If Only……

..The Bible had been an autobiography. After the killings in Christchurch and those in Sri Lanka a few days ago, I can’t help thinking that God must really regret not making his intentions for the human race clearer. I’m not trying to make light of those two terrible atrocities but I do wonder how much longer mankind will continue to maim and kill in the name of religion.

..The Bible had been an autobiography. After the killings in Christchurch and those in Sri Lanka a few days ago, I can’t help thinking that God must really regret not making his intentions for the human race clearer. I’m not trying to make light of those two terrible atrocities but I do wonder how much longer mankind will continue to maim and kill in the name of religion.

From the Crusades to the Muslim Conquests, from the Protestant Reformations to the troubles in Northern Ireland and 9/11, millions upon millions of people have died because they believed that ‘their’ God was ‘better’ than other Gods – are we really so stupid? Every single religious book speaks of peace and yet that seems to be the one message that has been forgotten in the desire to prove others wrong. What do you think? Will we ever learn?

 

I’d be interested to know your thoughts……

Lisa x

FOWC: Mitigate

“Mr Reid, are you ready to make your opening statement?”

Simon Reid took a deep breath and then put his hand to his head to make sure that his wig was on straight, this case was being televised and he was damned if he was going to be filmed looking anything less than completely professional especially as he was up against Marty Jackson.

“Mr Reid, are you ready to make your opening statement?”

Simon Reid took a deep breath and then put his hand to his head to make sure that his wig was on straight, this case was being televised and he was damned if he was going to be filmed looking anything less than completely professional especially as he was up against Marty Jackson. That man was like a Doberman, handsome, sleek and alert and Reid had always felt like a terrier next to him; excitable, snappy but canny in his own way. He would never have Jackson’s style and presence but he could fight with the best of them; he got to his feet.

“I am, thank you your honour. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the details of this case are complex in the extreme but at it’s root we have murder, plain and simple and it’s your job to determine whether the man before you in the dock is guilty. The prosecution will argue that John Durham is personally responsible for the deaths of over 200 men and women”

Reid paused for a moment, his lively blue eyes scanning the faces of the jury. As he had hoped, their look was one of universal shock. All details of this case had been kept away from the press until today and it played to his advantage; they were staring at the man in the dock in disbelief. John Durham was well known to them, with his chiseled good looks and startling green eyes he was the media’s darling and his mellifluous voice could charm even the most hardened journalists.

“Each of these deaths was pre-meditated, which is why this is a charge of murder and not manslaughter, and each and every one has left a grieving family who cannot understand why this man in the dock before you took the actions that he did. These families want justice and it is up to you, ladies and gentlemen, to give it to them. During this trial, you will be shown photos that you will no doubt find highly distressing, broken and ravaged bodies, burned beyond recognition; these are John Durham’s victims”

There was a sharp intake of breath from many in the courtroom that seemed to blow around it like an autumn wind; no-one spoke as the Judge had warned before the trial began that anyone creating a disturbance would be ejected. Reid paused in his rhetoric once again to let his words sink in and looked over at his opponent, Jackson, but he was giving nothing away, his expression unreadable, eyes facing front.

“The defense will try to convince you that one man  could not be responsible for all these murders and that his accomplices should be tried along with him but we will prove that the blood of these men and women has stained this man’s hands alone. It is John Durham who must suffer the consequences of his actions for it was he, and no other, who set this play in motion and he who must answer to the families of his victims”

Durham looked stunned as he listen to these words. He had been under public scrutiny for long enough that he could keep his head high but the tension was showing in the muscles of his jaw and his famous green eyes were dark and strained. His hand picked at a stray thread on his shirt, plucking at it over and over; even this small sign of stress was picked up by the hawk like cameramen who lined the back walls of the courtroom.

Reid gathered his robes beneath him and retook his seat, confident that his opening remarks had had the desired effect; everyone in the room, aside from the Judge and the other lawyers, was in a state of shock, unable to take in the enormity of what had been said.

“Mr Jackson, would you care to address the jury?” The Judge looked to the defense barrister to make his own opening statement.

Marty Jackson was a skilled orator and was known, to his peers, as a dangerous opponent. He never raised his voice and was never seen with a hair out of place but he could tear a witness to shreds in minutes so that they were tripping over their own words and doubting their recollections. However, this was different. This was not a man accused of murder, this was a celebrity accused of multiple murders and there was only one way he could begin if he were going to undo the damage caused by Reid’s opening remarks. He rose and turned to face the jury.

“John Durham is the Prime Minister of Great Britain, he is the man that the over-whelming majority of you voted for” Jackson watched as they shuffled in their seats like children caught in the act of doing something naughty, feeling the seed of guilt by association that he’d strategically planted.

