Last week, as I sat eating my breakfast, a television overhead was playing the news in English. The item was about Syria and the manouevring to bring some kind of sanction against Syria for acts that were being strenuously condemned by those being interviewed.
Also condemned were Russia and China for not falling into line and voting for sanctions to be applied. I was embarrassed. Apart from this side-show, I was getting along very well with my hosts, who had shown much kindness and friendship to a pair of strangers, innocent as newborns in their familiar hustle and bustle.
I consoled myself with the thought that this theatre being played out above the coffee and tea making facilities is simply a game for governments. But why, then, do the independent news media oblige with air-time, and high profile air-time at that?
In very enjoyable chats with Sergei and others, we generally agreed that life is similar for 'ordinary people' wherever they live. And that, by and large, when brought together, we get along reasonably well. Share a laugh even if we don't really share a language.
It calls to mind the story of the British and German troops in World War I stopping the war for a football game in no-man's-land on Christmas day, and the subject of Spielberg's latest offering, where a horse is the catalyst for a similar recognition that we share more similarities than differences.
So who benefits from diplomatic posturing and demonisation through news media? Ordinary people? It would take a very compelling argument to sell that one to me. Fraternisation with the enemy could get you hanged or shot once upon a time and may well still in the right circumstances. I wonder why?
Perhaps fraternisation with the enemy is humanity's only hope. Treat everything you read or see on television or hear on the radio with extreme scepticism. Get out and start a conversation with someone who is 'different' to you. Preferably in their country. Soon you'll be laughing together. Fall behind the politicians and whoever fills their bank accounts and you may end up trying to kill one another.