H is for…

Apologies if this is a rant, but we are talking about massive destruction of human life. For the dverse prompt, Hiroshima and all its associations.

I have no wartime anecdotes, no losses to report. I am one of the lucky people whose family was never in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have never lived under occupation, been conscripted or deported, but that changes nothing of my hatred of war and more specifically, those who monger it, profit from it and revel in it. There is no point in hoping for peace, no point hoping that we will ‘learn’ from the horrors of the past, because ‘we’ do not count. Those who count see only the aircraft sold, the submarines ordered, the jobs created, prosperity and their continued popularity. Somebody made money out of producing Zyklon B after all.

To my knowledge, no politician who has cried out his splendid, uplifting speeches to resounding applause calling for a ‘just’ war, has ever joined the front line to fight it.

In the summer field

a hawk swoops­—

the whine of missiles

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Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

59 thoughts on “H is for…”

    1. I’ve never heard a missile, but I’m sure it’s a case of luck, not that I have only lived in countries with powerful and caring governments who would never have allowed such a thing.

    1. I have. The world is just too small to accommodate human stupidity. We are all stuck in our shrinking spaces venting our idiocy on everything within swiping range. The big boys have missiles and threats they can lob further, that’s all.

      1. It worries me that so many people seem to be horrified by the things that have been done in the past, but still believe that we can learn from what happened and not do it again. I’m sorry but I don’t see the logic in that. Elsa Morante ends ‘La Storia’ on a similar note, with the pious intentions at the end of the war, followed by a list of the wars that started after 1945 and the numbers killed. And she died in 1985.

  1. “And I can see those fighter planes. I can see those fighter planes…” –U2, from “Bullet the Blue Sky”

    Your “rant” is the cry of all decent people against the sin crying out to heaven that is war profiteering. I like how you shaped the narrative in your prose from the personal to the abstract. You pull no punches, nor should you. You haunting haiku will stay with me. When I read it, I heard “Bullet the Blue Sky” and had to quote it! Thank you, Jane.

    1. I’m glad you didn’t find it over the top, Frank. I’m never happy with discourse that takes the line of, ‘my country did this for x reasons, and I am behind what my country did.’ Ordinary people the ‘decent people’ don’t decide anything. Individually they might behave like sadistic brutes given the opportunity, but decisions come from the top, from the people who never go out to fight and never have to suffer the consequences of their actions. Even the populists/dictators have opponents, and we all know what happens to them.

    1. Thank you! We keep being told that poets are the great white hope of humanity, but if we just write about roses and lost kittens, we’re not going to make many waves. May as well just offer thoughts and prayers.

    1. You’re very generous, Bjorn. What makes you think they tell the truth once they’ve resigned? They have their egos to cultivate and money to make out of their memoirs. No erstwhile statesman wants to leave a bad image of himself to posterity. They’re not into honesty, just self-glorification.

      1. True. You wonder then how we can ever trust people in high office if they feel bound by ‘raisons d’état’ to keep shtum about the really important things which they or their predecessors have put in place without the people’s knowledge.

    1. Thank you, Lillian. It’s funny but that image of the stooping hawk while the fighter jet roars overhead is one I see quite often. We are about 100 kms as the crow/plane flies to a military air base and sometimes we have the feeling the test pilots aim straight at our place to freak us out. There are always hawks diving into the meadow around the house, oblivious to the big metal hawk.

  2. This hawkish crony capitalism and war machinery would keep the wars going for years. It’s all about blood money.
    A powerful rant, saying something that needs to be said and questioned more often. This complacency has brought us where we are today.
    -HA

    1. It’s a milch cow for the armaments industry. Even if you’re not using them, you have to have them and replace them because they get obsolete, and you can always sell them to the poor sods who are fighting wars all the while keeping up diplomatic relations, organising ‘peace’ talks. It’s organised hypocrisy.

  3. I believe that we can all learn from history and take those lessons in our current life. We can also share these lessons with our children so they will have a better perspective of things. That whine of missiles is scary and I hope I never get to witness it firsthand.

    1. Thanks Grace, and I hope I never hear a missile homing in either. I would like to believe that learning our history teaches us something, so we don’t repeat the horrors of the past, but I don’t. So far all we have learned is how to kill more people more efficiently. I’m never sure what there is to learn anyway. How do I avoid another Hiroshima or Holocaust? How does anyone? We learn from mistakes, hopefully, and don’t repeat them because it’s in our best interest not to. Human atrocities arise not from mistakes but from ugly and hateful intentions that millions find acceptable, necessary even. Education maybe? But it hasn’t borne its fruits so far.

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