I haven’t written a post in a while, because all I had to write about was the marvelous art exhibitions I’ve seen, and I didn’t want to have an overload of those (in case you all started rolling your eyes!)
And now, everything is overshadowed by the situation in the Ukraine. It beggars belief that this is happening so close to us. Children in schools are talking of a third world war.
However, one must not forget that this is one more war in a series of wars. Syria or Afghanistan might seem further to us, but people are people, all over the world. When my Afghan student said to me, ‘I can’t concentrate today, because the Taliban are in my village and there’s fighting in the streets,’ he was no different than any of us would be in the same situation. A few days later his mum, dad and two little brothers moved to safety in Kabul—then Kabul fell. I still live in dread of bad news every time I talk to him.
The Bosnian wars, if anyone remembers them, only ended in 1995. At the time I knew various people in Greece, both Serbs and Croats, whose relatives at home were watching bridges being bombed from their kitchen windows. Who knows how many friends and relatives they lost.
What is it about men and guns? And why is always some megalomaniac allowed to rule?
This is already resulting in more population movement, more refugees, more children who suffer.
Meanwhile, I was shocked by photos of people being denied access to trains going to Poland because—unbelievable—they are black. Are we still in the 21st century?
There is some consolation to be found in poetry:
“What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. ”
― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land