Archive for December, 2010

The Spirit of the Blitz?

December 25, 2010

My grandmother who survived the bombing on Birkenhead in the 1940’s used to repeatedly tell us about my grandfather boiling snow in France in order to shave during the war. I thought of her story this Christmas morning when the water supply went off in our neighbourbood. As neighbours phoned one another to confirm that we were without one of our basic needs, people walking dogs did the unthinkable and spoke to strangers! The slight inconvenience of not being able to make a cup of tea and the possibility of having to go to friends to get some more water reminded me of the idea that the spirit of the Blitz has not completely left us.

It was the kids who suggested that we could collect snow and boil it if the water didn’t come on for a day. While all this was happening we received a call from a long term friend in Cote d’Ivoire where following the presidential elections, former president Laurent Gbago is clinging to power and the other candidate, Alassane Ouattara is also claiming victory and attempting to operate from a hotel. Our friend described conditions in Cote d’Ivoire, with banks completely closed and everyone forced to remain at home for their own safety. With the election result split and both presidential candidates claiming authority to rule, the nation is paralysed and violence is breaking out. It made our drinking water challenge seem a little embarrassing.

A short while later we received a text message from a friend in Nigeria telling us that several bombs had been detonated in Christian communities in the Jos region. This comes after years of attacks on Christian communities with little remission or support. What makes it all the more challenging is that the liberal expediency of the international media insists on calling this “communal conflict” which belies the inbalanced nature of the attacks. News later in the day let us know that at least 32 people had died today. Our friend poignantly commented, “No celebrations today.”

While we attempted to organise a Christmas dinner without running water, and to find out if Western Union could make a money transfer to Cote d’Ivoire on Christmas day, the knowledge that fellow Christians in Nigeria had lost family members today, seemed to highlight how much we live in a bubble in the developed world. Our society is caught in a debate about ‘austerity’ and public services while huge parts of the world face huge challenge to life and family. While contemplating the ‘spirit of the Blitz’ as people talked in the street it occurred to me that life goes on in the UK and the challenges we face at this point don’t mean regular threats to life.

What will it take our liberal and secular humanist society to realize that the peace and tranquility we enjoy is derived from Christian truth? If we abandon our Christian roots as a nation we will choose the society and governance that these other nations are suffering. That was what the spirit of the Blitz was about, the last time we had to seriously defend the life and culture of this nation.