Thursday 13 December 2012

Images of Never Learning

I took a break from writing at lunchtime. A short break. A refill. And I sat down to watch one of my favourite movies on DVD: Roland Joffe’s The Killing Fields. A sad, inspiring – and true – story. There’s an iconic scene at the start of the movie, which, even if you don’t recall the whole film, you will probably be familiar with. It lasts a few seconds. But it forced me back to the keyboard.
There’s a paddy field, dry now, but still as green as Eden, sitting under an upturned crucible of cloud unleashing hell. A small boy, maybe 5 or 6 years old, rides on the back of a barrel-shaped water buffalo. He is miniscule under the steel G.I helmet he now claims as his own. He holds it tight, stopping it from rolling off his head, as he gazes up into that dark grey forever and listens to an American jet shrieking like a winged dragon. And you just know the little fellow’s never going to make old age. And it strikes you that we’ve learned nothing from history.

Because somewhere there’s a poppy field, green and pink, and sitting under a sky of screaming blue. A small boy...

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