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A Child Sits

Several years ago, during a lively family discussion about war, I was asked where I stood. Peace is simple, yet apparently unachievable. I am opposed to war on the grounds there is a Commandment: “Thou shall not kill!” This underpins all Abrahamic traditions which guide Judeo-Christian and Islamic faiths. Furthermore, this premise is central to the Golden Rule which is universal.  Who suffers? Inevitably, it is the weakest, the most vulnerable.

A child sits–


Is it the cold?


Loneliness, fear

So fragile and weak

In desperate need.

Amidst war’s carnage–

No refuge

Only chaos

Military heroes wreak havoc

Who is the toughest?

The biggest bully?

Kick sand in a child’s eyes.

There is no right side

Real courage

Begs and pleads?


Wanton, senseless

Violence and death!

Who gains?

It does not take a hero to order bombs lobbed into civilian areas of cities. Nor does it take a hero to hide behind women and children when bombs are lobbed. Last night, I heard a talking head on TV ask who has the moral high ground. Is there really one when the objective of both sides is to punish the most vulnerable. What a silly question. There is no moral high ground in war only criminality.


About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

22 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on who is bert and commented:
    no thoughts, only compassion …

  2. I just had this same conversation with over 100 high school students where I work. It was career day, and a decade ago I served in the Air Force. They asked me what I thought about war, so I described the real costs. It is imperative that we live and teach the blessings of peace and conflict resolution. Thank you for the sweet words of Truth.

  3. Pingback: A Child Sits | Simply Simplistic Complexities

  4. I have questioned this, time and again, especially from my fundamentalist yet military-oriented family: what about that Commandment not to kill, anyway? (Never any answer that makes sense to me!)

    I also question whether it is within human nature to ALLOW peace. Although I most fervently wish it were so, life experience and history tell me it may not be achievable. We had a little respite there in this country for years, in my younger life. Seems between hormones, egos, and economics, it just isn’t sustainable – because back into the fray we collectively go, every time. Damn.

    • I had not thought about the idea of whether it is in our human nature to allow peace. I think though mothers hold the key. This is born out by people like Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan who were instrumental in bringing peace to Northern Ireland. I don’t think it rests solely in the hands of mothers but it is one element.

  5. Beautifully put, Ivon. For me, everyone is a victim of their beliefs in separation. Of their beliefs in different religions and of their beliefs in superiority or inferiority. It is only beliefs that separate us. Imagine if we dissolved the beliefs…everyone’s God would still be present, and the love would be sitting there waiting to be acknowledged. People are insane. Thank you for a loving, balance view of a current situation.

    • I agree Yaz. I find it inspiring when I read passages from the great teachers that what they taught is so similar despite the separation of time and geography. There is something universal about God.

  6. Don’t get me on my war soapbox!!! this is a wonderful post thank you for sharing:)

  7. effective words of wisdom..

  8. Wisdom prevails. Nice post.

  9. You have spoken well. There are no heroes in war. It should never be celebrated.

  10. from The Journey Up The Mountain.

    Fighting Wars Is Only Natural.
    It seems as if there is more fighting in the world today than there has been in known history, and a large proportion of us agree with this or go along with it. But why do we fight so much?
    We fight so much because it is natural. In nature, animals fight to defend their territories, their nests and their homes – it is natural; and we are animals, or rather, we have taken on the physical and mental characteristics of an animal – hu-man, and are in the process of jettisoning these characteristics.
    However, we are Spirit, and it is spiritual not to fight or defend anything*. Behaving spiritually, if another comes to take our home or territory, we would gladly hand it over and there would be no fight. There would also be karma accruing to one party only.
    So, we fight because our animal instincts are still stronger than our inherent spiritual qualities.

    *We defend things because of attachment to the things, and attachment is not of the Spirit.

    • The 20th Century’s wars killed more people than all wars in history. You are right about being attached. Wars are never a product of higher moral ground. Instead, they are about some political or economic gain masked another way.

  11. I was writing a poem about this last night. The bombs aren’t doing anything but terrorizing esp. children and the killing of them too. I also mentioned in the poem to not forget about all the innocence of animals too. The most vulnerable are the children and the animals. It’s hard enough for adults to try to comprehend the senselessness of the “glory” of war. Let all life live safely and in peace. J.K. jennifer ps. It should not be called a “cease” fire’ it should be called and end to fire. No more violence ever again. Niave but hopeful.

  12. War seems chaotic, but it’s always a deliberate economic choice.That’a what makes it so evil.Stop and envision the Mideast as a region without any oil reserves, Think of how we carved up resource-rich regions, jammed cultures with conflicting belief system together and called it a nation. We refused to save the Jews until 1941. They’d escape from the death camps and beg us to read their reports. Finally, they burned themselves alive in DC to get world attention, Yes, we are responsible to defend them, but would we still be doing it if Isreal didn’t provide us with an outpost we need in the Mideast? And why there – REALLY? You think they would really have turned down the fertile, peaceful state of,say, Iowa? The poor meet the desparate,,..but the fight overall is for OIL. If our priority was justice, we’d have saved Haiti long go. No wonder Mideasterners hate our guts. The agony never ends….

    • Thank you Claire for a thoughtful response. War is always about economics and politics. The closest it comes to a moral stance is when we have guilty consciences, but we should step back and ask, “Why is my conscience biting me?” It is likely because we did something wrong and morally repugnant before and need to assuage the pangs. You are so right about Haiti.


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