I hope all of you are enjoying the Christmas period, when Christians celebrate the birth of Our Lord and many non-Christians take the opportunity to have family gatherings or just relax for a few days.
It happened that I was finishing the draft of my next First World War novel – Our Land of Palestine -and I wondered again at the utter futility of war. Why after all these centuries, do supposedly intelligent governments of supposedly civilised nations still persist in sending their young men and women out to kill and maim young men and women of other nations? You would think that after so many thousands of years of experience we would come up with a better way of settling disputes, but no, we resort to killing.
Our Land of Palestine is set in the Middle East – hence the name and behind the obvious story of derring-do, bravery and foolishness, there are some serious questions of nationalism, ownership and the sheer cynicism of powerful men and powerful nations who use others as pawns in their own machinations. The Palestine campaign of the First World War has been all but forgotten in the current feast of centenary remembrance, but it was a theatre whose repercussions are still with us. It was because of that campaign that Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Saudi Arabia were created; in other words, much of the Middle East.
Born in the bloodshed of war, they have seldom been at peace since. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the individual states, surely it is time that the ordinary people of that area were given a fair chance of a peaceful life? It does not matter what race, religion or creed they belong to, but in this most Holy time of the year, let us hope for a brighter 2015 for them all and an end to bloodshed, whoever is to blame.
May God, by whatever name he is called, bless us all.