Watching the news has become an issue again in our household. I don't like Grace being exposed to images of war and violence, but don't feel justified in asking G to turn it onto something else. I too, am horrified as we watch events in Lebanon unfold. We were talking at breakfast yesterday morning about what we'd seen on the 7.30 report the night before. In particular, the self righteous Israeli spokesman, so sure they were standing on the moral highground. G said that it reminded him a little of when a kid is picked on at school and then attacks. And everyone says well, he started it. No allowance being made for the goading that may have prompted the attack. Not that I want to get into right or wrong here...Obviously, it's so much more complicated than that but well, it's sad and depressing.
I've been watching images of mothers, babies and children being loaded onto ships and other transport. These images seem archetypal, despite the modern clothes and strollers and I feel I've seen these pictures many times before. Just imaging leaving my home and maybe other loved ones in a hurry brings a tear to my eye. As does the fear, sadness and sorrow that seems plain to see. Not to mention the physical discomfort of being a refugee. Part of me feels I should watch the news and be informed, the other part of me wants to avoid all media.
I'm also getting this sort of George Orwell, nineteen eighty-four feeling, that it's all the same war, distant with just the names and details changed by some mad bureaucracy. But I do know it's real. Just like I know that during my lifetime there's always been a war going on somewhere or other. I grew up with the Vietnam war, constant Middle Eastern conflict and Northern Ireland on the news in the background. My internal soundtrack features Joan Baez singing Bob Dylan songs. My parents used to play Farewell Angelina on long car trips and I know the lyrics to most of the songs by heart. Although some contain very violent imagery, they used to bring me strange comfort. For example, the second last verse of Farewell Angelina
King Kong, little elves
On the rooftoops they dance
While the make-up man's hands
Shut the eyes of the dead
Not to embarrass anyone
The sky is embarrassed
And I must be gone.
The title to this post is from the opening line of another Dylan song, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, also very apt for these times.