A bewildered human race

Christmas 2023

A bewildered human race

“This Christmas season finds us a rather bewildered human race. We have neither peace within nor peace without. Everywhere paralysing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night. Our world is sick with war; everywhere we turn we see its ominous possibilities…”

These words were spoken by Dr Martin Luther King on Christmas Eve 1967. The 24th of December 1967.

Forty-six years ago. Still, so actual they sound!

At that time there was a cruel war in Vietnam. It was far away from Europe. In Asia, Buddhist Monks set themselves alight to protest against the treatment of the Vietnamese fellows:

“During the Vietnam war, a number of Buddhist monks set themselves alight to protest against the treatment of the South Vietnamese Buddhists. The images – broadcast around the world – captured international attention, famously Thích Quang Ðuc’s immolation in Saigon in June 1963″ [from The Independent].

Many people even felt annoyed when they heard about these events, thinking: what does that war have to do with us, in Europe?

Then, after many other wars and conflicts, the tragedy of the Twin Towers came. The wars in Iraq and Libya were the firm response to the madness of the human mind, who planned and executed the attack in New York. That terrorist attack took the lives of nearly three thousand unarmed civilians, who were at work and busy in their daily routine.

Years later, on the 7th October 2023, a new human madness destroyed over twelve hundred young lives at a peaceful festival in Israel.

Displaced children

The brave cowards

Brave warriors must have been those who attacked unarmed civilians while dancing. Full of courage they must have been to attack innocent people who were there to celebrate their age and had nothing to do with the political scenario in the Middle East.

On a different kind of battlefield other sort of warriors are capable to attack and kill their ex-fiancee or their wife, sometimes even their own children. Warriors full of bravery when attacking unarmed people, even youngsters in schools…

All those self-named warriors deserve a medal for being a coward, because this is what they really are.

A few days after that horrible slaughter of humans and humanity in Israel, a devastating military response came with outrageous fury, displacing thousands of people in Gaza, killing over twenty thousand adults (for the moment), including about eight thousand children and babies. Blind fury over an unarmed population, while the masterminds are safe somewhere else, playing their political game and perhaps planning the next terroristic attack.

Something astonishing is happening in these days.

War calls war. Death calls death. Revenge calls revenge.

What year are we in?

What year is this? Are we approaching the year 24 of the second millenium? Are we approaching 1024?

The law of retaliation is dominating any rationality, it is eradicating every compassion and human sensibility.

And before this ultimate performance of human madness, less than two years ago, there was the invasion of Ukraine from Russia, the largest country in the world. The country who has been homeland to Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Pushkin, Rubinstein, Stravinsky…

The country, whose cultural tradition is simply outstanding, couldn’t find any other response to an existing political issue than repeating the showdown of madness of the Soviet era.

The latest absurdity of our human madness has been the killing “by mistake” of three Israeli young people who were holding a white flag walking -full of hope, I imagine- towards their Israeli comrades… “They were wearing local clothes and the military on site believed they were terrorists”, said the spokesperson for the military.

What year is this? What eyes can see a terrorist in people who wear “local clothes”? This is a marginal episode. An incident on the way, probably due to the anxiety of those soldiers on the battlefield, who killed the supposed “terrorists” in the fear that those unknown people might kill them. This is a tragic episode in tragic circumstances, but how many times in our daily life we  judge unknown people by their outlook? Do we really try to know an unknown person before judging and shooting our labels? or do we just project on unknown people our interpretation of them?

Negative judgements can be damaging as much as bullets. The story of Ruth Perry is a clear example of those eyes seeking negativity in the other person. Those cases show that many eyes are rotten. Minds moulded. Human hearts are no longer capable to recognise what is good and what is not.

We are at a point where the dream -that spread in the last decades of the Twentieth century- for a peaceful development and friendly cooperation between nations to defeat famine, diseases, child offences, environmental issues and human rights may turn into a nightmare.

What year is this?

displaced civilians

Standing for peace

Especially those who have some memory of the devastation caused by a war, they should stand against wars, against any bombs and protect not only the present life, but the life and mental health of those young generations crushed by the current events.

Those who have some memory of the devastation caused by a war, they should stand in between those young soldiers killing one another and tell them: what are you doing? Chase the terrorist masterminds rather than civilians of any age. Catch and keep them in a secure, isolated place with some civilised comforts but with no way out.

What kind of future may come from taking revenge over an entire population? Doing that unfortunately recalls past events that should have taught some lessons even to the hardest heads.

If there is still some common sense, we -human race- should stop our own madness, look at ourselves from the distance and ask: what are we doing?

Sadly, we might discover that we are still fighting for a piece of land as the Greeks and the Persians did; as Rome and Carthago did; we are still fighting for a piece of land which was given to us, the human race, and to its inhabitants.

Lev Tolstoy, one of my favourite Authors, wrote a novel titled “How much land does a man need?”. The novel is obviously not related to the current conflicts but simply shows the madness of the human mind, that is caught by greediness and has lost any spark of wisdom. A wisdom, that also doesn’t shine in the war in Ukraine as well as in the tragic conflict in the Middle East.

Could those two pieces mentioned in this post -the sermon on peace by M.L. King and the novel by Tolstoy- spark some enlightenment in each of us? I am sure that in many people they would.

Could those pieces be an inspiration for those powerful guys who lead the threads of wars? I have some doubts, but hope -as well as love- never dies.

A peaceful, merry Christmas to you all!


Attached: “How much land does a man need?” By L Tolstoy

Attached: “A Christmas sermon on Peace” by Dr M L King

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