Monthly Archives: July 2014

Gaza needs a Mandela

Nelson_Mandela-2008_(edit)

South Africa The Good News / www.sagoodnews.co.za [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The thinking that created the problem is quite incapable of solving it. Albert Einstein

Compulsion is inherent within the human condition, often pushing us to extreme and destructive behaviour that is beyond comprehension. It is stimulated by many things, including the derivatives of harmless aspects of Nature. A poppy is a beautiful flower until turned into opium, grape and grain are nutritional foods until distilled into alcohol. Both then fuel the destructive compulsions of drug or alcohol addiction.

Aggression is also an inherent part of that human condition, and it too has a compulsive element of ‘tit for tat’ revenge when the anger becomes overwhelming. The growing depravity of the violence we are now experiencing in the Middle East is witness to this compulsion at work, something I believe could also have happened in South Africa in the 1990’s. Continue reading

Children and Airline Passengers . . . Where Next?!

By Ptdtch (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There was a time not many decades ago when warfare was defined by the combatants wearing uniforms to identify who they were and also to separate them from the civilian population and other non-combatants. Within this arena there were also codes of practice on how the actual war was conducted, including an ‘etiquette’ for dealing with the wounded and captured prisoners.

We have moved a long way from these ‘Marquis of Queensbury rules’ as combatants no longer wear uniforms to identify themselves. Indeed we now see them in civilian clothing, actually merging with the civilian population and carrying out acts of warfare against those same civilians they hide amongst. It seems as though nothing is sacrosanct any more as rape is now used as a tool of warfare, instead of ‘collateral damage’, and children are targeted with growing regularity.

Unmanned ‘drones’ carry out bombing raids that remove their operators from any risk, and cause further mayhem to an already traumatised civilian population. Terrorism is the perfect description of modern conflict as it seeks to aggravate our greatest fears with acts of barbarism in our day to day lives we struggle to comprehend.

From certain aspects I see a correlation between the excesses of Capitalism and the excesses of religious fundamentalism, taking us more and more out of balance as a species, as one belief system seeks to dominate the other. Both are becoming increasingly abusive in their desire for global power, with scant regard for the chaos and misery they inflict upon the majority in their futile quest for domination.

There was a time when traditional religious belief was the line over which Society did not tread, providing a moral value that contained the actions of aggressive power struggles. Sadly our religious institutions have lost sway over Societies values having sowed the seeds of their own destruction by not evolving as our species has evolved, and abusing their own powers in the process.

So where does this leave us now, in a world that has had its traditional moral values erased by the onward advance of Capitalism and its shallow lust for profit over all else, countered by the traditional values of religious fundamentalism?

Certainly governments should be Societies protector but they too have succumbed to the shallow values previously mentioned. Global institutions like the United Nations have shown time and time again that they are impotent in controlling abusive nations and countries, as they too succumb to the interests of powerful governments working hand in glove with giant corporations.

If children and airline passengers are no longer safe from senseless power plays it can only be a short step to nuclear war. Already we hear of unstable organisations and countries desperately seeking this capability as the ultimate weapon with which to achieve their quest for power. If there is no longer a set of global values with which to curb these desperate acts it might not be long before they achieve their obscene goals.

Oh . . . and the reward for this achievement? A Planet that resembles a lunar landscape, unlivable because of nuclear fallout and bereft of people to rule because the violence continued beyond children and airline passengers.

Until the next time.

Gaza . . . Why 5 Hours?!

 

doves

As I looked at the screens I, like millions of others, struggled to understand the latest horror to come out of this troubled land and the resultant 5 hour ceasefire. But almost immediately afterwards I thought “Why 5 hours?” What is the mind-set of the people responsible that they come up with such a figure? What was the Instruction that came from the command post?

Oh Fuck!!! Some more kids got killed. Better have a 5 hour ceasefire . . . that should sort it”

5 Hours. That’s 1 hour 15 minutes of ceasefire for each child’s life. Is that the going rate? I really don’t know but it makes the financial costs of warfare pale into insignificance. And why 5 hours? Why not 1 hour 34 minutes, or 15 hours 10 minutes, or the more traditional 24/48/72 hours? Is it just that after such a long period of conflict, senses are now so dulled as to remove all morality from human thought?

