The Blanket

The Terrifying Power
of Life and Death

Brendan Hughes • 7/6/2002

How do you kill a child? For some people it seems quite easy - look at the Middle East today. There were times when I had the chance. I remember standing outside a shop in Leeson Street. A young British soldier was at the corner crying for his ''mummy''. I stood over him with a .45 aimed at his head. I could easily have physically pulled the trigger and sent him off to eternity. But morally and emotionally I was not able to end his life. He was a mere child, so frightened, out of his own country facing what his politicians and commanding officers told him were the ''mad Irish''. I could not shoot him. In a gun battle, at a distance, beyond the sound of his cries, where he had a soldier's chance I could have. But at that point the thing I felt it was my duty to kill - the soldier - had died within him. Now stood only a child whimpering in front of me.

I wonder where he is now. Is he alive with children of his own? Alive because the 'mad Irish' were not all that mad and refrained from ending his life outside Greenwood's shop on Leeson Street. You lucky little bastard! And I am so glad. I just hope you did not grow into something hateful who would do to others what I refused to do to you. I hope not. I hope you are alive and living life to the full.

You came here at the direction of your leaders to invade our country. I had more reason to end your life than you ever had to take mine. I do not know you yet I know you so well. The two of us, working class guys thrown in against each other so that others could benefit. You were English and I was Irish - hardly reasons to kill each other.

Farewell British soldier. May you and your children live happy lives. I would like to see you again - but not in uniform.







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In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.
- Thich Nhat Hanh

Index: Current Articles

17 February 2007

Brendan Hughes
Archive Material

16 June 2002


Other Articles From This Issue:


Zionism, Palestine & The Spirit of the Warsaw Ghetto

Brian Kelly

Avoiding Park Benches
Anthony McIntyre


A Case For Change
Ciarán Irvine


The Terrifying Power of Life and Death
Brendan Hughes


13 June 2002


Interface Violence

Billy Mitchell

What Chance Socialism?
Anthony McIntyre


Was Monday 29th April the day democracy died in the ATGWU?
Sean Smyth




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