Wednesday, 2 December 2015



Sitting here, this December night, reading through, for purposes of commendation, someone’s powerful and detailed novel about the Third Reich and the SS carrying out Hitler’s extermination policies, about their attitudes to non-Aryans, to people living with disability.

Meanwhile, in London, our MPs are debating whether to bomb Syria. The intention, it is said, is to bomb ISIS – but what’s that supposed to mean? The members of ISIS are diffused through the civilian population – they don’t sit conveniently in one building with a flag on top.

The debate is kept short – no time for careful, measured discussion. The vote – as I write – is only ten minutes away.

Then, across the Channel from England’s coast where I live, thousands of refugees huddle shivering in flimsy nylon tents designed for camping in the summer, dependent for food and clothes and firewood and shelter on grass-roots volunteers and ordinary people sending gifts of money and whatever they can spare.

Inland from Calais, in Paris, world leaders in their expensive suits are hard at work discussing climate change – how much or how little to do.

Of course you will already know that war is a sturdy driver of environmental degradation and therefore climate change.

In Paris, the UK’s Energy Secretary – the same one who wants fracking throughout Great Britain and was all for the shooting of thousands of badgers, and frankly gives not a stuff for the tender wild beauty of God’s Earth – adds the weight of her wisdom to their deliberations. While her masters in government do all they can to bluff and bully their way through to setting off the weapons they just spent all those billions of money buying. What do they think this is? Firework Night?

Our Prime Minister has just let it be known that he regards every single one of us who is against the bombing of Syria as a terrorist sympathiser. He has made it clear that he considers peaceful protest as a dangerous threat to be crushed.

I have work to do. I think of Jesus, who was a refugee, taken by Joseph and Mary, fleeing from the despot’s slaughter of the innocent, and I send my feeble arrow of prayer to God – “oh, oh, for Jesus’ sake! #DontBombSyria” – then I go back to my book on the Third Reich. Same old world, eh? Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.


My God, my, God, please don’t forsake us. DON’T BOMB SYRIA.

*        *        *

Result of the vote:
397 MPs voted to bomb Syria
223 voted against.

I am heartbroken.
I am so ashamed of my country tonight.
I am so sorry.

I am not a terrorist sympathiser, but I sympathise with defenceless children, with frightened and beleaguered people, with war-torn countries, with broken humanity.

Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.


Jen said...

It's all just hideous

Did you see the archbishop of Canterbury stood up and gave a speech in the debate that he supported the bombing.

I just don't get it. How can he say that? How on earth does that tie in with what Jesus said?

Yes of course I think that ISIS are evil and should be stopped. But by bombing everyone in the area? By punishing those who are already struggling? No.

Suze said...

I feel for those who are caught up and living in this terror. The frightened, cold, hungry and alienated. I don't know how to approach this either. ISIS is spread. With computer power there is no need for centralisation so I feel the west is stabbing in the dark. Each jab hurts more innocent than evil.

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes, indeed.

I'm glad the Methodist Church and the Church of Scotland came out against the bombing.


Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

May our good and merciful God have mercy on us all.

Pen Wilcock said...

Amen. xx

Patricia said...

Just so agree with you Pen. Indeed may God have mercy on all of us. Recently I read "A hundred and One Days" by Asne Seierstad. Basically it is a journal of a journalist in Baghdad during the Iraqi war. She tells of the terror of the ordinary people as the US and UK bomb and attack them. The refrain through the book is that they wanted to get rid of Sadaam Hussein but could not understand why they were being attacked as well. It is a gut renching book. You probably have heard of her more famous book "The bookseller of Kabul".

Roberta Desalle said...

This video, disseminated by the Syria Campaign, is a presentation, by a former hostage of ISIS, explaining why Western bombing in Syria works against the defeat of ISIS.

Pen Wilcock said...

x Thank you friends xx