“We are a country at war” he continued “and John Durham….”

“No, Mr Jackson, I’m going to stop you right there” The Judge’s voice rang out clearly across the courtroom

“Your honour, with respect, this is most improper” Jackson was shocked and glanced across at Reid who also had a look of disbelief on his face; a Judge interrupting opening statements was unheard of.

“I realise that Mr Jackson but this country has been in a state of war for almost 50 years now because, historically, a collective, a Government, cannot be held responsible for the death of its soldiers when in combat. However, there is always only one deciding mind, one man or woman who will give the order to fight and, in this case it was John Durham. I’m sorry Mr Jackson but, in this case, there will be no mitigation, your client is to be tried for murder……”

Written in response to the fantastic one word prompt from Fandango, albeit delivered a little late..

Lisa x

#FOWC: Advanced

The war had been raging on for more than a century; a country, once a bastion of hope and promise was slowly but surely being destroyed. It’s vast territories were becoming increasingly uninhabitable as bombs tore apart the earth, the chemicals contained within poisoning every living thing within minutes.

The war had been raging on for more than a century; a country, once a bastion of hope and promise was slowly but surely being destroyed. It’s vast territories were becoming increasingly uninhabitable as bombs tore apart the earth, the chemicals contained within poisoning every living thing within minutes. Millions had lost their homes and many resorted to savagery just to survive; there was no help offered to the homeless or the starving. The concept of family had long since been abandoned, there was now loyalty only to the Crown or the State….

aftermathA decrepit and filthy old man had crawled into the basement of what had once been a famous apartment store; he faintly remembered the opulence and the tantalising aroma in the great food halls. His stomach growled pathetically, it was many days since he had eaten and he knew that, if he didn’t find food soon he would perish as so many loved ones had perished before him. He had lived for 115 years and was one of the very few who could recollect the time before the war….

The State had ruled. Officials were elected by the people and, after a certain time in office, they were replaced by others who had newer and fresher ideas. This system had worked well for hundreds of years and then one came who had called himself King. Like all the others before him he had been elected; he’d had a power and charisma never seen before and many were quick to follow him. He promised great change; no longer would the country’s great wealth be shared with it’s neighbours, it would be kept and used to create prosperity for all who dwelt within it’s borders….

For a couple of years everything progressed well and the old man could dimly remember having a sense of pride in his country; like others, he enjoyed the wealth and comfort that the new King had delivered. However, things began to change. Families who had lived in his community quite peacefully and happily suddenly began to disappear. At the beginning of the Kings’ reign the borders had been closed to any that couldn’t significantly contribute to the economy, he’d explained that it was for the benefit of the whole population and he was believed. He wanted his people to be protected and insulated from potential intruders into their idyllic world, he said, and they felt secure. Then he wanted to rid the country of anyone who was not at least 2nd generation as they could not possibly have true loyalty and that was when the old man’s neighbours started to disappear…

The King’s power grew and his subjects grew richer but many were no longer content. Their communities were changing and they were losing good friends in the process. People who were 2nd generation were being questioned and forced to take tests to prove that their loyalty lay with the King. The majority were allowed to stay but a great tax was levied upon them, it was felt that they hadn’t been resident long enough to really contribute. There was a whiff of fear in the air….

The tax was eventually expanded to include all 3rd generation families, about half the population. The old man thought that was around the time of The Divide; some grew ever richer and some increasingly poorer, some neighbourhoods flourished in great luxury and some collapsed into slums. The rich paid for trainers and plastic surgeons to keep their youthful looks and their healthy bodies while those on the other side of The Divide succumbed to diseases that were thought long eradicated – rickets, cholera, tuberculosis. It was almost as though the wall that surrounded their entire country had an invisible counterpart; the King’s supporters refused to see and those that were left were too weak to fight…..

101101-F-2185F-234.JPGWas it one year after or two? The old man couldn’t remember, he was so tired now. He could, however, recall the day when the The Divide came crashing down. The State who had once been the King’s supporters could look the other way no longer and they rose up to help those who had been forced into poverty. One side had the fire power that only immense wealth can bring but the other had a fire in their bellies that can only come from oppression and so the war began…

There had been 3 Kings in his life time, each one more ruthless than his predecessor. The State too had changed leaders a number of times and during these transitions their original purpose, to bring the country together once more, seemed to become more and more lost and so the war raged on. The great wall which had once been a sign of security and prosperity was now no different than a prison wall, they were all trapped. Their neighbours would not or could not come to their aid so they were doomed to continue the fight until the money ran out or they were all dead because, it seemed to the old man, that that’s the only way it would end.

