Kyrie, eleison – Lord, have mercy

It is times like these that I wish writing could soothe all the sores that the world bears. Maybe if I could whip up a big enough batch of chocolate brownies then perhaps everything would be all right.

But I can’t, and as much as I wish it could I don’t think it would be enough.

The past couple of days have been too much, every where I turn I see conflict. I see violence and I see mendacity. The latest escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine has spurned another, more immediate incantation of dispute. One that is closer to me, one that draws me in, and one that makes me angry.

And that’s just twitter.

I’ve watched as a few incredibly passionate advocates voice adamant opinions and trade blows by virtue of asserted evidence, disputed claims and the occasional theological aside. That last one as a casual attempt to shut down conversation and prove their point beyond doubt.

And I have nothing to say. A couple of times today I hovered over the unfollow button ready to rid my timeline of their debate. I got even closer to pleading with them to give it a rest, but realised I’d end up drawn into a stream of replies I had neither the time nor inclination to engage in. It’s not that I don’t care, just that I don’t understand, and in that space of incomprehension the vitriol emitted from both sides of the debate pushes me towards a default position of ignorance informed only for a desire for reconciliation.

It places me in the naïve position of calling for an acknowledgement of the wrongs of both sides, it pushes me to call for both sides to cease the fighting. It almost takes me into the realm of Ellie Bartlett’s teacher who in the West Wing responded to her analysis of the problems of the Middle East with the retort “Wrong, it’s because it’s incredibly hot. And there’s no water.”

I am sure that I should be more informed, I am certain I am in no place to enter into the arguments of the rights and wrongs of decades of conflict based on millennia of history. But that doesn’t mean my basic plea lacks validity. There should be less killing.

I can go on quoting the West Wing, when challenged by Governor Richie in the debate President Bartlett says: “every once in a while, every once in a while, there’s a day with an absolute right and an absolute wrong, but those days almost always include body counts.” The problem comes when even on those days littered with body bags we can’t tell the right from the wrong.

What struck me as I observed the feuding played out in spurts of 140 characters, with vehement defence that each side’s calls for peace had more morality than the other, was: we can’t even keep peace in our discussions. What hope is there that there could be peace between the sides (even how they are described is disputed) in that hot, dry, place with centuries of animosity?

But of course there is a hope. There is a hope that in our most wicked and mendacious of ways, whether firing a rocket or a tweet filled with anger; we can cry Kyrie, eleison: Lord, have mercy.

And he will. For he must. Because he loves the world. And we long for that day.

That’s all I have right now. I have no judgement to offer. No words that will soothe, no mediation, no alternative perspective, no baked goods to dull the pain. Just a hope. The only hope.

2 thoughts on “Kyrie, eleison – Lord, have mercy

  1. I suppose I might have been one of those who prompted you to write this. While I agree that we should be remain civil, calm and courteous on social media, it has to be a place where we can passionately disagree. Otherwise it’s just a banality factory churning out X-factor commentary. Peace & love.

    • It’s possible you were one of those I had in mind! I think there should be space for discussion and disagreement but it think there is also a point where it serves no positive purpose, and I felt it easily passed that point today. Those who have v strong view voice them, those who strongly disagree counter with equal force, there’s little likelihood your interlocutors will change their views and for the rest looking on it’s a pretty unedifying sight. It also runs the risk of leaving people in the state I was today when any certainty seems elusive and one ends up shrugging their shoulders and walking away in apathy! Because, for example, I know your views are strongly disagreed with by some I would be unlikely to trust something either you or they recommended for me to read to learn more, but would view either recommendation as biased. That’s what perpetuates the idea of ‘oh well they’re both as bad as each other’, as without a decent prospect of finding any sense of what’s actually going on.

      As you might tell, I got a bit frustrated with all this!

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