"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Friday, 12 December 2014

World War 1 football match - the Christmas Truce

Much has been made in the UK media this week of the football match which is said to have been played between German and British troops at the first Christmas in the trenches of the First World War; the Christmas Truce. Even warring factions can forget their differences in some circumstances. The said troops were understood to exchange small gifts, and sing carols, as well as playing football together, much to the consternation of their senior officers.
But this is not the first record of a temporary truce from hostilities. In the Crimean War, British, French and Russian troops at quiet times gathered around the same fire, smoking and drinking. In the American Civil War Yankees and rebels traded tobacco, coffee and newspapers, fished peacefully on opposite sides of the same stream and even collected wild blackberries together.
On 29 July 2007 millions of Iraqis, Shia, Sunni, Kurd and Christian,  became united for a brief interlude to rejoice over their football victory against Saudi Arabia in the Asian Cup Final. Shots were fired in the air in jubilant celebration rather than for political squabbling and killing. Iraq had been momentarily unified by eleven footballers. But the euphoria was short lived. In no time the city had reverted to its politically fueled bombings and shootings.
The truce in war has a long tradition and is surely a sign of hope for this world? Are things so very different now? If in dire warring circumstances we can all unite for sport and in No Man's Land, why can we not work together peaceably now for our own futures when the stakes are so very much higher than they were in 1914- 1918?
I have written about this before in this blog and it is also discussed in my first book, Healing this Wounded Earth, in Chapter 3, The Hope of Faith.
Thomas Merton wrote in his lovely book New Seeds of Contemplation:
"If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, his italics, not mine) not in another."

It's Time you knew - by Transition Rachel at YouTube

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