Saturday, 9 August 2014

A day of melancholy

 As  I look out from my kitchen window out over my garden, my little piece of earth , my home, I realise how lucky I am.

Yes lucky, and although the sun may be shining too, I'm also feeling rather melancholic this morning.
This week has marked the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War 1, a world I've been immersed in for quite a while. I've made lots of features about how the war affected people and places in Leicestershire and Rutland in those dark days and how millions of people worldwide  had to cope with loss and of their loved ones .

This week, I've also organised a series of outside broadcasts from around our patch to reflect what went on, and how the anniversary has been marked.

On Monday we were out in Loughborough at the Carillon, the monument to nearly 500 people from the town who were killed during the First world War.

A service of remembrance was held in front of rows and rows of personally inscribed crosses

On Wednesday we were at the War Memorial in Leicester's Victoria Park. Unlike most others, this beautiful monument, designed by Lutyens , has no names engraved on it, but there were about 12,000 men who died from Leicester .

And as you stand with your back to the memorial, you look down Peace Walk which goes down towards the city. All along the walk are other memorials, some very small, very simple,  to the Women of both World Wars, to the Indian men who fought , to those from other parts of the Commonwealth who fought, and there at the top of the walk is the Hiroshima Tree.  A tree to commemorate the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And yesterday we were out at the small museum  in Hinckley  where a quarter of the town's menfolk went off to fight.

And as we've marked the start of what was called "the war to end all wars" and reflected on the senseless slaughter, we've been bombarded with the news from the Middle East where thousands are  being killed now. Men, women and children are dying because of what religion they follow, or simply because where they live, by those who don't care about human life or the consequences of their actions, today or in the future.

I abhor the violence in Gaza, in Syria and in Iraq and as I write this there are tears in my eyes as I think of what's going on those countries. I'm frightened for those ordinary people at risk there trying to live normal lives, or just survive, whether they be Palestinians, Jews, Christians , Kurds or Muslims. I'm horrified about what murderous acts are carried out in the name of religion or otherwise, by terrorists, governments or organisations , and wonder how peace can ever  prevail.

Not for the first time, I 'm thankful that I live in such a tolerant society here in England. There are many of us from different  faiths and cultures all over the world living here in Leicestershire -from war torn Europe, the Caribbean, and more recently, from Somalia, Ruanda, Zimbabwe, from India, Pakistan, from Afghanistan.

The thought that any of us could be targeted, punished or killed for who we are, or who we choose to worship here is incomprehensible, yet for thousands of people elsewhere  it's a harsh, evil reality.

And so as we've all be marking with sorrow those events of a hundred years ago, and understand the terrible consequences of that war, I shall pray to my God for peace today in 2014.

It 's difficult to see what can be done or how it will be achieved. It seems hopeless. I feel helpless  but I shall hope with all my heart  that humanity, moderation and sense will eventually come in Iraq, in Gaza ,in Syria, in Afghanistan.

In the meantime, the killing of innocent, ordinary people continues, so perhaps you'll forgive a not so normally cheerful blog today.



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