Sunday, July 04, 2010

Life and death

I drove through the warm summer evening last night to Zoe’s house in Sheffield with a smile on my face. The last two weeks of hot weather has been wonderful. Life seems easier and freer and so much more relaxed when we’re in a spell of settled summer weather.

Still, I can’t stop thinking about something small and sad that happened yesterday.  i was sitting on the floor below my open study window, with the breeze blowing warm air over my head and into the room, when I heard a thump above me, and I rushed outside, knowing what it was.

One of the best things about our house is the light. My study, and the bedroom above it, has windows facing north and south. But  - and it is a big but - this means that birds see the sky through both the windows and think they can fly straight through. If they are small birds, they do occasionally hit the window, fall to the ground, and then revive, and fly away. This is my younger son holding such a bird, 15 years ago.

jak holding a garden bird

But yesterday, the bird was a big and beautiful thrush. It was lying on the flags under my window with its eyes still open, and its beak opening and closing soundlessly. I lifted it up, but its neck was broken. I laid it under the cotoneaster tree, where it died.


Secondly (and I don’t see it as a total non-sequitur) I need to say how pleased I am that after the attack on the flotilla taking aid to the people of Gaza, world opinion forced the Israeli government to say they would relax the siege a little. I hope they do. The Palestinians in Gaza need food, fuel, medicines, materials to rebuild houses and the infrastructure: and the children need toys. I don’t for a minute imagine that the Israeli government will let Gaza have everything it needs, but you know my mantra – It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

Meanwhile, and in case you didn’t know, Israeli settlers in the West Bank have (for years) been forcing Palestinians off their land, stealing their water, killing their livelihoods, knocking down their houses, and threatening their children. Read this article in the New York Times. It is written by Nicholas D Kristof, a top columnist followed by a million people on Twitter. I am full of hope. Perhaps the publication of this piece will bear fruit in terms of a better understanding of the injustices heaped on the Palestinians by the Israelis, who are in turn supported by the West through the aid that we send.

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