Friday 5 September 2014

Tunisian Dreams

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I woke up just past midnight on Thursday morning. I had just been through a disturbing dream. It wasn't so much a nightmare, but the ending I didn't like. I was in the parachute regiment travelling in the air on a glider on a secret mission. The type of glider used during the second world war. My fellow solders consisted of the cast from the American television comedy series The Big Bang Theory! But also on the glider was my young son and another child who both sat in front of me. Next to them was a side door that wasn't shut properly and kept swinging open. As we were flying over the North Sea my son kept leaning out of the glider trying to grab the door so he could shut it. I kept telling him to leave it alone and finally my concern for his safety made me react. I ordered him and the other child to swap places with me. As they did so the other child fell over and my son tripped over his out stretched feet then tumbled out of the open side door, and fell thousands of feet into the water below as the plane carried on flying. In that split second I had to decided if to carry on with my mission, or to dive out the glider after him.

At that moment I woke up. The memory was so vivid it took me about 30 seconds to find out it was just a dream, but I still had a terrible feeling in my belly. I got up and quietly walked through to my son's bedroom, and there he was fast asleep in his bed. I wanted to give him a cuddle. In fact I wanted to wake him and tell him how much I loved him as well, but I didn't, I was just glad he was safe and sound.

When I went back to bed I couldn't get to sleep. It made me think that at that very moment in time as I laid my head down; somewhere in the world there would be a father like me who had just lost a child because of one of the violent conflicts or wars that seem to be a constant in human history. I thought about the horrible events with the recent be-heading of two men by the son's of Satan that are using the name of religion to justify their own evil. I thought about the poor civilians caught up in fights they want nothing to do with, but are having to pay the price by loosing loved ones in the name of pointless human aggression.

My final thoughts turned to our recent family holiday in Tunisia and to a report I had read in the local paper about foreign fighters who have joined the Islamic State now fighting in Iraq and Syria. The authorities in the U.K are getting themselves into a right mess, and muddle, over what to do with the hand full of British citizens who have now flown out to join the fight. As normal it seems to be an excuse to take away more rights from the people, and to give more power to the authorities who now control us.

What was most worrying about the report was the nation that was listed at the very top for the number of their own citizens who had joined the Islamic state as fighters. The clear winner with thousands upon thousands of volunteers was Tunisia! Yes the very same country my family and I had just spent a wonderful week in. I couldn't believe it. The staff in the hotel were well educated with most speaking French, English and Arabic, and looked and acted what we would consider to be western ways.

So I wonder what will happen to Tunisia once all these radicalised fighters come flooding back to their home land? Will they be happy to see their fellow countrymen, especially the women, dare to dream and want a western lifestyle? Or more importantly will they be happy with a pasty white English family coming over to frolic in the sun and enjoy the delights of an all-inclusive holiday?



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