Keeping the Peace

Conflict seems to be a situation that humanity has a hard time avoiding. Jesus said there would be wars and rumours of wars, and that is manifested again and again even in our “enlightened” modern era. What we have tried to do is negotiate resolutions to those conflicts and where necessary “help the process along.” I have friends that have been part of that process (whether for good or for bad) as “Peacekeepers.” They served in Beirut and in Bosnia respectively, and it seems the experience has left more of a mark on them, than they let on those lands.

There have been successes I am sure, but it is the struggles (if not failures) that capture our attention. Below are links to the trailers for three films in which the story of the “Peacekeepers” is given. While they may not be totally accurate in historical terms, they do give an insight.

The first is about the 1961 UN intervention in the Congo, which involved Irish (and other) UN troops.

The United Nations again intervened in the civil war and ethnic cleansing that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. It gives a representation of the trials of British UN Peacekeepers in that intervention.

The UN and later the US in support of the UN entered Somalia at approximately the same time as the events in Bosnia. Black Hawk Down tells some of that story.

Hopefully there will come a day when we don’t need military intervention to find “peace.”


A Little Educational Pit-stop

image: Padre’s Ramblings

My wife and I made a pit-stop on our return journey home from Bournemouth in order to visit Stonehenge. It was a cloudy but dry day and had just enough springtime warmth to make the outdoor stop enjoyable.

It had been twenty years since my last visit to Stonehenge. Previously we had parked in a grassy field and bought tickets from a kiosk only a short walk from the stones. When we visited yesterday, we found a paved car park (£5 to park but refunded with ticket – free with our blue badge) and a modern visitor centre with cafe, toilets, and a reconstructed village as imagined from the time period of the construction of the circle. The queue was a bit long for tickets (£20 ticket for seniors), though the annual membership and pre-order lines went faster. As the “new” centre is further from the stones there is more of a walk, though a shuttle bus also is available. The place remains iconic, scenic, and educational.

Wheelchairs are available on site, and the paths are level enough to make decent progress with a walker or said wheel chairs. The shuttle is recommended for those with mobility needs.

There are also a number of benches and picnic tables near the visitor centre.

image: Padre’s Ramblings

image: Padre’s Ramblings

Image: Padre’s Ramblings




We have our traditions

We have our songs

Events and occasions

That help us feel we belong

A few things shared

On which we agree

That set us apart

And make us a “we”

Some say the world

Must by nature change

But hopefully at least a little

Of our shared identity

Will remain



Public Domain

The drums have beat the muster call

To form upon the green

And we shall march to Tilbury

To stand with our queen

We shall see off the Spaniard foe

Who dare defile our land

We for harth and for our church

Will make a heroic stand



Public Domain

Eight score years ago

Capital dome – like the nation incomplete

Lincoln stood upon the stairs

Reconciliation he did seek

“The bonds of affection,” he said, were suffering strain

But that those bonds of friendship should yet remain

Four years later

The dome now complete

He called for there to be no malice

To rebuild – no conflict to repeat

Today we see that white doomed bastion

Of liberty in receipt

Of scenes of bitter hatred

Enough to make one weep

These are times of testing

A crucible of pain

Let us heed old Abraham’s words

So peace and democracy – can remain


Weekend Writing Prompt #191 – Crucible in 100 words

Sweet Betsy (Bessie)

Sweet Betsy (Bessie) from Pike is an American folk song. There are several variations of it (like with many traditional songs). It does meet Jim Adams’ lyrical challenge to write about a song that includes Bird/Cat/Dog/Fish/Pet. Well our Betsy surely has an old yellow dog!



Did you ever hear tell of sweet Bessie from Pike?
She crossed the high mountains with her lover Ike,
With a tall yoke of oxen, and an old yellow dog,
A big shanghai rooster, and an old spotted hog.

[One evening quite early they camped on the Platte,
‘Twas near by the road on a green shady flat,
Where Bessie, sore-footed, lay down to repose,
With wonder Ike gazed on his Pike County rose.]

[The shanghai ran off and their cattle all died,
That morning the last piece of bacon was fried;
Poor Ike was discouraged and Bessie got mad;
The dog drooped his tail and looked wondrously sad.]

They stopped at Salt Lake to enquire the way,
Old Brigham he swore that sweet Bessie would stay,
Sweet Bessie got scared, run away like a deer,
Old Brigham he pawed up the ground like a steer.

[Sweet Bessie got up in a great deal of pain,
Declared she’d go back to Pike County again;
But Ike gave a sigh, and they fondly embraced,
And they traveled along with his arm ’round her waist.]

[This Pike County couple got married of course,
But Ike became jealous, obtained a divorce.
Sweet Bessie, well satisfied, said with a great shout,
“Good-by, you big lummox, I’m glad you backed out!”]