Thursday, 14 June 2018

It's Not Green The World Over

In mid-May, after the spring showers have come but before the summer kicks in, Hillsborough Park transforms into a gateway to fairyland where one gets sucked in by the parade of towering trees with leaves that are like sparkled stardust in the bright sunlight. In the fields are yellow daffodils that might seem like golden nuggets waiting to be picked while frail dandelion seeds look like glittering diamonds as they are being blown away by the lazy wind. In the air is the sweet fragrance of new life and the sound of children's laughter lingers long after the day starts to fade.

This is the kind of world Isaac lives in - it may be grey in winters but spring is always around the corner. The park at the bottom of the road is his playground where on most weekends we join many families on a leisurely walk, a game of football or a nice picnic in the grass. For a little boy this is what happiness and contentment means.

Days like these take me back to my own childhood, spent in a farm right next to an endless cornfield, where our friends are the livestock in the garden, our playground is the woodlands at the back of the house and our days are spent in joyful explorations. We were children when we needed to be and the world of adults is a faraway place.

But on beautiful days like these, I also think of that child in Mosul, on a documentary on Iraq that we have recently seen, who was clearing rubbles with his father on the place that was once their home but now a minefield with bombs still waiting to be undetonated. He said he is aware of the danger, but someone had to do something and life had to go on. He is a boy who is barely ten years old and he already lives in an adult world where every day is a battle to survive.

In this fairy land where my child lives in blissful contentment with a life as sheltered as mine had been, I feel despair at how most of our paths are determined by the injustice that is the lottery of birth. For we do not choose the country where we are born and the circumstances that our families find themselves in.

Still, I have not lost all faith in humanity's ability to conquer suffering. Because I have known many people who have triumphed over the unfairness of that draw. In my workplace, many of my colleagues are well-respected scientists in pharmaceutical research who have once walked the streets of their childhood with the sounds of bombing as part of their everyday lives but their desire to live has fueled their passion to find a cure, perhaps not one that would end all wars, but one that could save one more life. And here where it is green in spring time, where children can be children, they have come to inspire.

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