Therein, Lies Hope

 

Last week I was fortunate to attend a talk given by Sir Harold Atcherley. Sir Harold spoke quietly and with measured assurance about his bitter experiences as a Far East Prisoner of War on the Railway, after his capture in Singapore.

I had a great uncle who endured almost exactly the same experience but who rarely talked of the suffering at the hands of the Japanese guards, (I wonder if Sir Harold ever met Uncle Jack). Sir Harold was remarkable in two ways. First was the extent of his forgiveness and lack of malice toward his captors and second, his belief and faith in the young. Given some 180 million people have died in his lifetime in one war or another, he had only contempt for the nation state and many of the world’s leaders who have thrown their countries into repeated conflict.

He pointed out though, that the internet has empowered young people in ways never seen before and they have a much lower propensity to slavishly follow nationalism than did their forebears. Therein, lies hope.