The Town I Loved So Well

The cruelty of man has no depth. That was my thought earlier today while I was cooking our Saint Patrick’s Day dinner and listening to some Irish music. One of the songs I always listen to is The Town I Loved So well by the Dubliners. It is a song that starts out with the singer describing the town of his childhood. It describes numerous happy memories and exploits of youth. At the end of the song the singer describes visiting the sound and seeing it as a bombed out wreck of itself.

Listening to this song after having seen the pictures and videos out of Ukraine this week I couldn’t help but think of that. Even earlier in the day I had to set aside the book I am reading as it mentioned the horrors of the Holocaust and again I couldn’t help but think of Ukraine. The cruelty of man has no depths. We keep repeating the same mistakes and horrors over and over and over again. Some day never again will mean never again and swords will be beaten into plowshares but today is not that day.

It is hard to think of the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine and the powerless feeling of being one man with no ability to do anything about it. War is the worst atrocity man can commit. The fact that it is a mistake we keep making is hard to reckon with.

Listening to an Irish song about a man seeing his hometown, the town he loved so well, destroyed and ravaged by war and the end of him praying for a bright and sunny day to come to that town and then seeing that all these years later we are letting other towns that others love so well being turned into bombed out wrecks by their tanks and their guns brings nothing but sadness.

My words are nothing. They are worthless and wretched when put before the overwhelming vastness of human cruelty. I hope and I pray that this war will open the eyes of the world to the horror that is war. That we will look at this as a species and this time when we say never again we will mean it. That we will reject human cruelty and start to look upon each other with nothing but kindness, empathy, and understanding.

That is my hope, but my understanding is that human cruelty has no depth and war is a mistake that will be repeated forever. Ukraine is our current tragedy but it is far from our last.

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