I don’t normally these days notice much in the papers that takes my breath away. However the Times leader “Millions starve as Assad plays the hunger game” did just that!! This is an article written in such a sensitive and thought-provoking manner by Anthony Loyd with photographs by Don McCullin.
It starts “Murder came from a cloudy sky. The shells that exploded on the pavement of the main Aleppo thoroughfare on Monday killed people in grimly familiar style, chopping up a group of four men, all civilian, in a way so grotesque that I can not describe it here, though amid the blood and screens of a woman each detail was branded clearly on my mind. Everything in the manner of their death – the random, casual nature of its award, as careless as a splash from a roadside puddle; the way the mutilated bodies were slung on the flatbed truck like butchered livestock was so common place in that city to be almost mundane. But there was something novel and ominous in the state of the victims. They died with their bellies empty. For a new and terrible strategy has entered Syria’s war: a hunger game….”.
Just when you think that you have seen all manner of human horror described in the free press new heights are reached.
The concern I sometimes have is the duplicitous nature of the first worlds meddling in the internal affairs of third world nations in conflict. With very spurious reasons in relation to weapons of mass destruction the ‘Policing Countries’ entered Iraq and will probably leave the poor people of that country in a worse situation than when we supposedly liberated them from tyranny. Their plight was however already previously dire in the extreme. The civilised world should act now with the right intentions.
Afghanistan with its cultural tendency to subject the interests of woman to a state of subordination and subjugation is in a similar state of barbaric tumult.
We can do better, can’t we? In little ways here at home we can remove discrimination of women and gay people in the established Church of England. Each small step of self-reflection lessens the weight of the yoke on the sensitive and over burdened shoulders of humanity.
Buddhism is not immune to discrimination in the name of historic context and iconography. Pajapati who was the sister of the Buddha’s mother, Maya, asked to be received into the Sangha. The Buddha initially said no. It was the persistence of Ananda the Buddha’s cousin who finally persuaded him to allow women into the Sangha. With reluctance this was granted albeit with unequal rights being afforded to women that persist down to this day.
A lack of human compassion, inequality, duplicitous standards and above all the devastating effects of the manly ego should now pass into history and be recognised fully as a bad way to conduct human affairs.
I urge everyone to never consider human suffering as mundane and commonplace. Vision your own loved ones in the position of terror in the Middle East and try desperately never to become sensitized to the plight of others.
My feelings and thoughts go out to those enduring human depravity where ever that exists. I will attempt always to be mindful of the human experience and urge you to do he same.
Let me know what your thoughts are…