Tuesday, 1 April 2003

Life goes on?

As I write, Baghdad and Basra are being bombarded by alliance forces and we are being bombarded by the media images of the war.  Ironically, while there seem to be more and more news bulletins there is less and less each time that is actually new.
In contrast to the bombers, heavy artillery, massing troops and ground-shaking explosions it’s almost surreal to get glimpses via live cameras into the heart of the Iraqi capital and to realise that despite everything there are ordinary people for whom life goes on as best it can.
Life goes on.  Despite death and destruction, through despair and anger, life goes on.  And at other times through new birth and happiness, in success and flourishing, life goes on.
It is a testimony to the power of life that the mass of ordinary people will regroup, earth themselves once again and, whether circumstances are better, worse, or much the same, they will continue the struggle to make life as secure and worthwhile as possible for themselves and their families.
This could begin to sound like an argument for fatalism – “Whatever will be will be.  Leave power to the people who have got it and make the best of things that you can.”  If only it could actually be a summons for the world to come to its senses and realise the simple things that are really important – giving everyone the opportunity to live with good food, clean water, a sustainable environment and security and peace.  Surely that is possible – or it would be if it wasn’t for the grasping greedy evil which is so inherent to humanity and which spoils everything.
With Easter just around the corner it might be tempting to say that there is an answer to all this.  But what good is an answer that obviously isn’t in actual fact going to change the real world?  As long as there are people there will be injustice and evil.  And no place is as dangerous as the moral high ground.  But life will go on.  Perhaps Easter simply reminds us that we can’t help it, we cannot resist life.  Time and time again, we get up again, we renew our dreams and we don’t give up struggling for something better.