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The thirst for vengeance


Margaret Brown is one of The Resident’s longest standing contributors and has lived in the Algarve for more than 20 years. As well as Point of View, she also writes Country Matters twice a month.

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY together with its associated ceremonies and silences on November 11 never fails to highlight the futility of war. The legacy of carnage and altered lives from the 1914-1918 “War to end all Wars” continues to affect people in the 21st century, children born to those broken families being just old enough to serve in the world war of 1939-1945.

The difficult re-integration into civilian society and adjustment to failed marriages cannot help but influence subsequent generations, nibbling away at acceptable standards of respect and social responsibility. Not only that but the apparent absence of God on the killing fields of France, Belgium and Holland caused many to discard their faith in the mud of Flanders:

The Somme where 58,000 British troops were either killed or badly wounded on the first day, and many other battlefields. I learned that my Father, at 20 years old a Christian and an idealist, left Yorkshire in 1914 as an army volunteer. He returned four years later a cynic and an aetheist. His inability to show love cast a long shadow over our family that resonates even today.

Leaving Church on Remembrance Sunday a friend said “There must be a better way than war”. Sanctions, negotiation, fair distribution of natural resources and the acceptance of ethnic and religious differences could go some way to solving disputes but sadly, the thirst for vengeance is one of the strongest of human emotions.

At The Last Supper Christ said “My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the World gives….” (John 14 v 27): it was a testament of inner and personal peace conferred on all believers, but until justice is seen to be done the desire for revenge will continue to seek satisfaction.