Up Front 04/03

There is a feeling of grim resignation now that war has begun. Although the inevitability of it seemed inescapable for so long, many hoped that the madness that seemed to have gripped leaders around the world would somehow, at the last minute, dissipate, and we would be pulled back from the brink. Now what seemed unthinkable is underway and we hold our breaths. Dissenters hold their tongues – silenced by fear of being branded unpatriotic or even traitors. Leaders dream of how history will describe their mighty deeds, while millions who protested are temporarily silenced – slowly coming to the realisation that in ‘the big picture’, they are powerless. One of the many emails I received in the run up to war highlighted a quote from someone convicted of war crimes during the Nuremberg Trials, “…voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Whatever the rights and wrongs of this war and the resultant divisions in the UN, Europe and even at home, we now have to move forward, treat the emotional wounds and rebuild relationships with our neighbours. Division in Europe can only benefit the superpower and writing an epitaph for the UN may prove premature, when the problems ahead, brought about both by war and other causes, only highlight the need for shared action across even the most belligerent frontiers. How our leaders cope with these needs remains to be seen. In our house it looks as if we will be doing our rebuilding in pink, after the birth of our fourth little girl, Hebe Iona.