As Legions Before Us. We Will Be Tested

Child victim of War

Foreword: Two previous attempts at this post binned; five days of rehearsing paragraphs in my head before they made it to the page, and I still don’t know if  it is even close to the original intention. The drive would not let me rest though. Bear with me. Encapsulating these aspects of The Human Condition were never destined to be easy.

Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, then Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Northern Mozambique, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Niger (to name but seven of the approximately twenty plus conflicts in Africa), Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, (blink and you might miss those two) and now a war in Ukraine which is coming into its eighth year when shorn of the curtain of a fight for independence by minorities was elevated to one which cannot be avoided. These are the sometime headline ones; not the ones packaged into small items on the brutally repressive regimes and the bloody conflicts between communities or criminal gangs.

Ukraine. If we are starkly honest with ourselves, and this is a time to be so, this one takes hold of us by the heart and mind, because those folk and their towns look so very similar to our own. And in the next sentences I walk a literary minefield. Do we notice more because of the colour of their skins. Yes? For the simple reason that familiarity brings a greater degree of emotion. Deep inside lurks the feeling with a myriad of deeper causes ‘That could be me. Us,’  You can’t stop it. No more than someone native to any of the nations above would bitterly think ‘Welcome to our world. You, of The First World,’ Human nature: You might be blessed enough to have the gift of Thinking Before Speaking; dare anyone here claim they have the gift of Perception Before Feeling? You will have to accept, I don’t believe you. No person has that sort of Objectivity. The Invasion of Ukraine, an industrial powered, visceral, savage, unavoidable, twenty-four seven media reminder what has been going on non-stop somewhere, sometime, somehow. For some folk who follow the world news, maybe the last straw. If anyone out there and has been weeping, threshing, howling, shutting down their TV or laptop save for rom-coms, sports feeds, domestic themed shows, or wildlife documentaries….I for one don’t blame you. Just come back to us some time.

And of course there are those issues on your doorstep. Pandemic, voter suppression, job security, rising prices, civil rights, domestic and civic violence, environmental concerns; those for examples. We agonise and rage over what is happening in Ukraine, but we worry about doorstep issues. We even might taste fear over one or more of them, dread them starting to link up, like a series of small forest fires merging into one vast wall of speeding immolation.

A short while back, I wrote about the importance of Hope. A plea to not to give way to despair. In all honesty an easier work to write. This is about the application of Hope. … Firstly we can all Hope, and we can all believe we will sustain the intention in a good way. Until our own Reality comes in; the inescapable truth of a War in The First World. Not just in the fierce imposition of the media, or the stream of consciousness interchanges between others. It comes creeping up on us. Sometimes swirling about us when we planned on going to sleep, or maybe dragging us out of a restless half-place, or maybe hovering there while we go about our daily chores, worse intruding upon our leisure time asking ‘Should you be….’  

You will be tested. I cannot predict how, where or when. I can tell you those myriad of emotions you are feeling are part of rehearsal. Steady yourself for a journey into a Batman’s Gotham City grotesque warping of Doctor Suess’ ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’. You could already be finding you are wishing one man dead, perhaps joyfully celebrating resistance and shrugging at the sight of dead Russian soldiers, bitterly seeing those in your country who are ‘soft’ on Russia as not just wrong or nuisances but traitors and possibly paid by Moscow. Be prepared to be feeling emotions beyond anger, to find callousness has become part of your prism. You will be drawn in. Conflict and War are most adept at justifying; the shock being you will believe, In This Case, it was right to embrace them. If you ever thought you were angry over something outside of your own personal life, now you are stepping up (or down-depends on your viewpoint) a piece. Beware how you tread; an emotional solution the Ukraine could became your template for problems at home. You might well feel fatigue at some stage, taking comfort when the news slips down the ratings…’Can’t be so bad anymore?’ Really?

Those words disturb you? Do you feel I have stepped too far into incitement, a tabloid rabble-rouser, safe in his age and home? Are you, instead nodding your head and invoking battle criesIf You Want Peace Prepare For War’, ‘Democracies Don’t Start Wars. We Finish Them,’ ‘Justifiable War. It’s In The Bible’ (it’s not actually -Augustine of Hippo might have been the first to write on the subject). Or are you shaking your head and thinking What is he on about? I don’t understand where he is going with this?’. Perhaps you are there gnawing on your lips and saying ‘Well. Yes. But there has to be a better way. There must be. Surely we can’t keep on killing. Can we?’. There we are then. You, me, others; drawn into in a confused internal conflict where principals, ethics we are told about and the ever raw emotions collide, maybe merging in pairs or a trio only to fly apart like some of the more exquisite subatomic particles, or remain in constant antagonism. Whichever; they will plague us with a constant restlessness, even if that be only a far off rumbling of someone else’s storm.

