My generation also has deeply ingrained in our beings the reality of the oceans of blood, the stench of hatred flowing from the ovens and ruins of the Second World War.
We grew up very aware of the First World War as well, for our homes had within them veterans from both wars; ships came across the oceans after both wars with the traumatized relatives who had somehow survived the carnage.
There have been more than 90 wars between various countries since 1945, some lasting barely a week, some still ongoing, and in the same time period about as many civil wars and revolutions. The UN by the way only counts in either category those conflicts which cost at least 1,000 lives a year.
The internal war in Syria bypasses that mark a hundred times over and yet no where have we seen the same intense international reaction as with the current Russian invasion of the Ukraine, the same Russians who sustain the blood thirsty Syrian regime.
When Italy invaded his country the then Emperor Haile Selassie travelled to the League of Nations, a creature of the Allies after WWI, to appeal for help.
If you can find the grainy newsreel footage it is shameful how this man, pleading for the lives of his people, was treated.
Warning the members of the League they would be held accountable by God and history the Emperor stressed ‘it is international morality that is at stake.’
The failure of the League then of the former WWI allies to act, the years of blather instead of concrete action allowed Hitler to progress from moving into the Sudetenland all the way to Poland; by the time the Allies did act decisively seventy years ago this coming June and eventually crushed the Nazis, over fifty million human beings, on the battlefields, in the cities and most horrifically in the ovens of the death camps, had paid the price.
I am NOT advocating war.
I AM advocating that, frankly, the nations of the world man up and have the moral courage to tell Putin and every other bully on the planet: NO MORE!, and find effective, hopefully non-military ways of implementing the ‘no more.’
The anguish of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, Syria, and North Korea – take a map and look at the numerous countries around the world where violence, oppression, death camps, hatreds dominate – MUST be the anguish of every Christian.
Anguish without anger, without hatred, without a desire for vengeance or to punish in a way which sows the seeds of resentment and future conflicts; anguish which is the pain experienced by a loving heart in absolute solidarity with other who is my brother, my sister; anguish which is the stirring of love’s imaginative creativity to find ways of bridging the gulf between opposing peoples; anguish which hears the cries of the oppressed in Russia, understands the lack of freedom in a country yet to experience democracy; anguish that in prayer 24/7 pleads with the Father of us all in the Name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit to heal all religious, ethic, social, cultural hatreds and greed; anguish which heeds the request of Our Lady of Fatima that we pray the Rosary every day for peace.
Yes like many I remember the anguish of October 1962.
I remember as well we all prayed.