Looking out for news

A long time ago now, in fact when I was at uni ten years ago, I went to party of a friend who was going to go to the States for a year. There I met a bloke called Ben.

Ben moved up from Eastbourne to Lancaster to live with me and we went out for two years. When it ended, it ended amicably and we were the best of friends for a long time, so much so that he lived with my family for a while. During that time he joined the army and it was me that drove him to the airport to see him off to his new base in Germany. Our friendship came to an end when he met his now wife, who banned him from speaking to me. She had a few issues…

A year or so I got back in contact with Ben through Facebook and learned that he's still in the army. He's currently deployed in Afghanistan, Helmand in fact, which is where the UK is suffering its heaviest losses. The odd thing is that even though we've had minimal contact for a long time, every time I see a headline about another British soldier being killed out there I read through it, just to check.  If the article doesn't give a name then I look it up the next day, just to make sure. And if it isn't Ben then I feel a little tiny bit of relief, which I know is very wrong because it's someone's friend or family. So when is it, do you think, that you lose interest enough to not check and be concerned? And how much worse must it be for the families of the serving soldiers out there?

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8 Responses

  1. I'm sure that if anyone else was in your situation, they'd be doing it too. I hope he comes back safely.

  2. I agree with Oinks – I reckon it'd be impossible not to react that way. Let's indeed hope he makes it back without harm.

  3. [esto es genial]

  4. It must be pretty tough looking through the newspaper everyday. Hope you
    friend comes back home safely soon.

  5. And if it isn't Ben then I feel a little tiny bit of relief, which I
    know is very wrong because it's someone's friend or family. Not wrong at all Vicola. We do not have the capacity to mourn for every single human who dies in the world. That emotion is reserved for those who we love, or have loved in this world. That it is from a time past is irrelevant….we should have a caring place in our heart for all who have previously touched it.

  6. Exactly what GOF says. It isn't wrong to feel relief that you have not lost someone you care about. I think it's very human. I also think it's very compassionate of you to realize that each one of these "troops" isn't just a "troop" or a number, but a person, with likes and dislikes and people who love them. A lot of people forget that.

  7. Thanks Katiebell. Life for them is tough at the moment in Helmand. We are given the details when someone dies but not when they're injured and there are a LOT coming home injured at the moment. Unlike the conflicts previously the injuries aren't mainly bullet wounds, which if they don't kill you or hit something vital will heal with a nasty scar, they are IED wounds, from stepping on devices full of shrapnel, nails and anything the Taleban can get their hands on and they rip a body into bits, leaving massive damage and amputations. Horrific.

  8. Cheers GOF. Funnt thing is the time with Ben doesn't feel as long ago as it actually was. Watched a programme last night about the 'Green Howards', part of a Yorkshire regiment and their stint in Sangin, one of the worst areas. The damage an IED can do to a body is truly appalling and it really makes you worry about all of them out there. They must be terrified.

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