They had been gone for centuries,
only to return to the same sorrow.
It was still a time of war.
The ancient blood lust had not abated,
it had only become more sophisticated.
The incessant slaughter — would it ever finally end,
or would it merely re-cycle itself perpetually?
Regardless of time, place, or nationality,
the eyes of the dead are always the same.
Oh, the uniforms were different now, sleeker,
the locations of the battlefields had changed,
yet it was the same war, always the same war.
Even from within the womb they already knew it —
there is a mysterious network which connects
all the children that are waiting to be born.
They prepare each other somehow for what lies ahead,
and now at birth, rather than the customary cry,
they could only sigh. It seemed a weary sigh.
War — would this self-inflicted wound ever heal?
What would it take to halt the carnage?
Apparently, not enough people were willing
to stop, to refuse, to resist just yet.
All were preoccupied waging their own internal wars
and lacked the courage or free attention to stand up
and shout a loud “No!” to the war machine.
There was simply too much fear for that.
This is a land that is ruled by fear.
Fear is churned out like mothers’ milk
and fed directly to the young so that they will
not question when they’ve grown a little older
and are called away to the ceaseless war.
If war is all they have ever known,
could they imagine a time without it?
The controllers had fashioned an economy
which depended on the business of war –
“The struggle will make us great again!”
read the billboards and omnipresent posters.
Yes, there was profit to be gleaned from the demand
for better weapons, smarter bombs, higher walls
to hide behind and feel secure.
Everyone wanted to feel safe and secure.
Everyone sought their own profits.
For the war to be continuously pursued, a steady stream
of enemies needed to be designated and then condemned.
The threat must always appear real and imminent,
there must be little doubt that the fear people felt
was appropriate: the cunning enemy could attack
at any time, our women taken, our children enslaved,
our 500 television channels reduced to just one!
Some — a few — wondered if the war would ever end.
Their sleep was restless, their dreams filled with conflict.
They awoke exhausted, haunted by a free-floating dread.
Still, they had to keep their questions to themselves —
there were suspicious eyes and ears everywhere.
After all, it was still a time of war.
(Picture by Leunig)