- Our best weapons are words
One hundred years ago this week, diplomacy failed and the world descended into war. Outrage at recent events in Gaza and Ukraine may be justified, but although the risks of failure are high we must not abandon diplomatic efforts to find lasting solutions in the world’s trouble spots
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From the editor's desk
Church services are being held all over Europe to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War. For instance, each of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales has pledged himself to say a Requiem Mass for the souls of the departed and for peace, to mark this and other key anniversaries of the four-year conflict.
Israeli action in Gaza, however justified at the outset, has crossed the line and is proving intolerable to the international community. The death toll of innocent lives, many of them children, cannot be explained or excused. The fact that Hamas’ conduct – firing rockets towards Israeli towns and infiltrating individual terrorists into Israeli territory through tunnels – is outrageous, immoral and appalling, cannot justify Israel acting likewise.
How we all long for a break, for a rest from the usual routine: an end to the nine-to-five, to the routines, to the worry and the stress. It is a simple thing for those of us with the wherewithal to organise it, but nigh impossible for others.
If the Queen’s coming round for tea,” the Daily Mirror advised, “leave oysters and lobster off the menu.” The Pope, too, “likes much more basic fare”, though “he takes the occasional break to treat himself to his favourite meal of bagna cauda (‘hot bath’ in Italian).
Are you a grasshopper or an ant? The story is as old as humanity. In the red corner we have the industrious, though dour ant, who works all year preparing for winter; in the blue, the fiddle-playing, goodtime grasshopper, who spends summer making music, and then the first cold breath of winter blows and …