[ by Charles Cameron ]
I like the idea of seven generations as a timeline to work with: it’s mid-range, and it confers a sort of limited immortality on the world around me, without being too bothered about me and my personal survival. On the other hand, it’s an “over the horizon” kind of thinking, and I once heard the suggestion that when in a four-and-a-half tatami room, I should confine myself to four-and-a-half tatami thinking.
An alternative approach is to leave everything else out of a given picture, and concentrate on what happens to children.
I’m not suggesting “seven generation”, “four-and-a-half tatami”, or “children only” thinking should be the only approaches we take, just that they may add valuable insight…
In which spirit: Forget, for a moment, enmity: here are two horrors…
These two things have struck me as particularly horrible in my browsing over the last few days. The first – assuming the Guardian is quoting the Pakistani intelligence official correctly, and that the official knows what he’s talking about – is the sort of thing we might not, as the saying goes, “wish on our worst enemy” – but it happened to our enemy’s child, a girl, twelve years old:
Osama bin Laden’s 12-year-old daughter watched as her father was shot dead by American special forces, a senior Pakistani intelligence official has told the Guardian.
The girl, who was found at the scene of the raid by Pakistani security services, is being cared for at a military hospital having been wounded in the attack. She has been questioned about the sequence of events during the raid on Sunday night.
No blame, as the saying goes – but for that child, it’s a double tragedy.
And the second?
I know how excited my own sons get when a new action-figure toy from the Halo line arrives in the household – so I dread to think how a toy like this might turn younger minds, as yet perhaps innocent of violence and hatred, towards the “heroism” of jihad…
It is childhood I am grieving:
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By & by, nor spare a sigh…
— Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, from his poem Spring and Fall, to a young child