The Clouds of ASH

Essay by mezabin February 2009

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“Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, women and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley of the whole world our crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace” (Charles Summer).

Whenever I allow myself to drown my mind in the past, I allow the wise words of Charles Summer to flood my mind, wash away my daily tensions and consume all my thoughts and attentions. Many around the world lead comfortable lives, blissfully unaware of the suffering of others, but there are many more sufferers. It seems a lot easier for me to say that there is no-one in the world who understands the pangs of war like I do, and once one has heard my story, one would understand why I’d make such statement, but I’d be lying.

War has touched and ruined the lives of many others as well, be they soldiers or civilians, adults or children, the wealthy or the wastrels. War is many things but it does not discriminate. It will not hesitate to destroy anything in its path which leads one to wonder about the real reasons why man indulges in it. Man spends billons in arms and armies to destroy his own kind and he always destroys himself in the process. History has never witnessed an exception to that as Bertrand Russell has put in, “War does not determine who is right- only who is left.” Man creates war to prove a point, but little does he realise that war only destroys nations and lives, and it left to man himself to pick up the pieces and clean up the mess. It scars physically, figuratively and emotionally, not only for a lifetime but for generations. The real tragedy and true irony of war is that it uses man’s best to do man’s worst. War is a lot like love, easy to start, hard to end and impossible to forget.

Living in war town Palestine, I grew up Surrounded by death, torture, suffering and poverty. The terrible face of conflict taught me many things, but no lesson was more important than perseverance. My people were a nation that clung onto hope and I was proud to be able to call myself a Palestinian. I was only a five-year old boy, but I had seen more that enough bloodshed in my short lifetime. The memories of the death of my mother and brother still send a shiver down my spine to this day, fifty years later. The full moon, in all its pristine beauty, had shone vainly the previous night, bringing in its wake enough light to brighten to the heart of every Muslim that saw it. It was moon of Eid (joyous day), and despite the misfortunes of battle that had darkened our lives, the heart of every Palestinian sand the joyous and sincere praises of Allah (god). Father wanted to leave for the marketplace to buy us new clothes and sweet after the Eidgah (prayer) and I had insisted on joining him. He had finally relented after much persuasion and we had started out early in the morning. Papa hauled me onto his steady shoulders and we waved goodbye to mama and Ahmed, my baby brother. They both looked so happy. It is this image of them that would haunt me for the rest of my life it would be the last time that I would see them alive. Neither they, nor papa, nor I could predict the horrors that lay ahead.

A thunderous explosion rocked the vey core of our beings and shrouded the sky. Dust, fire, blood and flesh painted the heavens a deathly sick red. Our hearts clouded with shock, distress and fear. The bombs shook us to and from all sides as papa and I rushed back frantically. Papa then let out a spine-chilling, mind-numbing and blood-curdling scream. My father had always prided himself on being a calm and composed man, but the sight of the mangled bodies of mama and Ahmed were too much for us to bear. We had lost our family, our reason for living, our home and our peace within a matter of moments. It was a loss that could never be compensated and a void was left that could never be filled. It is the Eid that I would never forget. The Eid I buried my family.

My story is just one of many. Papa and I were not the only whose lives came to a standstill that day. The bodies piled were over my head and the death far exceeded the living. Unfortunate were those who could not be identified and whose pallbearers were strangers to them. The Israelis claimed to be patriots; I say they are liars and patriots always talk of dying for their country, never of killing for their country. I’m fed up to ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in. when the rich wage war, it’s mostly the poor who suffer. We saw the lightning and that was the guns and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns, and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling, and when we came to harvest the crops, it was dad men that were reaped.

I therefore plead with anyone involved in war to stop for a moment and to think of what they are doing and to imagine the number of lives that they are ruining. I beg one and all to reflect on the wise words of the peace-loving Mahatma Gandhi, “Liberty and democracy become unholy when hands are dyed red with innocent blood”Bibliography:The quotes I got from while the story I wrote from the scenes shown on T.V