I read the report from Reuters – the world’s most trustworthy news service. The end of the war in Ukraine is in sight. Putin cannot win but needs to save face: (1) Crimea (2) North East Ukraine (3) Ukraine not to join NATO. President Zelensky will know how to negotiate those terms.
Meanwhile, the suffering continues, the bombing and killing go on, Putin must save his face before the Russian people. Ever thus. The weak, the women and children suffer, the men make war and make peace by drawing up treaties to be signed. Meanwhile, carry on as though winning the (war) special military operation is all that is on your mind, and the women and children and older men suffer.
A priest and a parishioner took part in the blanket bombing of Dresden near the end of World War II. They did not know. They were told of a special operation, not the destination nor the motive. They were puzzled at the lack of artillery defence but pleased to return safely home. Then they discovered they had bombed a defenceless city, no military target, just people and homes and beautiful buildings in Dresden, renowned for its
cultural and historical traditions.
Allied Command ordered the bombing as a warning to the Russian forces making a speedy advance on Germany and Berlin from the east, as the Allied forces were from the west. “We can be ruthless. Watch us in action” was the warning to the Russians. The world watched and knew. The Cold War had begun. In war, both (all) sides justify being ruthless.
My priest friend said he had lived with the horror of committing a war crime. We pray for the war criminals who do not yet know what they have done because Putin and war find it almost impossible to tell or face the truth. What agony to know. What suffering for the refugees around Europe, fleeing the conflict for the sake of those who are willing to stay and die for them. What sadness for the Ukrainian people who hear fine words of support but know they take second place to the threat of a world war – “Making things worse does not help to make anything better.”
‘Anawim’ is the lovely word for them – God’s little ones. We all are. We cry, we pray (what’s the difference?) and God hugs us as helplessly as those lovely people hug each other saying good-bye and knowing they may never be together again. The Putins of this world (they are everywhere – look at the wars going on) look to save face not lives, to tell lies as truth, pretend to be strong by crushing the weak, self-image rather than see others.
If God and I changed places for even one day, what I could do! I hope you would like to have God for the day at St Joseph’s: mass, prayer, phone, another trundle day for the parish, I suppose, but watch me hurtle around the world like Batman, zapping wherever I knew I could zap to best effect.
At the end of my 24 divine hours I would have taken out all the evil men driving those conflicts, all the arms manufacturers would be dead, all the men in suits at tables and uniforms would have the smirks wiped off their ugly faces and the triumph of power taken from their evil hearts. All who wanted to kill, defeat and destroy rather than defend, die for and protect, would be gone. There would just be the mess of the world to bury, restore, re-create. A brave new world.
You, dear reader, would be there of course. How would you help? Would you? Perhaps, if you did now what you would do then, it might happen even now . . .
God bless us in our good intentions and angry words to love and do something beautiful for God,
(20th March 2022)