On Monday 4th August 2014, we were invited to switch our lights off for an hour in a tribute to the dead of World War One inspired by the prophetic observation of Britain’s foreign minister on the eve of war 100 years ago.
“The lamps are going out all over Europe,” Edward Grey told an acquaintance, shortly before Britain declared war on Germany on 4th August 1914. “We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
I got home around nine thirty and started pottering around the kitchen preparing a rather late dinner. I listened to BBC London report the goings on in and around London and I turned the light of in the kitchen. Lucky I was only peeling a butternut squash so did not really need much light.
And so I thought – about the words of the radio presenter – telling me about the horrors of the first world war – the deaths and the suffering. I thought about the words of the radio presenter reminding me that it was said to be “the war to end all wars”. I wondered what was really different today with the continuous slaughter of people in the Iraq, Gaza and Syria to name but a few places. The images that are flashing across our screens on a daily basis do not inspire faith in humanity. They do not suggest that we have learnt anything apart from how cruel we can be to one another. I do not want to be negative and I expect that there are more stories of hope than horror but it’s hard to see that right now.
Anyway, the lights went back on and I finished cooking my dinner.
I wonder what we will be writing in 2114