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Not a grotesque fantasy

None of us is insulated from the horror that is war. We are one body of humanity, created by the One, True, Living God and regardless of the side of the fence that we sit on, the wounds that affect those parts of the body close to home or far away, affect us all.

The Israel-Hamas war brings onto our screens the images of suffering that make us shiver. We are not just receiving statistical information about the thousands of people who have been killed and the tens of thousands who have been injured but we are seeing the mutilation of human beings in the stark photographs and videos coming from both warring sides.

It is good that we have not yet become so inured to human suffering that we can still react with shock and profound sadness to the scenes of the suffering of traumatised, often severely wounded children, to families either destroyed or torn apart by the conflict.

These are not computer-generated images, products of some grotesque fantasy. They reflect the ugly reality, the living hell that has been imposed upon ordinary civilians by their leaders in the name of ‘justice’, however they define justice to themselves.

This conflict did not have its genesis on October 7, 2023. The roots go far deeper than that and from our ‘safe’ vantage point on the other side of the world and given the historical facts surrounding both Israel and the Palestinian people, it is easy for us to make our own judgements and to assign blame or guilt for the current outbreak of war on one side or the other.

It is also easy to have our judgement coloured by the propaganda spewed continuously and ever more graphically and convincingly by the powerful nations which support either side.

The fact is that while the politicians sit safely removed from the theatre of war, it is the ordinary citizens who just want to lead decent lives and to bring up their families in peace and security who pay the ultimate price for their leaders’ decisions.

They are the ‘collateral damage’.

It does not end there. Generations that follow inherit the awful legacy, either through enforced displacement, trauma generated by fear, suspicion, or hatred of the former enemy or any of the other myriad ways that history has shown.

Even if we choose to pretend that this war is not our business, the inevitable effect on the global economy will have an impact on us. The psychological burden of processing the daily barrage of pain, wanton destruction, and death or of trying to protect ourselves from it, creates a pall from which we cannot escape.

In our own region, we have warfare conducted by criminals upon their fellow-citizens. Power and authority have been wrested from elected governments by marauding gangs. Foreign criminal elements control prisons in some countries and have proven to be largely untouchable.

The more that we accept that we have no jurisdiction over the fate of our own society or that warfare is the most effective way to achieve the goals of the powerful, the more we move away from the wisdom and mercy of the Heavenly Bridegroom.

Let us not be found with our lamps short of the oil of faith, lest He order the doors of the wedding hall be shut before we are sufficiently awake to implore His power and mercy.

Photo by Антон Дмитриев on Unsplash