The background for this is the conflict in Gaza and Israel. At the centre of the conflict is ideology and belief, yet at the periphery is the greater truth, that those involved in the conflict are genetically from the same stem, very close genetically. It would not be too far a metaphor to call them brothers, but brothers tied up in a conflict which no one seems able to resolve, each intent on the destruction of the other. Hence the reference in this poem to the ancient story of Cain and Abel.
Hamas has pledged the annihilation of Israel, and Israel will not meekly accept this, but it fights indiscriminately, and the children suffer, the massacre of the innocent, another story with resonance here. And killing the innocent never achieves your aim.
And lastly, the title of the poem, and its last lines bring to mind another conflict. There is an episode of Star Trek by the same name, about two races at war with each other because each sees the other as different, and as an enemy. Both these aliens are black and white. Half of their body is black and half white. But one is black on the right side and one is black on the left. Spock suggests that they must have a common ancestor, but they cannot see that, and how close alike they actually are. They are too bound up in the conflict.
You cannot see how alike you are
It is your near cousins that you slay
The genetic distance close, not far
Formed from earth, the same clay
Rockets fired, death alone has reign
It is once again like Herod's time
Massacre of children, mark of Cain
O why can't you see this is a crime?
Your cousins just wanting to destroy
Fire rockets against you, killing more
Never minding deaths of girl or boy
In the never ceasing, endless war
Let this be your last battleground, end all
Lest in pride and arrogance, you fall
André Maurois knew the problem - Maurois was a quotable French author of the early 20th century. One quote of his that came very much to mind on a couple of occassions last week is (in...
2 days ago