People of Yesterday/Today

I watched a film last night, described as ‘a sweeping romantic saga of passion, betrayal and redemption’. It began in Cambridge, England, before the Second World War, moved through the years, and through Paris, and Spain, and back to Paris during the war. The ending bittersweet.

At the conclusion I turned off the film, only to be confronted by more of the same. Bemused I saw the same fireball explosions, heard the gunfire and shouts, and I wondered if I’d somehow pushed the wrong button on the controller – sent it back to a previous point in the film. I even checked the player to be sure it was off.

Then the voice of the reporter came on saying that these were images of an attack in Paris.

I couldn’t help wondering: Has the world really not changed in the seventy years since the end of the Second World War, that today’s news could be mistaken for a historically-based film? Have people learned nothing that they repeat the same violent actions over and over again? True, this is no world war, but does that make it any better?

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