It is with a heavy heart that I take to the keyboard to write a few words. I missed last week’s deadline with the editor because the news has become too heavy to even speak of, let alone to write about.
Since becoming a father, following the news has become a tad bit more difficult. Just before I put my daughter to bed this evening, the breaking news from the BBC of the Israeli airstrike on a hospital in Gaza killing hundreds, flashed briefly on my phone. Thankfully, she was too tired to ask for storytelling and drifted asleep, innocent of all the ills around us.
Children are the worst off in the darkest parts of the world. The image of the terrorist rocking a hostage child to calm it down will forever imprint on my mind. As will the father rejoicing, yes rejoicing, that his eight-year-old daughter was found dead after the Hamas raid. He rejoiced because the news of her death meant she was spared the suffering of being taken hostage.
Early last week, I heard the depressing statistic that 5,000 women were due to give birth in Gaza over the following weeks. This was complementary to the news that the Israeli siege would cut off all services to the beleaguered strip.
Was it not Sting who sang, at the height of the Cold War, that he hoped the Russians loved their children, too? There seems to be no space for any love any more.
Nagorno-Karabakh, the Ukraine and a Guatamela in the throes of civil unrest. Zones such as these are hotspots of suffering, areas where mankind has reneged on its future and where we give up on future generations. Meanwhile, immigration fluxes are seen as menaces to a jealously guarded, self-centred way of living.
Even within our societies, we seem to have forgotten how to plan for the common good.
On Monday, we marked the sixth year from the brutal assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Many chose to keep it as six years of negative activity by the government and authorities. Six years of government vs the people. Six years of corrupt mismanagement plundering the common good and leaving no heritage for future generations.
Roberta Metsola has been an inevitable protagonist in the last weeks. Her ill-judged trip to Israel to stand beside Herzog in the shadow of Ursula Von der Leyen raised more than a few eyebrows. Superficial assessments of the unhappy voyage led to immediate condemnation.
However, reading the slow news, a different pattern emerges. Beyond the damage done by the immediate optics of the ill-fated visit, an unequivocal position surfaced in favour of a two-state solution—one that warned Israel of violating international law and distinguished between Hamas and the Palestinian people.
Metsola and the European Parliament have an essential role to play. The European Parliament has gained a reputation for being much more than a talking shop, often spearheading the European Union through difficult political situations.
Given the divergent positions among member states, the Israel-Hamas Crisis is a thorny situation. It should be said, however, that bar a jumpy Hungarian commissioner and a Star Spangled Von der Leyen, the voices from the institutions mainly were in favour of reminding Israel of its international obligations.
The union, from Josep Borrell to Metsola to the foreign ministers of most EU countries, were unequivocal in drawing the lines that Israel should not cross.
War and dirty politics promise to be a lengthy, ugly business in which the losers will be the citizens of all sides embroiled in suffering. My biggest question remains: When did the world stop caring about its children?
* This article has been updated. A previous reference to a meeting with Israel PM Netanyahu has been replaced with the correct reference to President Herzog.