Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Black v White

I awoke at 3.30am to the beautiful sound of a blackbird singing in my garden. As the dawn chorus began this was followed by a white dove.

Of the two which had the best song ?  The blackbird without a doubt.

Of the two which is the most pleasing to look at ?  Marginally the white dove ?

Blackbird v White Dove ? Which is the best ? Impossible to pick one and that is a stupid question to ask. Both are special, both are life forms, both are important. Both have qualities of their own.

As part of my writing for MILTON DREAMS THE CITY THAT NEVER WAS I went yesterday to my local war memorial. These are the names recorded there:

1914 – 1918: Henry G Arber   William Caldwell   Douglas G Chadwick   Harry Day   Cyril Dickens   Harry Goss   John W Guntrip   Francis W Gurney   William H Hanton   Walter james   Edward H Keyte   Frederick J King   Edwin W Leonard   Cecil Selby Lowndes   Lawrence Meacher   Stanley J Morris   George S Palmer   Walter W Perry   George H Rose   William J Shouler   Albert Spring   Arthur Stairs   Herbert G Staniford   James F Steene   Thomas C Tooth   Percy C Troughton   John F Wallsgrove   George West   Benjamin W G Ward  Eric H Markham

1939 – 1945:  Richard E Ayres   Frederick B Brown   John Catterall   William Calver   Harry D Davis   George J Essa   Glyn Hankins   John W Jones   Albert E Knight  Leonard C May   Edgar C Mynard   Alec Peackock   David F Sinfield   Leslie F Smith   John P Whitley   Donald Baker   James S D Tompkins

2006 Afghanisan:  Ross A C Nicholls  

Names, many of them died more than one hundred years ago. When we celebrate Armistice Day we remember the dead as a group and not, I would suggest, as individuals. We did in the past but that is in the past.

From those names there are two who came from wealthy and influential families. Are they any more important than others ?

A while ago I visited the site of the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge. There on the memorial were names of those who had lost their lives. Names. That's all they were. I then visited the graves in the cemetery where the names became people. Honestly, tears filled my eyes as I looked at the ages of those who had dies. Seventeen - Eighteen - Nineteen. Some in their twenties but few older.  The lives became real.

Yesterday another 154 people died from covid 19 and yet the government thinks we can move to normality on 4th July and reduce the social distancing rules.  Never mind the 4th July it's all happening now !

Perhaps if each day the names of those who have lost their lives were published in the front page of every newspaper they may become real people and those sad individuals demanding pubs re-open can be put in their proper place.

Black Lives ?  White Lives ? ALL LIVES.  Just as you can pick out differences between the blackbird and the white dove it is impossible to say which is the better. so it is with lives. ALL LIVES MATTER.  The lives on the war memorial still matter, the lives lost more than one hundred years ago at Vimy Ridge still matter. The lives lost yesterday matter. Boris Johnson and your motley crew of failing politicians open your eyes and start to recognise this fact.

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