For the dying children in Syria and everywhere

The children cried: ‘Mummy!’
‘I have been good!’
‘Why is it dark! Dark!’

You can see them
going down
you can see the marks
of small feet here and there
going down

Their pockets full
of string and pebbles
and little horses made of wire

The great plain closed
like a geometric figure
one tree of black smoke
vertical
a dead tree
starless its crown

Tadeusz Rózewicz
Massacre of the innocents

On Civil Wars

Photo by Andrew Testa: Bloody footprints in the snow, Kosovo, 1999

If we have the same tastes and like the same things, surely we are bound to get along. But what will happen when we share the same desires?

René Girard
Violence and the Sacred (1972)

Photo by Andrew Testa: Bloody footprints in the snow, Kosovo, 1999

Related: Bloodlust: Why we should fear our neighbors more than strangers

Why We (All of Us) Fight

Photo: "Crazy Earl" (Kieron Jecchinis) in a scene from Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987)

His voice had strengthened. He tipped his chin up, facing these inquisitors. We like, it occurred to me, being challenged. That little adrenal rush washes away a lot of problematics and puts our life on the line, where it wants to be. Better see red than be dead. We like a fight because it shoves aside doubt.

John Updike
Roger’s Version (1986)

Screen capture: “Crazy Earl” (Kieron Jecchinis) in a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987)