You might cryTested? I did not sign up for this!’ Well sorry soldier, The Human World’s dynamics has the monopoly on this particular conscription, switch on some communication,  step, outside the door. Yep. You’re drafted. Even trying to be detached is some kind of statement. Your only other option is Hermitage while trying to avoid the Media finding out about you and placing you in today’s circus side-show.   

Regrettably there are no test-papers, no Yes/No/Maybe forms to fill in or on-line courses for you to tackle to see if you have passed as an In-Tune Human. (We don’t count social media for this circumstance, there are too many opportunities for pollution by those who wouldn’t even qualify for consideration to try the test; they come from Right, Left and up underneath). Thus you justifiably ask ‘You are telling me an awful lot of grim stuff. Is that all you are dealing in this time. Some Old Testament prophet re-enactments?’ 

Well, maybe. Or look at it this way. This is a journey. The weather is unsettled, make sure you carry an umbrella, a hat, and a shower proof jacket in a back-pack. Ones woven with judgement, perception and reflection. Unsettled weather. Best carry a bottle of cool reason ease the parched feeling brought on by the sudden heatwave of anger. Take opportunities to find yourself some shelter to get out of the extremes; wait for the breaks, indulge yourself in the respite. If you can grasp a short span of calm and understanding, a wish to be charitable or helpful in some positive and constructive way, thus you are coping, you are not destroying. ‘So far so good’; ‘I could have done worse’ ;’I’ll know better next time’  Maybe not the most positive of statements or evaluations, but, in testing times perpetual excellence leads to burn out, or worse Arrogance – the doorway to…..too many bad choices.

To conclude The Testing will not end in the foreseeable future. Your continued, dogged, sanguine efforts to help the victims and stand against oppression mixed with the realisation we are all fated to stumble at times, not living up to expectations; these will be part of the way upwards and outwards. Surviving and then washing away this latest deluge of the dross of Ignorance and Aggression.

Take care of yourselves folks. You are a precious resource.


15 thoughts on “As Legions Before Us. We Will Be Tested

  1. Wow, Roger. I see now why you were struggling with this one, why two versions landed in the bin. You and I have discussed before that ‘fatal human flaw’, and here you have identified it quite well. And yes, we all have it to one degree or another, although some … many … perhaps most … would deny that it is so. Once we see ourselves clearly, see how that flaw sometimes drives our actions, our words, then we have three choices: try, try, try to do better, to be better; or close it out of the mind and deny that we are flawed; or … give up altogether. Humans have much that is good in their psyches (most of them, anyway), but when we are forced to stop and see the other side of our coin, it’s not so easy. However, until one sees a problem, one doesn’t move to even try to correct it. VERY thought-provoking post, my dear friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are quite right about the three choices Jill.
      This post started off when Face Book for one week allowed folk to say it was ok to kill Putin; then I noticed folk on other platforms who previously espoused a pacifist outlook or were restrained in their comments either saying outright or suggesting it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Those instances set the wheels in motion, but it wasn’t enough to point out that trend. That would have been like saying ‘See I was right all along’ and that would not cut it. It had to be about all sides of our Human Condition and how as individuals we are prone to change.
      Thanks for sticking with it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • These days, I’m not sure of much when it comes to human nature, but one thing I am sure of is that humans are never simple creatures. The complexities are mind-boggling and I applaud you for being able to delve deep … I try, but I find my anger overrules my wisdom far too often.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It’s been a peculiar 12 months, my anger seemed to by a kind of pragmatism. That divides up depending on who I’m looking at. Say, for instance:
        1. Putin- Yeah well you would try it wouldn’t you. Always dancing to one of the less pleasant Russian tunes.
        2. Excuses makers for above said, be they right or left…Useful idiots; contempt….go and talk to the Ukrainians. (Sometimes they bemuse me, depends how clumsy they are)
        3. MAGA- Yeah, yeah. You are not fooling anyone…small town white racists.
        4. Worried and angry people: This is how it works folks.
        5. Conspiracy folk- Oooh it’s play time.
        Then try to stop sounding like I’m a know-it-all.
        Really strange 12 months

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sigh … yeah, I can relate. Like a pendulum, I vacillate between anger (manifests as grumpiness) and depression (manifests as “I’m just tired, leave me alone”) I thought once we rid ourselves of Trump, we would begin to heal the rift, but instead it continues to widen. I’ve lost any hope of “peace” in this country or any other … Switzerland, maybe. Yep, a really strange year with more to come.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sadly Trump was but a symptom.
        ‘Peace’ as we knew it was a period the West was passing through, not so much for the rest of the world.
        This is now a age when The Grown Ups are needed. We can no longer indulge the freaks and circus clowns of both Right and Left.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve nothing against change … positive change. These days, though, the changes I see are taking us backward toward the dark ages. The dark ages with 21st century communications. Shudder.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: We Did Not Want To Be Here. And Yet We Are | Writing Despite Computers and Programmes

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