Friday, July 15, 2005

One Week but Many Thoughts

Today marked one week since the bombs were detonated both over and underground in London. This was a day which has shaped everyone’s’ London since. This is partly on practical grounds (the tubes are not fully running etc) but also there is a sense of slight entrepidation about as people seem to watch everyone carefully, as well as exercising added prejudice in suspicion towards people of the Muslim faith. I intend not to write on the issue of the bombs but more on the feelings surrounding it. As a Christian it is an interesting issue as it again returns to the idea of the “just war”, one that I so often struggle with. I am against violence, for the simple reason I could never kill someone so and myself would never wish it to be done “in my name”. Whilst to many it would seem rather simplistic, it is the yardstick I set myself in my life. After all, if I am not comfortable doing something myself why on earth should I wish it on others? This has become fairly ingrained into me and interlinks with my feelings on forgiveness, something I shall return to at a later date. The issue of violence appears due to the idea of retaliation or “justice” to those who perpetrated those hideous acts of violence. The ol nugget of the death penalty raises its ugly head once again in a launch for restorative vengeance to please the public need for a quick fix over real solutions. As you might guess, I am not for the death penalty and I am frustrated at those who think it is the answer for such crimes. What right have we as a nation to be in outrage at the killing of “innocent” people, if we then condemn and then murder them, even though they could be innocent themselves? We do not have the perfect justice system and we never shall, this is not the countries fault this is the fact we are human and fallible. I also struggle with the contradiction and it is one I have had with the Stop the War coalition as well. I was a key part of the original stop the war coalition in Edinburgh, in the run-up to Iraq War 2. I helped facilitate and film the 3,000 young person walkouts from schools two days prior to the breakout of war. I believed and fell for that cause. Yet as the war progressed I began to struggle with this new movement. This was a movement that was so broad and then began to narrow itself down and to spit vitriol at those who strayed to a differing path. First there was objection to the Liberal Democrats for their middle of the road “ we support the troops but not what they are fighting for” stance, which I could understand after a while. How can we really claim to support the troops by keeping them in a situation we do not wish them to be in? But my real problem is the more than tacit support for the Iraqi resistance; this is whilst also providing a platform for Rose Gentle to discuss how hurt she feels that her son (a British army soldier) was killed in Iraq. Therefore we support the families of those killed whilst also supporting those who committed the killing in the first place? A rum situation indeed. But what does this all have to do with “just war” etc? This comes back to the idea that the ever present search for a quick fix solution, from ID Cards to Coppers with Kalashnikovs, is ever destined to fail because we never look at the root of the issue and only try to solve the issue. Until we as a people are ready to do this, then we can never progress. Tempting, as it is to finish on that note, instead I wish to share a tale you no doubt have heard. A survivor of the bomb on the underground was greeted by the BBC and asked what they felt for the bombers who had destroyed the train they were on. All they said was “Pity for them (the bombers) that they think this can succeed”. This was a wonderful quote and shows how far we can come as humans. I do not know, neither do I care if they are, but for me this was something closer to the true Christian response to such inexplicable acts of violence, understanding and pity rather than another war. This was to worry why the person committed the act, rather than to seek revenge for the act committed. There is hope, if you look outside of the tabloid press. Many Regards John

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