People move from place to place, some search, some flee and others resignedly take whatever faces them.  For centuries there have been the nomadic survivors creating a way of life that gives attention to both the land and people’s needs; ensuring that the delicate balance is maintained and life continues.  Similarly, for centuries there have been people seeking refuge and safety from attack, abuse, escaping from conflicts and desperate for a life of peace; hounded from their homes through floods, droughts and crying out for food and shelter.  This is nothing new.

What is new is that we can now so effectively terrorise our neighbours and we can do it without leaving the comfort of our own little war offices hundreds of miles away.  Bombings can be done to order, smashing the fragile growth of young children; strutting militias can be directed to rape women and hack down men; and the politicians of the world can play their deadly games whilst the men in the background grow obese on the fare that is bought through the sale of death.  We are all in it for the profit, and we are all are clever people who can string together so many lies that for centuries we believe it is the way of man to destroy another; to cut the flesh so that it bleeds and ensure that only certain lives are worth anything at all.

Under the setting sun, in the cool breeze of an autumn evening there is such a clarity to the air that the distant trees set on top of the hill stand with stone like sharpness against the backdrop of a black, crimson sky.    Close by, the living creatures that hop, spin, scurry and nibble are going about their business and will leave traces for us to find in the dewy morning – a delicate web here, small cavities in the ground there and many mysterious droppings.  In the cold, clear air wisps of departing mist cling to the trees and the dripping can just be heard, as the leaves tremble from the weight of such fine liquid.

photo: courtesy of Maggie Alexander

  So time stands still in the English countryside, as time stood still all those years ago when a young man swam from the banks of the Euphrates, ate dates from the palms that swayed in stately fashion on the outskirts of Baghdad and walked the streets of Kabul resplendent in cheap Afghan coat and even cheaper locally crafted boots: time standing still in a world of magic, of exploration and where the stench of fear was conspicuous only by its absence – a time that connected this emotionally hungry and reticent youth to the World.

Since then there has been progress and the advent of a modern world, where money rules and violence comes in the guise of the smiling politician whose only concern is our security:  and the hooded individuals prepare to shatter their bodies so that others may be broken apart and made grotesquely disfigured, torn and bloodied.  Life becomes even cheaper as the lifeless float face down on to the soft sands of tourist beaches.  We have arrived at that modern world that separates, crystallizes and breaks everything down to its essential components – divide and rule, divide, create enemies, real and imagined, divide and grow fat on the suffering of others.

We do not stand by and wring our hands in a pathetic show of empty concerns, but we blow through our cupped fingers, we blow the winds of change, and they will be irresistible.