When Suffering gets personal

John Simpson, a BBC reporter in Iraq and Afghanistan, has seen much suffering over the past few years - including the effects of suicide bombings. Finally it has begun to affect him personally:
I do not just loathe the stench of high explosive, I have come to loathe the attitudes of people who use high explosive for their own purposes: insurgents, terrorists, the intelligence services of a dozen countries, governments which target towns and cities and always have a ready apology when they kill the wrong people.

High explosive means hospitals with blood on the walls and corridors, and ordinary people like you and me, lying on the floor or on a gurney, ears ringing with the noise of the explosion, nostrils filled with the stench of it still.

The screams of others who are worse hurt than us. The fear and despair of the small number of doctors who have to deal with so many life-or-death cases, and know that they are condemning many of them to a slow, painful death.

"The armed struggle," said an African resistance song from the 1980s, "is an act of love." Try explaining that to the people lying in the hospital corridors.

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