And now for all the good things, the things for which those who believe in a God have reason to offer thanks. Such a list, my friends, is called for, to prevent us from weeping all day and all night over Aleppo and all the little dead children there; an energetic list, to the accompaniment of drum rolls and waving flags, while happy children prance around dressed in their Sunday best.
We hear items from the list every day. In the lift on my way up to work, for instance:
– At least it’s not snowing.
– Better than in Aleppo, for sure.
Or in the lift on my way from work:
– Weekend at last! My wife is away with some friends, and I’m going to get drunk with mine.
– My children are away, so I’m going to read that book, at last.
No, that won’t do. If there is no rain in Aleppo, humanity’s tears will drown the place unless we can do better. So let’s pull our socks up, shall we!
– My begonia is still blossoming, in October, would you believe it? It’s so very beautiful; a hybrid of course. It reminds me that though species in the wild are dying, one by one, due to drought or whatever, we – humans, I mean – will always be able to create new and wonderful hybrids.
– … which will be available to those that can afford to keep a gardener, or something.
– Well, I’m sure there’ll be botanical gardens here and there, at least in big cities.
– Yes, and zoos. You know, in theory we can probably clone any of the popular mammals before they become extinct: lions and whales and tigers and stuff.
– … and we would not have to clone those horrible snails…
– I’m afraid they’ll be among the last to go.
– Oh dear. Well, at least there are still a few birds left in the country, and I’m off to the country for the weekend.
– Leaving your beautiful begonia?
– I’ll have something to look forward to coming back to, won’t I? Have a nice weekend.
– You too.
But I, the furry whale, have a better candidate than begonias to promote as a generator of happiness: Violin quartets. Violin quartets do not need rain or for that matter sun or fertile earth or even concert halls. Violin quartets only need violins and sheet music and a room that can accommodate four people, and me of course, who wants to listen.
But when the forests die and when almost all violins have been burnt in towns like Aleppo (compare Warsaw under WWII – a topic of many films) there will be neither violins nor paper on which to print the notes to be played … Aleppo again!
Why – in heaven’s name! – why Aleppo, again and again? What about Niger? What about all the countries of the Sahel, where death by drought and starvation is the order of the day, where sub-human Bocoharamists put people out of their misery when poverty has finished doing it’s business.
– Your dog had puppies? Why congratulations!!
– Wait, I’ll show you. Hold on, I’m a bit slow with this mobile phone stuff… oh yes, here they are.
– Oh my goodness! How unbelievably adorable!