“Look at all the hate…”
You may leave here for four days in space,
But, when you return it’s the same ole place…
Just think of all the hate…”
…from the song: Eve of Destruction, Barry MacGuire @1965)
Unlike former days before avant garde newspapers like the Washington Post or the London Times became available on computer our region of Northwestern Ontario, other provincial areas across our Dominion, would not have known the immediate insanely raw glut of mayhem that raged throughout a school in Peshawar earlier this week. The images were brutal racing LIVE across screens.
Back In time hard core newspapers were sent through presses. Assimilated for distribution, delivered door-to-door throughout neighbourhoods. While newsstands sold dailies as patrons slipped by.
However as satellites across the world streamed reels of chaos blowing apart the lives of children; one could hardly imagine what the afterclap of their fate would render. It evolved into the rawest gun grazed onslaught ever in the history of Pakistan. Shockingly. Disturbingly so available on every news outlet that initially ran the crazed Taliban medieval-like tactics. For they burnt the school’s female principal at a stake. Such a vile cataclysmic event.
It all wove it’s morass of draconian measures after the out lawned Taliban terrorists had scaled walls sneaking into an enclave within an assembly of Muslim students in their school. Students peacefully seated at desks. Bent over term exams. Before they were forever concussed by maniacs storming about. Glaring eyes of hatred spewing gunfire as rapidly as their weapons would discharge. Students ran for cover or exits even as hundreds were mowed down without pity.
During World War Two when the nightmarish blitzkriegs in Europe went in unceasingly our parents would have only ‘heard’ of mankind’s inhumanity to man via radio reports from the BBC. As alarming as those dispatches must have been via voices on radio narrating the chaos. In those times where bombings on land, and torpedoes at sea, were the focus and nucleus of news bulletins there was much still left to the imagination visualizing man’s inhumanity to mankind.
Yet, in Peshawar’s dilemma, an female assistant in a nearby Lady Reading Hospital was at odds trying to console a young boy whose green eyes were the only part of his body capable of moving. His eyes flashed back and forth looking up. He gazed away as if he was looking for an angel on the ceiling to come down to offer help. There were so many wounded and bleeding the hospital ran out of blood supplies.
What the first onlookers saw were student bodies attired in their school uniforms. wearing white orchid shirts beneath the green of their sweaters. Students who were trapped who must have been so dazed, confused, and, overwhelmed as they sank to their doom.
A father observed it appeared the children had been playing with toy guns. Saw bullets everywhere. In their hands, their arms, their limbs, their upturned faces.
Malala Yousafzai, a Muslim female student who was shot in the face by marauding snipers on her way to school only a few years ago, and who recovered miraculously. Then, became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize was so distraught appearing with the media. Her pain was gut wrenching and obvious. Really unable to utter words befitting what she felt. Her silence echoed our own speechless meditations and prayers.
Seeing all this, I thought of a long ago tragedy where Mohatma Gandhi’s Hindus of India suffered an intolerable plight in 1919. When literally hundreds, seeking their own form of independence by staging a peaceful rally, were inhumanly trapped in alley ways and exit routes inside a courtyard in Amritsar. They were levelled by Gattling gun fire evolving into one of the most extreme consequences ever on the subcontinent.
Yet, Gandhi said, “Retaliations do not enter here. For an eye for an eye will only drive the whole blind.” Similarly Martin Luther King echoed this, in his time, “darkness cannot drive out darkness. Hatred cannot drive out hate. Only light can do that. The light of Love to overcome our woes. With help from above.”
Wanting to do something, representing a respectful vigilance, illustrating a touch of our empathy–though not being Muslim also never having been to Pakistan–we planted a little indoor tree.
It is a Malabar chestnut. Placing it next to our bonsoi, and orchids, mixed with holly plants along a wide south sunny window. To encounter, as a symbol, whatever wintry weather blows towards the house rising up off a rather peaceful snowbound tree line at the moment. Facing whatever appears beyond the glass this Yuletide and beyond.
At the same time this represents the same week in December, back in 1843, Charles Dickens first published his Christmas Carol within Victorian England. Sending its well charted story book kindness, and traditional hope, around the world with its rebounding vitality at redemption. Ever since.