What is happening to our world? Every day, I read articles in the newspapers that impart the stink of such intense hypocrisy, that I feel physically sick. Who can I believe? Who is telling the truth? Does anyone know the difference between truth and lies anymore?
The death of over 700 people this week during the Hajj pilgrimage near Mecca was such an uneccessary loss of life. For what? In the name of religion? The deaths of people fleeing from war-torn countries and the reactions of the authorities in some countries – I refuse to call them ‘migrants’ – (David Cameron named them as a ‘swarm’ – how dare he!) – leaves me totally perplexed. They are people, like you and me. Their children are my children, all our children, caught up in the most horrible suffering in the name of political power, in the wake of international hate between countries, between insane political leaders, warmongers and religious insanity.
I watched Dr. Amanda Foreman’s wonderful TV documentary the other night – The Ascent of Woman. Dr Foreman uncovers stories of women that have made and changed human history from 10,000 BC to the present day. This series should be shown in every senior school and especially in countries where women’s contribution to society has been hidden or ridiculed. While considering the state of the world today, it continues to sicken me when I see the way women are treated – beaten, abused, degraded by pornography, paid less than men, just a handful representing us in governments across the world, unequal still in so many ways – how can this state of affairs be good for anyone, especially men?
Take a pragmatic look at the anxiety and insecurity that is seeping through every global society. In the UK, I think we longer feel safe. Of course, that’s not what our government would have you believe. They extol the virtues of living here, the civilised way we all must help each other, the compassion of the austerity budget – for our own good, dear children – the lack of dignity in the way old people are treated – sadly, too many of them; the disrespect shown online, the way they are slowly and secretly eroding our NHS. Is that why so many of our brilliant young people have decamped to Australia, to Canada, to America?
Unlike the universal fear that touched everyone during the last war, a fear that bought us together to fight a common enemy, today we have no idea who our enemies are. Is the enemy poverty? Austerity? Religion? Isis? Putin, along with all the other insane leaders? Is the enemy collapsing families, more divorce than ever before, desperate kids committing suicide, cutting themselves, taking drugs? Is the enemy the army of excessive NHS users, the bed-blockers, the rich pensioners – nasty old buggers who should hurry up and die? Or that nebulous ‘swarm’ of ‘migrants’ ? Have all of them become the enemy? If you label them and see them as attacking us, rather than enhancing society, they will be.
I’m sorry to sound so fatalistic, so pessimistic, but of late, I can see a new fear permeating everyone, every family I come in contact with, even my own. There is a pervasive detachment in communities at this moment in time, separating us, keeping us all apart from each other, making us selfish and introspective. We are separated by politics, by religion, by family conflict, heritage, domestic abuse, class, money, poverty. Why? Is it a desperate but unspoken insecurity about where we are all heading? To be too close is to court disaster because we feel we are all on the verge of losing everything. To have too many people touching our lives is a threat – those pesky ‘migrants’ like swarms of hornets will take everything away from us, even our national identity! These notions are often peddled by the tabloids and they plant seeds in our minds; seeds that grow once more into hate and prejudice and fear; fear of the unknown.
Kids are encouraged to go to university and run up huge debts when perhaps they would have fared better staying at home, finding a job, settling in their community. But, there are few jobs out there for people without skills and even with a degree and a huge debt, there are few jobs. Houses are ridiculously expensive. Who can afford a mortgage on a minimum wage? More children than ever before are living in poverty, in temporary homes. Why? And while all this chaos if going on here in the UK, men are still fighting each other over a God whose existence still cannot be proven! It’s total madness. And we can’t dress death up with polite platitudes any more. It’s right there, every day, in glorious colour on our TV screens.
So, what is the solution? Define the enemy? Work all out for peace, everywhere? Wait for people to have a ‘penny drops’ moment about the futility of religion; the way it entices war, segregates communities, encourages hate and prejudice? Elect leaders that are our servants, not money-grabbing-power-seekers? Live in a bubble, wishing life were as gentle and controlled as it appears in Downton Abbey? Close your eyes to the world? never read another newspaper, watch the TV, look at the Internet? Some people are choosing to do this. Usually, they have money. It takes money to be able to make choices whatever the Tories say!
I fear for the future of the planet. The world will continue to turn in the cosmos, for after all, it is just a lump of rock along with trillions of others out there. No, I fear for the future of humanity as I have never feared before. Perhaps it’s an age thing? I am older, with a more circumspect approach to what goes on around me. I don’t dismiss things lightly, pour the wine and say – ‘it’s not my problem – because I know it is. What happens to humanity is everyone’s problem. Never forget it.