Abdul Hamid al-Yousef

DavidCaldwell

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I was very moved to read about poor Abdul Hamid al-Yousef, who lost his wife, their two toddlers and 17 of his wider family in the recent nerve gas attack in Syria.

I remember the pain I suffered from a much, much smaller loss – the death of my father when he was already an old man. For a year, life was very dark – I remember wondering when I would ever be able to enjoy a simple pleasure, like drinking a cup of coffee, without it being dominated by the shadow of grief. For me, that time past, but I fear that Abdul’s grief will be more severe and long-lasting.

Here on politics.ie, we have a wide range of viewpoints. But I hope that, whatever our views, we can all share a common hope that, in the future, as few people as possible ever have to endure what Abdul is enduring.
 


Catalpast

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I was very moved to read about poor Abdul Hamid al-Yousef, who lost his wife, their two toddlers and 17 of his wider family in the recent nerve gas attack in Syria.

I remember the pain I suffered from a much, much smaller loss – the death of my father when he was already an old man. For a year, life was very dark – I remember wondering when I would ever be able to enjoy a simple pleasure, like drinking a cup of coffee, without it being dominated by the shadow of grief. For me, that time past, but I fear that Abdul’s grief will be more severe and long-lasting.

Here on politics.ie, we have a wide range of viewpoints. But I hope that, whatever our views, we can all share a common hope that, in the future, as few people as possible ever have to endure what Abdul is enduring.
Its a sad case allright

- but where does Mr Abdul say his children were killed in a chemical attack?

Condolences on losing your Father BTW

I have had that experience myself....
 

DavidCaldwell

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Its a sad case allright

- but where does Mr Abdul say his children were killed in a chemical attack?

Condolences on losing your Father BTW

I have had that experience myself....
The only direct quote from Mr Abdul that I have seen is "Say goodbye, baby, say goodbye."

I hesitated before deciding to use this quote. It seemed to be too much tugging at the heart-strings, but then I thought that this is actually the purpose of the thread - to remind ourselves that behind all the violence and controversies there are human emotions - not self-indulgent sentimentality, but rather the opposite, at least for the bereaved, namely depths of grief and suffering beyond understanding.
 

neiphin

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you said before that you were proud to have served in the british armed forces
assad we will accept is not a particularly nice guy (even for a dentist)

are the british and americans not partially if not wholly complicit in destabilizing the whole middle east
 

DavidCaldwell

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It is interesting to consider violence as a contagion (in the old sense of a disease spread by close contact).

Obviously, violence has many of the features - very few of us become violent except in reaction to violence done to us or our community; and conflicts escalate much in the manner of an epidemic.

But there are significant complications. Historically, some use of violence - namely retaliation - was not wrong in itself, but rather a sensible strategy, one, moreover, that has been hard-wired into us (and most animals) by evolution. So, historically, it would be inappropriate (bad targeted or excessive) retaliation that was the disease, not retaliation itself.

But in the modern world, there are usually alternatives to violent retaliation - namely, seeking justice in the courts or, if the justice system fails, protest and non-violent conflict, Gandhi-style.

However, completing the move from violence has another complication - namely that we are all prone (again from evolution) to pick sides i.e. we start to become infected by the violence as soon as we hear about it. We cease to be the impartial outsiders who might successfully deal with violence as they would a cholera epidemic. We become vectors of the disease instead.
 

DavidCaldwell

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you said before that you were proud to have served in the british armed forces
assad we will accept is not a particularly nice guy (even for a dentist)

are the british and americans not partially if not wholly complicit in destabilizing the whole middle east
Yes, there is a inconsistency between wishing for an end to all violence and being (or having been) in an army.

But this inconsistency is not unique to me. All people, indeed all life, are similar inconsistent, in that it is often the case that the most practical way of reducing violence (or at least the violence suffered by oneself and one's own group) is to use violence - to hit the burglar with the hurling stick or cricket bat. One of the tragedies of life is, however, the fact that one's own defensive violence may seem to the other to be senseless aggression that calls for retaliation. And so the violence can spiral upwards.
 
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