Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”
My children are grown now, but I have grandchildren. As I listen to the weekly serialisation of massacre and mayhem I fear for their future.
It was very different for me. Living in the flightpath of Speke Airport I would lie awake at night and hearing the sound of an approaching plane I would hold my breath, pull up the sheets and count from thirty to zero in nervous anticipation of the incoming Soviet missile. Only after the sound had passed over did I breathe again and often I would drift to sleep more from nervous exhaustion than genuine fatigue. That was fifty years ago. The present peril is not imaginary and the fears I have for my loved ones are much more substantial than the wild imaginings of my childhood nights. The present peril is on our streets, in our shopping malls and on our trains.
The massacre of the innocents is not a new phenomenon. The picture above is a representation of a corner in Bethlehem on the day that Herod sent his forces in to ‘liquidate’ the threat of a new-born baby: (The Massacre of the Innocents by Leon Cogniet 1794 – 1880). Herod was a deranged and anxious man, his henchmen heartless thugs. It is a picture that makes me feel physically sick. Perhaps it is the eyes of the mother. If I were able to look into those windows of the soul at close quarters I am sure that I would see there something that no man can ever fathom, an unspeakable terror coupled with a granite resolve to protect, even to the point of a sword thrusting through her own flesh. This child will not be taken without a fight and if her blood is spilt, her body pierced, her bowels cut out in defence of her offspring, this mother will not let go until her last breath is spent.
I think it is the depth of that emotion, an unfathomable well of protective love that makes me shake with feeling. I love my children and I would have fought valiantly to offer them any protection they needed as they grew through the most vulnerable years. However, I know full well that their mother, though weaker in muscle and limb would have scratched, scraped and clawed her way to hell and back twice to keep her offspring safe. They were, and are after all ‘bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh’. A true mother is a lioness when it comes to keeping her little ones safe from harm.
I am a traditionalist. I call a ship ‘she’ and I think it perfectly right that the Queen says this as she launches the latest vessel, “May God bless her and all who sail in her.” As far as I am concerned the Feminazi can stuff themselves. I also happen to think that a nation is a feminine entity, insofar as it is duty bound to provide for its offspring a cordon of protection and safety, ensuring an environment where lawful activity can be enjoyed in freedom and ‘carelessness’.
Motherhood cannot be a self-serving pastime. It is a vocation and it involves that two-fold application of sacrifice and wisdom, or to use the Biblical language, mothers must be as ‘gentle as doves and as wily as serpents.’
This Motherland is failing in its duty to protect its children. It has thrown open the doors of the family home, it has taken in lodgers whose history and inclinations are unknown, it has given bed and board to those who seek not the welfare of the household but its dissolution. It has laid bare the throats of its children to the hand of those who seek to wreak carnage and suffering upon the heads of the innocent.
A good mother will strive to ensure the peace, harmony and the security of her household. It is perhaps no small coincidence that in an age when the concept of parental duty is much diminished and the State has taken to itself many of those aspects of Family governance that once was the sole prerogative of parents, there is a loosening of the bonds that tie us together in mutual care and obligation.
So, perhaps it would be an advantage for a PM to be also a mother. It most certainly would be to our advantage if the nation were once again to find its vocation as Motherland, a devoted and fierce Lioness, fearful of nothing and prepared for any sacrifice in defence of its cubs. If that were ever to be so, then I could go to my grave with my ears unstopped, caring little for the perils of the dark.
I claim for you my motherland!”