and they are rationed and I am sure at times hungry. But now most of the routes for foods are cut off after the bombing.

And that hunger must be growing.

I wonder how this conflict will end but I think I know how.

If you are hungry maybe the battle is already over for you?