Today a good friend died.
He had been ill for every year I had known him but his final submission was a shock and the end a relief. Eventually every miracle has to end. His stubborn determination kept him on this plane long after many would have folded.
He was a wonderful warm cantankerous old bastard and I saw a lot of myself in him... and vice versa. I don’t have that strength but I have great role models.
I’m no stranger to death and funerals. Practice still doesn’t blunt the loss. It reminds me of the real big picture. So many in the West have no experience of this and hence the abject horror of it all. So many that run away and cannot face death and all its baggage face on.
I think that has a link to the ability to blank out the murder and suffering of so many that we in the West cause. As technology progresses the greater the distance between the killer and the killed becomes. You can’t see the whites of their eyes from 20,000 feet. You can’t see their fear and their pain. There is no contact with the human you are killing.
I sat on a train journey recently near some young women discussing how well their spouses were progressing in their air force careers. Whoopee... every bangle, bauble and perk was paid for by the wages of death and the corpses of anonymous strangers.
Violent death is no different - it just adds the other emotions of anger and revenge. That completes a circle that we should always avoid.
The next time we read of a murdered human anywhere in the world we should think –how would I feel if that was someone belonging to me? The millions in Iraq, the 10’s of thousand in Afghanistan, the daily trickle of children in Gaza. You get the picture.