Roar of Jets brings home realities of War – Tricia Hague-Barrett 1983

Viewpoint – Tricia Hague-Barrett (Hughes) 16 Dec 1983

(First published in Timaru Herald, New Zealand)

There I was up the ladder minding my own business painting my lounge walls with a lovely bamboo color thinking of the colors that I should like to see in the other rooms in our first home when the sound of an aeroplane overhead nearly had me flat on my back with the paint tray tipped over me.  

I rushed outside to see if the plane was going to crash and saw not just one, as first thought, but five strikemaster jets flying in formation over our home.

Panic over, I returned to the ladder wondering what had happened to my three-year-old daughter during this time.   She had been on the toilet and was now running to me crying, “Mummy! Mummy! what was that noise?”

I took her outside to show her the jets and tried to reassure her of their peaceful intentions. But returning to the job at hand, I found the thoughts that flooded my mind were not so calm.


I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a family in Lebanon at this time. Would I have the opportunity to choose paint for my home and would I even contemplate painting my home? Probably not.  What would I be doing, I wondered?  Would I be huddled in some corner of the house with my daughter unable to take her to the toilet because of the missiles flying over our house? Yes, that is more likely.

Would my husband consider interrupting the slaughter of his fellow man long enough to get food for his primary responsibility, namely us his family? Can he even guarantee his return? Dear God in heaven, when will it all stop? My children are starving!

I cannot wait for him to return, I have to take the chance and try to find some food. But opening the door I am confronted by rubble; tons, and tons of it, still falling down and trapping people. Not an act of God this time, but an act of man. 

As I continue to dream of my plight living in this far off land, I wonder how all this started? I do not think anyone can remember now, can you? While it continues I will be forced to think and act like a caged animal frightened by the handler.  In war, who is the Handler? Not the men and women who fight the war but, the politicians and Generals who love war games and stand in safe places planning strategy and tactics.

Well, I might be frightened, I might be cowering in the corner, but I am the teacher of my children.     I must educate my children to love God and to follow his teachings, namely, “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you,” and, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

In the context of women, men have always confused gentleness with weakness.  Yet all the great advances in mankind’s history have been brought about by Gentle Souls.  For example, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc, Who in no way could be considered weak.  

However, men of so-called strength have signed treaties, formed alliances and organized themselves to bring mankind to the brink of global destruction.

Surely with the same organization, women can bring mankind to Global peace.
I pray for the day when I can hear on the news that peace has broken out in Lebanon.
Would it not be wonderful if I could explain to my three-year-old daughter that the sounds of jet engines were no longer to be feared; that these Jets were carrying representatives from every country in the world to an International Peace Conference?

Oh well, in the meantime life must go on and there are still three bedrooms to be painted.

I must remind my husband not to forget the fish and chips tonight.


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