About two weeks ago, I heard the first of the street fireworks, signaling the beginning of summer and the fact that July 4th is on the way. You can’t buy much more than garden variety fireworks in this area, so the worst of what we have around here are the types of things that go “bang!” very loudly, with no pretty colors to follow.
That evening, I had been reading the news before going outside to sit for a bit. There had been a story about how there will be no more Catholic Masses in Mosul at this time, a mandate from the Islamist group currently in control of the city. The article featured a photo of children in a refugee camp, playing a version of kickball; I suppose the inference was that these were Catholic children, though the caption was not clear.
Hearing the cherry bomb go off the other night after reading that story, I thought about what it would be like to hear that kind of sound on a regular basis, from gunfire rather than fireworks. What is it like to live in a place where you don’t know what you’ll encounter when you walk down your street, or go to the store for food? If the bus you got on to go to work or visit your mother was wired to explode or might run over an IED?
When the septic system backed up later that week, I remembered the picture of the refugee camp, and thought, “This mess is nothing compared to what I’d have to live with if I was forced from my home.”
No great insights here, but it sure does make me grateful for the freedom to live in relative safety and comfort. I’ll be thinking of that on the Fourth when I see an American flag or hear the fireworks going off.
Photo credit: firstname.lastname@example.org