the beauty of peace


This is the view from my window this New Year  in beautiful Onich near Fort William and I am mindful that the beauty of peace is not afforded to all.

re blogging Michael Rosen’s post.

A reminder from Wilfred Owen about the politics of war
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
[The Latin phrase was used at times of war in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It means roughly “It is sweet and glorious to die for one’s country.”]

Man of peace

Today we met a man of peace identified by a white poppy in his lapel. A symbol, he told us, for a culture of peace and the belief that there are better ways than war to solve conflict.

We were travelling the same way and talked and talked. If only politicians stuck to principles, or listened to the man in the street… Perhaps there are more men of peace than we realised. is the website that suggests such unheard of things as abolishing war or making it illegal. There was a serious attempt to abolish slavery, after all. I’m not sure how long it took to convince slave owners of the hideousness of it, or how long it will take to convince warmongers.

War has become a dominant metaphor: war on terror, war on want, war on sugar, but this liberal use of the word belies a philosophy of militarism.  Jubilant return of heroes or the sad return of the fallen, lines of marching soldiers in front of Buckingham Palace paraded on TV screens perpetuates and legitimises militarism which in turn legitimises  trade of arms to all or any, including regimes with poor civil rights records.



White Poppy

The ugly colour war can turn a man’s soul


Some novels from the first word seem to fit a groove that satisfies on a deep level. The groove small children find when a story takes them out of themselves with an expectant sigh. It does not have to be a favourite story, it can be new and strange about something they know nothing of. All they know is this is worth their complete attention and wait for the magic to work.

Irene Nemirovsky: even the cadence of the name conjures such expectation. An iconic kiss for the front cover, a period of history so much written of and lamented, a masterful and confident voice and translation; Fires of Autumn has it all in spades.

The novel explores French life in the great sweep of the 20 th century. Published posthumously and written in the last two years of her life, after she fled from Paris in 1940 and before her arrest and eventual death in a Nazi concentration camp. It is a prequel of the Suite Francaise masterpiece.

It is a coruscating, tragic evocation of the reality of war and its dirty aftermath and the ugly colour it can turn a man’s soul.

We do well to remember when banalities are bandied by Cameron and his ilk, as they square up and posture for unleashing the horror of war.

If we do one good thing


Simplistic I know in light of recent events in Paris to think that the world could be saved by kindness, but doing something bad daily is certainly a downward spiral.

Random acts  satisfy fleetingly. Perhaps a concerted effort, an orchestrated effort, is more the thing.

How effective the effort in Paris! Sad the force of evil has the upper hand.

Droning on

Getting to know drones.
Occasionally, following up a ‘like’ on a blog spot reveals something truly iniquitous, that really should make everyone’s conscience shout out loud.

One such from an American blog has finally made my blood boil whereas hearing of the execution by drone of two British Muslims in Syria on the news, to my shame, merely made me uneasy for days.

A quiet American is raising funds and awareness by posting advertisements urging those who actually deliver drones from America to anywhere America fancies delivering them, to refuse. He urges them to go with their soul and defy the military and the government who are hell bent and possibly hell bound for their collusion. Even if it means prison. Those who deliver the drones suffer post traumatic stress. They soon know that a drone, however accurate will annihilate everyone and everything around it and their job is murder not vital in the fight against terrorism. Collateral damage is the new lie.

Now it seems that Britain is sending us to hell too.

Look for the Know Drones Appeal. Bombard your MP!
How dare our government destroy law, justice, peace and decency,in our name, things we have believed in and entrusted to them.