He collapsed against a wall, he no longer had the strength to stand, grateful that he had managed to find somewhere peaceful to rest, away from the noise of the fighting. He closed his eyes and thought to himself:

“To think, they once called us the most advanced nation on earth”

He slept.

This short story was inspired by a one word prompt from Fandango who has, once again, set my creative juices flowing so many thanks to him :O)

Lisa x

 

 

 

 

 

Our Fortunate Present

How often do you hear people say that you shouldn’t think about the past? It’s over and done with, the future is only in our imagination and that we should all live in the present to truly appreciate what life has to offer. For the most part I would agree but I watched something yesterday which made me realise how incredibly lucky most of us are to able to live in our ‘present’ and it involved visiting the past….

How often do you hear people say that you shouldn’t think about the past? It’s over and done with, the future is only in our imagination and that we should all live in the present to truly appreciate what life has to offer. For the most part I would agree but I watched something yesterday which made me realise how incredibly lucky most of us are to able to live in our ‘present’ and it involved visiting the past….

I’m not a great one for documentaries normally, I prefer the escapism of dramas about slightly crazy, over-sexed lawyers or fantasies about impossibly good looking, charismatic vampires. However, for some unknown reason, last night I watched a programme about Auschwitz and the Nazi’s plan for exterminating all those that they considered ‘inferior’.

Holocaust 4The degradation and violence that these people suffered is, for most of us, beyond imagining. They were beaten, starved, frozen, made to live in conditions that we would deem cruel to animals. Their captors found ways to kill them that would lessen the suffering of the perpetrators; shooting at close range was considered too traumatising for the soldiers. Can you believe that such a mentality existed? Could ever have existed?

They experimented with types of gas and for their initial tests they used disabled adults and then disabled children; sometimes the tests worked and sometimes they didn’t and they had to resort to other methods. Eventually they refined their techniques and the gas chambers were born; over 3 million people were herded inside to their death.  3 million. That’s more than the entire population of Chicago!

AuschwitzWe all know that Hitler was to blame for these atrocities but how many others were needed to carry out the orders of this madman? Thousands, tens of thousands? No, the German army, at the time of WWII had 13 MILLION soldiers. Almost twice the population of New York were convinced that it was right or acceptable or that they had no choice but to kill their fellow man. How did this happen?

Holocaust 1Yes, it’s all in the past but if we leave it there don’t we risk the same thing happening again? Watching this programme made me realise that, whatever little suffering I’ve had in my life, it’s nothing compared to the mental, emotional and physical torture that these poor souls went through in the name of creating a ‘better’ race. In short, watching this harrowing programme made me realise quite how lucky I am to have the life that I have and my visit to the past made my appreciate my present a whole lot more.

What do you think? Should the past stay in the past? Should we all live for the now? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you

Lisa

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Past Mistakes…..

Torquemada blazed the trail, thousands perished

In the great name of Faith he struck them down, proud

Thomas Cromwell tortured, maimed, broke heretics

In God’s name and the King’s: treason or some such

Torquemada blazed the trail, thousands perished

In the great name of Faith he struck them down, proud

Thomas Cromwell tortured, maimed, broke heretics

In God’s name and the King’s: treason or some such

Bloody Mary turned the tables once again

Three hundred burned alive for not believing

Another Cromwell, O, set brother against

Brother in the name of the Father. Revolt.

Hitler, 6 million more would meet their end

For their beliefs. Omar al-Bashir brought fear

To Darfur. More millions dead, still dying

So Many more names belong here. Remembered

For torment, evil, killing of believers

Of non-believers. Of black and white. Of rich

And poor alike. Death in the name of something

Under a righteous banner, held aloft

We remember. Still. Why do we never learn?

Many people are saying that these are terrible times, with unprecedented violence and persecution and yet history will show us that it has ever been thus. Since time immemorial human beings have been fighting against each other in the name of religion or for their land or their beliefs and what do we have to show for it? Nothing has changed, we’re still fighting, we’ve just found more sophisticated and efficient ways of doing it.  Even after thousands and thousands of years we still haven’t learned to accept each other for who we are………….sad really……….

Lisa

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They……

They are armies, they are bullies

They fight wars, they are terrorists

They persecute, they are gangs

They repress, oppress, enslave

They are armies, they are bullies

They fight wars, they are terrorists

They persecute, they are gangs

They repress, oppress, enslave

They are power, relentless and ruthless

They are destroyers without empathy

Who are They?

Who are We?

 

Lisa x