the circle must end

Was anybody else who watched Into the Woods kind of rocked by the realization that Cinderella is a witch?????

She can communicate with animals, she magically obtains a ballgown (which she perceives to be gifted by the ghost of her mother, but, but), and she then traverses the woods on foot in said gown and arrives with not a hair out of place. There’s also the whole time stop during “On the Steps of the Palace,” which on one hand is a convention, and on the other, well, when the action resumes she is definitely physically displaced from where she started–out of the pitch with her shoe removed and in place. The prince is never able to catch her, and even though he’s apparently captivated by her and would “know those eyes anywhere” and later knows her just from her voice, he has to see the stepsisters try the shoe on, as though he isn’t able to recognize Cinderella until the exact moment she decides she wants him to. 

Like that’s the only thing that doesn’t come full circle by the end: there must always be a Witch.

So Ella goes to live in the Baker’s cottage, to help him clean and bake and tend the baby, but she catches herself staring out the window and through the Witch’s gate, where the garden grows wild over the ruins of her house

and she thinks

I wish…

IS BOMBING THE RIGHT ANSWER?

As many of you have heard, a few hours ago, France began bombing Syria, targeting ISIS after the terror attacks in Paris on Friday. But is this what should be done, or is this a knee jerk reaction which will have dire consequences down the road?

First and foremost, my concern lies with the innocent people of Syria. Of the 20 sites targeted today, we know one was an ISIS training ground, one was an ammunition facility, and one was a command/control platform for the group, but what were the others and are future strikes limited to verified ISIS sites, or could France begin bombing civilian homes or hospitals like the United States does across the Middle East? How many children will then be deemed ‘collateral damage’ by the government and brushed off as a ‘cost of war?’

Second, what is the limit? How many bombs is too many bombs? How many fatalities are acceptable? The attack in Paris was horrific, and the death toll currently stands at 132, but will France learn from the post 9/11 actions of the United States, which resulted in the fall of Iraqi forces, the destabilization of the entire region, the creation of ISIS, and deaths of 1.5 million people?

Third, who is benefiting from this escalation in violence? Will French weapons companies and politicians pocket billions in profits as bombs explode? Will this create a thirst for war by those whose pockets become deeper every time someone is killed?

Fourth, is there a diplomatic solution? One with limited violence by cutting off ISIS and squeezing them financially, territoriality, and removing supplies from them? One of removing their online influence and also pushing them to collapse in on themselves like the North did to the South during the American Civil War.

Fifth, are the French realistic in their knowledge of the past and present, or are they blinded by the patriotic anger sparked by those dark hours? After 9/11, Americans blindly backed the efforts of the U.S. government, we bought into the propaganda and refused to believe that we could do wrong, but in recent years, the full scope of our wrongdoings under the Bush Administration has come to light. We were also told we were attacked because of our 'freedom,’ when in all reality, it had more to do with our warring beliefs than our political ideologies. France is now being told the same, they were attacked because of freedom and liberty, but maybe France is being targeted for other reasons, like their activities in the Middle East, their limiting of freedom of speech when it comes to Palestine, or the increase in Islamophobic attacks in recent years. I want to make clear that I do not support or justify the attacks on Paris this Friday, but am simply reminding everyone of the truth.

Lastly, by dropping bombs on a foreign country, already decimated by years of civil war and invasion, is bombing them only the continuation of the circle of violence? Sure, in the short run, killing all of the militants seems to work, but just like Al Qaeda, the extremists will come back by using this retaliation as propaganda to fuel a new generation of fighters, a practice all sides are guilty of using. So when a Syrian boy sees a French jet dropping bombs on his neighbourhood, do you think he will grow up to see France as a friend or foe? Take the United States for example, do you think a young Palestinian boy is more likely to join Hamas when all he sees are American bombs and bullets dropped on his people by Israel? Maybe he would grow up without that anger if the United States tried to help Palestine. The same applies to Iraq and Iran, the United States is fueling the fire with our aggression, we are giving the next generation reason to see us an enemies rather than friends, and they are doing the same. This creates a never ending circle of death and destruction. France must understand this and think long and hard about how they want to act.

Now, I am not French, so I can’t say what the right answer is, but I want to pose these points so people across the world will understand it isn’t as simple as it seems. I fear this reaction is simply going to make matters worse. Bombing for peace is something that does not work. In the words of President Jimmy Carter; “War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.”

I fear the tests of futures not yet bloomed,
For bleeding hearts cannot bring forth advance.
And left for me? A self inflicted wound.
The fear controls my heart, destroys my chance.
The circles never ending, must be stopped;
A pause to lure my heart from life’s abyss.
To take a moment now cannot be topped,
And claim the instant of my purest bliss.
My time is now for which I must succeed;
No self-indulgent pity drag me down.
But first I must attempt to stop the bleed,
For giving up would be a reckless drown.
  Though yet I know the key to bring success,
  I fear it is myself I must impress.
—  Sonnet 2: I Must, © 2014 Sarah Marie Pardy