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Fri Feb 25, 2022, 03:35 PM

War Children

" “Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children . . . We could not, so help us God, do otherwise . . . thinking of the Land of Burning Children.” Then came the lines that tore through the consciences of many like me. “How many must die before our voices are heard, how many must be tortured, dislocated, starved, maddened . . . When, at what point, will you say no to this war?” " -- Daniel Berrigan, quoted by James Carroll (link below)


https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/daniel-berrigan-my-dangerous-friend



My daughter called today, one of several who expressed outrage about Putin. Three people also visited me today, unscheduled, who are similarly outraged. My daughter said she was frustrated, because she could not identify anything she could do to make the madness stop. My cousin is upset by film of frightened children, huddled in a bomb shelter.

That reminded me of Daniel Berrigan's poem from a bomb shelter in another "country" that a large country declared existed, and sending up peace-keeping forces. A few weeks after that, he led the group to destroy draft records, explaining it with the above quote. I have the pleasure of communicating with Daniel and Phillip in the 1980s, and their example opened up a new world of thought for me.

A foreign power had done the same thing Putin is doing today on the island of most of my ancestors. Some of my relatives on our island fought and died in the resistance. A distant relative from a US city used to deliver goods to his friend Bobby Sands. My ancestors had been active in the war for their nation for generations. But contact with the Berrigan brothers both allowed and forced me to re-evaluate my thinking. Not about self-defense, mind you. But about war as a historic ball & chain that the human race drags along, with the corpses of burned children, to paraphrase some poet.

I saw on FB some people saying, "Yes, but what about _____?" I taught my children, by the age of five, that if I was discussing their behavior, it was unacceptable to say, "Yeah, but what about ____?" My son who works with kids in crisis at a school tells me that lesson is one that he frequently uses with teens. I find it pathetic that some adults' thinking is still stuck in the weak mindset. I suppose a good argument could be made that this isn't really "thinking." Some are incapable, for example, of recognizing the differences between Gorbachev in 1991 and Putin today.

In talking with my 92-year old maternal Aunt, I am reminded that in some distant chapter of our family's history, a Ukraine girl really knocked one of our grandfather's out. I am not saying that this was the root of McCartney's line in his classic "Back in the USSR." But it was similar. Two former heavyweight champions -- the Klitschko brothers -- and a current heavyweight champion, Oleksandre Usyk, are currently in Ukraine, supporting the resistance. Vitali Klitschko is, of course, the mayor of Kiev. These are all good men. Yet even on internet boxing forums, some Trump supporters insult them today. Asswipes.

I have, for years, though that our country was on the path to experiencing "the Troubles" that Ireland did. It seems likely to me that, for years to come, the people of Ukraine will have a similar experience. Children will grow up suffering from the hell of war. Like my daughter, I wish I could make it stop. But reality is knocking on the door. I told my daughter -- and everyone else that would listen -- the most important thing we can do now is to become fully invested in working for Democratic Party victories at all levels in November. For the only option is that the republican party, now Trump's party, supports Putin's violence. I do not think that all republicans at the grass roots are good with that. Nor do I pretend that all Democratic politicians are "perfect." But, as Rubin used to say, it's the difference between shit and sugar.

Hang in there. Take care of yourself. I split my television time between "news" and coverage of the theater-popcorn murder trial. We are currently in a theater of the absurd, and the unsettling previews have ended. The movie has just started. Be safe.


H2O Man

11 replies, 444 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply War Children (Original post)
H2O Man Feb 2022 OP
world wide wally Feb 2022 #1
H2O Man Feb 2022 #2
Saoirse9 Feb 2022 #3
H2O Man Feb 2022 #4
Saoirse9 Feb 2022 #8
H2O Man Feb 2022 #9
Saoirse9 Feb 2022 #11
Hekate Feb 2022 #5
H2O Man Feb 2022 #6
NBachers Feb 2022 #7
H2O Man Feb 2022 #10

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 03:43 PM

1. Always wise words

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Response to world wide wally (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 03:48 PM

2. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 03:49 PM

3. I can't help being glued to the news

I want NATO and the rest of the world to teach Putin a lesson.

Little Hitler wanna be.

I would love to see him leave Ukraine with his tail tucked.

A girl can but dream.

Thank you for the thoughtful essay.

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Response to Saoirse9 (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 03:50 PM

4. I wish that

someone in Putin's circle would step up and do the right thing.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 07:47 PM

8. And blow his tiny head off his shoulders.

Sorry that probably wasn't what you meant.

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Response to Saoirse9 (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 07:54 PM

9. Actually, it is.

It's exactly what I mean.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 08:15 PM

11. From your keyboard to God's ears

He just needs to be dead.

[link:
?s=20&t=Ilrfd9QrUBbycIvBkUVVsA|

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 03:52 PM

5. Good to see you

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Response to Hekate (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 03:53 PM

6. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 04:05 PM

7. I agree-donate, support, and work to elect Democrats. It's the answer to "What can I do?"

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Response to NBachers (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 08:01 PM

10. It definitely is.

I saw that Ben Sasse actually told the truth today about Putin. Too bad he never spoke up about Trump.

Yet we know that those republicans who might dare speak against the thought that Putin is a genius, as Trump recently said, cannot be trusted to harness their party on the domestic front. We have an opportunity to not only bring about Democratic Party victories come November, we can provide an option for actual conservatives who don't worship Puyin and his tactics. And I'm not suggesting our party only running any one type of Democrat. But that we all work for the variety of candidates we run.

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