Monday, September 04, 2006


Buttons are the single most abundant item left behind on a battlefield, according to archaeologists. They are more durable than human tissue. They fall off during the heat of battle and fighters are too preoccupied to pick them up and save them for later replacement. Buttons are lost when someone is wounded and a comrade has to pull open any clothing before being able to offer first aid...

I thought of buttons after speaking to an Iranian priest who has just returned to Rome to continue his studies in this academic year that will be opening very shortly. He described the difficulties he has in obtaining a visa, the hours he spends being checked at airports when he offers his passport, the rudeness of officials and the unnecessary hassles of travelling. All this from someone who couldn't be more kind, gentle and totally committed to his priesthood and to his suffering people.

This same priest spoke of the fear he met amongst ordinary Iranians, who are caught up in something over which they have no control. They fear that fighting and war are inevitable because governments are bickering over their own interests rather than the real needs of real people who will have to suffer the consequences.

It seems to me that war is something that is made by the people at the top and fought by the people at the bottom. Those in government are the ones who remain safe. It is the lesser people who are injured, made homeless, have their livelihoods and families destroyed and who die.

How many buttons are being left behind today in the places of unrest across the world? How many buttons will remain before there is peace?

When will governments realise that there is more to peace than an absence of fighting? How many buttons will it take?

God bless,
Sr. Janet