As the conflict in Aleppo in Syria continues, we here in the Western Isles are preparing ourselves for the Christmas festivities.
We can seem so detached from the terror that ensues in that troubled country, yet there are times when it reduces me to tears as I watch on TV, the horror and devastation that is taking place there.
Medical provision is now minimal, the people who are attempting to provide relief-aid are now themselves threatened with destruction from the forces intent on razing the city to the ground at any cost.
It is difficult to believe that this part of the world and throughout all of the middle East, the birth of the Christian, Judaic and Islamic faiths were formed. Throughout the centuries there has been trouble in these lands, brought on by either the lust for power or complete religious intolerance, and in every case, mankind has blindly plummeted headfirst into conflict because of it.
We in the West are also not unaffected by violence due to either political or religious ideology.
History records a violent past, where efforts to subdue free thought and personal choice could, and often did, result in death.
I’m glad we have developed positively. Our democratic constitution means that our lives are not threatened according to what we believe in or whom we do or do not worship.
We have a choice and we are so lucky because of that. Yet, in the oldest civilisations on earth, there is still war, there is still intolerance, there is still persecution. I pray that one day the madness will end.