hope, pain, and resistance…

November 28, 2006

…or, how I hope that disparate thoughts can form a unity.

On the journey home yesterday, I sat next to a father and his four year old son. We got into conversation simply because I asked him how old the boy was, though the initial British reluctance for stranger dialogue had previously been eroded by my concession of the window seat to the child. I shared how I too was soon to be a father, and then took up the offer of a read of the man’s newspaper. We mentioned the human catastrophe of the Iraqi occupation, and the seemingly never-ending struggle in Palestine/Israel – two stories featured in the day’s news.

The man looked out of the window, and talked about how, when you have children, you feel the pain of these conflicts more keenly, especially as it affects other children.

I can’t, as yet, make a comparison. But should this be true…

***

This morning I caught a few minutes of a television programme looking at the lives of a group of British teenagers turning 16 years old. Each came from widely differing social, ethnic, cultural backgrounds. All the 16 year olds were asked about their thoughts for the future, and one guy talked about how he hopes that, if he has children, they will have all the opportunities he never had, like going to school, and getting qualifications. Another girl said she was scared of the future because she didn’t want her child to have a childhood like she had experienced.

***

“in the dark age in which we are living under the new world order, the sharing of pain is one of the essential preconditions for a refinding of dignity and hope. Much pain is unshareable. But the will to share pain is shareable. And from that inevitably inadequate sharing comes a resistance.”

p.164, John Berger, The Shape of a Pocket, Vintage 2003

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