Monday, 4 August 2014

What Have We Learned?

Yesterday, like many people in this country and beyond, I attended a church service to commemorate the start of World War I. We remembered those who went to war, primarily the men, and we thought about those left behind, mostly the women, whether mothers, wives or sweethearts. We heard of the bravery of individuals, including those who had the courage of their convictions and refused to fight. And we talked a lot about peace: blessed are the peacemakers. 

But throughout the service, there was one thought running through my head, screaming to get out: we have learned nothing from that terrible conflict, from what went before, or from anything that followed. As we see pictures of plane debris and bodies scattered across an unprotected field in Ukraine; as we read of thousands fleeing civil war in South Sudan; and most of all, as we hear the screams of terrified children caught up in bombing raids in Gaza, I can't help feeling history has taught mankind nothing at all - and we should be ashamed.

In four years time, we will presumably look backwards once more, this time, celebrating the end of the 'war to end all wars'. It would be so much better if we had a peaceful future to celebrate as well. 


  1. It would indeed be great if we were celebrating a peaceful present - and future. Let's live in hope.

    1. But I also feel we need to do something as well as hoping, Margaret - just not sure what that something should be.

  2. I shared the same thoughts. All that energy (and money) spent remembering the horrors of 100 years ago and then carnage continues. Have we learned nothing?

  3. The tragedy is that the horror has deep roots. Go back 150 years and there were hundreds of thousands dying in the American Civil War, often in trench warfare stalemates. Over hundreds, if not thousands of years, humans have been unable to learn... just devise more horrific ways of killing each other. Peace seems so much harder to achieve... yet surely we have the brains to do that?