Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oh What a Lovely War!

A local theatre company has been performing this clever piece and I have heard very good reports about the quality of it. Unfortunately my life at present consists largely of hanging on by my teeth or I'll be swept away in the flood of what I absolutely must get done so actually seeing the production was impossible.

Instead I happened by sheer accident on the Richard Attenborough movie version made around forty years ago. This made an enormous impact on me when I first saw it. I remember sitting in the cinema, tears rolling down my cheeks, as the death toll mounted on the scoreboard in the background. My degree includes a European history major. The political causes and terrible battle losses of World War One were not new to me but somehow the combination of songs and the stoic efforts of the fighting men really spoke to me. I couldn't understand then how, having experienced the carnage and appalling loss of life on all sides, anyone had allowed the whole thing to start over again in 1939.

Older and wiser now, I see that those who want war will always find a way to justify their desire and those who pay the price will never be part of the decision making process. Nations, friends and families will be caught up and divided because we seem unable to learn from our mistakes.

So I sat and wept again on Sunday night because sooner or later there will be more rows of graves, mounds of bones, scarred and mutilated bodies and minds and I, or some other mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter, will look back and ask how did we let it happen again.

1 comment:

Satima Flavell said...

We like to think we are civilised and not at the mercy of our instincts like dumb animals - but when all's said and done, we are still territorial and aggressive and probably always will be. All we can do in between is remember, weep and hope.