War : Not In My Name

I wonder when we first start to make war? I remember as a child playing games that were about war. After all my Nanna still had an air raid shelter in her back yard.

It seemed so innocent when I was little. Organising my brothers and the neighbour’s kids into soldiers on different sides. Running around the yard and back street hiding then charging and yelling at each other. Using the shelter as a place to hide. Or the roof as the place to capture. None of us had any idea what war was really like. We had hear stories. And watched TV. War was a game. A competition. I know that none of us realised that war had consequences. That older people spoke in quiet tones about the men who hadn’t come back. They had seen the bomb craters as the bombers dropped the munitions designed to stop us fighting back. Watched the light show of ack ack guns defending the population of our town. What did I or any other child really understand about those.

My mother understood. She hated our war games. Because she had been there. Sitting in that shelter listening to the planes flying overhead. They were on their way to bomb Manchester and Liverpool. Actually the bombs dropped anywhere in between if the pilots were being chased out of the sky. As a small girl, not really much older than me, she had trailed to school with her gas mask box ready to practice another drill to get in the school air raid shelter. I remember her delight in eating fruit. Especially bananas. Because of rationing she didn’t know there were such things. The first time she tasted a banana she was twelve. The war deprived her and everyone else of so much we now take for granted.

I know what she would think about bombing people. She was very clear that aggression was always the wrong way to bring peace.

Whatever the rights and wrongs she always said that people were given voices to live peaceably together. Not to trade insults. As I began to understand that in war people die and don’t come back I also realised that she was very wise. My mum believed that human beings were intelligent. She felt that we could solve anything if we only put our minds to it. That was her answer. That I should be strong enough to find forgiveness for any actions. So that war wouldn’t grab me inwardly. And I wouldn’t live it outwardly. Over my life I have tried my best to live by this principle. Setting my intention to peace even when I felt provoked beyond measure. Reminding myself that any aggressive act I took would eventually rebound on me.

I know that children are influenced by the adults, and the energy, around them. Perhaps I was fortunate to hear of first hand experiences of war often enough to help me work towards a path of peace. Certainly I have held to the ‘Not in My Name’ principle for a very long time. I hold myself responsible for my choices. And I expect nothing less from anyone who claims to govern a country, state, province or town. If an aggressive action happens then the responsible person is accountable. And should own up to it. They should also be prepared to examin their principles alongside their actions. You cannot say you are a person of peace and then fire a gun. I know that there are lots of differing viewpoints. But I prefer to take the simple view. I know that action should have consequences.

Now we have more aggressive actions. There will be consequences. To a child sitting in a war zone life is a harsh place. And peace is very hard to find.

What is that child learning? Will that child, like my mother learn to absolutely reject aggression? Or will that child learn to make war? What will the adults around that child say? Can a person in fear if their life, caught in the cross fire of my gun is bigger than your gun, really advocate peace? I hope so. Because if not the rule of aggression spreads child by child by child. Is that really what I want for my world? For all of the children? And for the children’s children’s children? I’m not in any of the countries directly involved. At the moment. But I’m setting my intention to peace. Sending out the energy of love. And holding on to the hope that all intelligent people will also say ‘Not in My Name’ to war too.

Day 508 of my blogging challenge