In no way do I feel qualified to comment on the history and religious politics of this running sore of conflict on our beautiful Planet. What I do know however, is that if you look down from Space you cannot see any natural barriers of race, colour, creed or gender that separate us. These have come from the religious and political beliefs of our species, used as a tool to ‘divide and conquer’ the majority for millennia. In the beginning it was brute force that took the power but now, in a modern democracy, we elect these people to continue the divisions that divert our attention from turning on them.

Isn’t it perverse that we elect them to indoctrinate us in beliefs that keep them in power at the cost of ours, and our children’s lives? Left to their own devices people get on well together, learning from each other’s different means of living this thing called Life. Maybe the time is fast approaching when we ‘unelect’ these trouble makers and watch world peace grow across this increasingly joined up Planet.

As I finish this piece I am not ashamed to admit for the first time in 8 years of writing there are teardrops on my keyboard. I believe the toughest challenge Life can throw at us is the death of children. There is not only the agony of the grief and loss but a sense of guilt that we have unnaturally outlived our own children. My heart goes out to those and the many other parents paying the price of senseless power plays.

It also goes out to those who actually witnessed this barbaric atrocity. For a moment they were watching kids laughing and playing the timeless game of hide and seek, something we have all enjoyed at one stage or another in our lives. Then a mighty explosion and suddenly nothing. I hope and pray they find the wherewithal to deal with the mind numbing trauma they have experienced, both now and in the years that stretch out before them, because it will surely always haunt them.

One last thought on the 5 hours. Perhaps it was just a favourite number that now demands another child’s life to square everything!

Until the next time

NHS and the Obscenity of Capitalism

Madness is badness of spirit, when one seeks profit from all sources. Aristotle

I know someone whose mother was the youngest of 11 kids and, in the latter years, watched as each of her brothers and sisters died from cancer, in one form or another. She then watched her husband die from it. He was a temperate man who took to whisky in the latter months to get 4 hours reprieve a night from the “wire brush that was continually at work in his anus”. His brother also went from it, and his youngest son from a radiation leak in the nuclear submarine that was his work. This incredibly stoic lady also eventually succumbed to this evil disease.

I knew the family well and am confident that if I could call her back to day and tell her that there are now companies that seek to make profits from the suffering of others she would look at me with total incomprehension. To her our health was a responsibility of the state, as the only body within Society capable of providing the truly vocational service with the essential care and compassion needed for our sick and ill at health.

Over the recent decades Capitalism has had a good run for its money, as it ravages the Planet and abuses the inhabitants by relegating humanity to ‘consumers’ of its increasingly shoddy products and services. Not only are the products and services shoddy but so too is the treatment of the people it employs, and without whom it could not function. Having brought the Planet and its healthy inhabitants to their knees it is now turning its toxic attention to the unhealthy within Society, as the last remaining and untouched source from which to continue its abject addiction to limitless economic growth.

In a healthy Society it would be the job of government to restrain this mad rush to self-destruction, as it looked to the best interests of that Society as a whole. Sadly we are in an era of career politicos. Clever young men who attain high office and vast powers without the necessary years behind them to provide the essential wisdom that fuels the integrity needed to wield such power.

Society is therefore cast aside by them as they are seduced by, and bend to, the will of global corporations who have now set their greedy eyes upon the sick. Modern government is bereft of mature and visionary leadership, something we are made increasingly aware of within the corridors of power, from abuse of taxpayer money to abuse of the young and old alike. It is reminiscent of the latter days of the Roman Empire and no doubt will meet a similar fate as history repeats itself with monotonous regularity.

Or, we could wake up to the reality of what is happening and seek people who have a proven track record of standing up to multinationals and are in no short supply within the charitable sector. They have the requisite mind-set that focusses upon the sustainable management of this Planet, and a care and compassion for its inhabitants. Putting this thinking and values into parliament would instantly transform the frightening reality we currently face. We could do a lot worse!

Until the next time.

Thinking that is taken from his book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes