Taking a break from holiday postings for a moment, I feel compelled to make comment on recent events.
The sickening lurch I get every time I read about innocent adults and children being killed by bombs doesn’t go away. I don’t care whether they are called freedom fighters, illegal combatants, or an official national army. If you kill innocent people you are a terrorist. Whether that is Al Qaeda, The US Army, the IRA, The Israeli Army, Hezbollah, The British Armed Forces or Black September. There is no justification, ever, for killing innocent people to satisfy your political leanings.
People are not cardboard cut-outs. People are not nameless figures. Every single person killed in a conflict had parents, friends, carers, lovers, children, siblings or someone who cared deeply about them.
If you have volunteered to join the army, any army, then you know the risks you are taking. But if you are a civilian, a non-combatant, an ordinary, everyday person who is just trying to live their life then you do not deserve to be shot at, bombed, maimed or killed in the name of some else’s beliefs
How can anyone think that killing innocent people will stop a conflict is completely beyond me. If a stray bomb – intentional or otherwise – was to kill my children, then I would happily lay down my life if it meant I could have the chance of revenge on the perpetrators. Every time a bomb or bullet kills a civilian or child in Lebanon or Palestine, then it acts as a recruiting ground for any organisation that wants to get back at Israel.
Of course it’s never the leaders who are in the firing line. It’s never the people who wield the power who have to worry about their children being hit by a stray bullet or missile. These people who make the decisions that will kill hundreds or thousands of innocent men, women and children aren’t the ones who suffer.
There is a part of me that knows that I will die as a result of some else’s conflict. It won’t be anything to do with a cause I support or believe in. I will just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. An unnecessary statistic.
When I heard about the person who was killed by English football thugs who, after England had lost to Germany in a match, decided to take it out on the first German they could find – and it turned out the poor guy was Dutch; or the case of Jean Charles de Menezes who was killed by the police as a suspected Muslim terrorist but was in fact a Brazilian student; I felt a connection deep in my bones that that could have been me.
Going along the lines that a picture speaks a thousand words, I decided I wanted to create a visual image of the idiocy of conflict, where it is the innocent who are most affected, and to try and undermine the apologists who seek to justify and legitimise the killing of children in the name of their cause. So I used the only outlet at my means and spent all day carefully crafting a Bunt Cogs cartoon strip, using the characters I know and love to try and put the point across.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that it will make any difference to anyone. Those who are convinced they are right are not going to be swayed by a cartoon, or even reasoned argument for that matter.
For me, though, it just reinforces my sense that you should never trust those in authority. They do not have your best interests at heart. They do not care if you live or die. We are all just cannon fodder for their personal games.