Do not go gentle into that dark night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
In one or two of my last missives, I’ve looked at the positive side of life, at the out-pouring of joy that was the main feature of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and the camaraderie from the long-awaited NMBS Conference. All very nice, all very positive and lovely.
Back to reality though. I took my daughter and three of her friends to our local big shopping centre this weekend. Dropped them off and then headed for Starbucks (other coffee emporia are available) with the papers and my book. So, the missile hit on the shopping centre in Kremenchuk two days later stopped me in my tracks. You can call it a Special Military Action all you like, Mr Putin. It’s an unjustified war and you are committing war crimes, every single day.
There’s a devastating image of the moment the missile hit the shopping centre. A shopping centre. Where hundreds of people, were just trying to earn a living and to go about their daily lives. Children, obliterated by the blast and being brought out in pieces, an arm at a time. Sorry, if that’s too crass a description for this time of the morning but it’s real, it’s happening and it’s happening right now.
Johnson, for all his faults, and, as you know I believe them to be many and huge, is playing right by the people of Ukraine with his commitment of British weapons to help the Ukrainian army fight. We need to do more. The more the war goes on, the more we are in danger of becoming inured to the sights of death and destruction. We can’t afford to. When you feel you’re getting bit too comfortable, or irritated by something that, in the great scheme of things doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, might I humbly suggest you try and catch the Channel 4 Dispatches programme (the link to it OnDemand is here). It’s the story of the Battle for Kharkiv, as seen through the eyes of the people who lived it and the emergency workers. It will put everything into perspective for you.
And, while I’m on this trajectory, when things get a bit much, when someone in the office is getting on your whatsits, when the guy who cut you up at the roundabout makes an obscene gesture at you, when the supermarket is out of your favourite pasta, think about this lady and be inspired to think about your life differently. Think about your life and be grateful. Think about your life and make every bloody moment count.
RIP @bowelbabe Dame Deborah James