This year is unhurriedly drawing to a close. I say that, because the agony and destruction that have occurred during these past several months seem to be oozing in a slow, tragic and mind-boggling motion, causing many more people on our planet to simply withdraw into their own immediate comfort zones and to forsake the melodramatic; it’s easier to let the dramas play out by themselves on the national and international stages than to try and understand the complicated conundrums.
Sadly, the wars, the killing, the greed, the lies, deceit and hypocrisy that we are all witnessing are nothing new. They have been going on for thousands of years, though never were they practiced so blatantly and diffused to so many across the world within a mere one seconds’ Tweet of their occurrence!
Nevertheless, and having been around for the past seven decades, there are still some events and behaviors that remain stubbornly unforgettable in my mind, and, sometimes, they drag me into reliving their occurrence all over again.
Last week, and as I was peacefully working on a crossword puzzle, Putin’s name came up as an answer to a clue. That immediately flashed the word: Kursk in my head. Does that conjure up any event in your memory? Here’s what my memory (and a news item that I had kept) recalled: August of the year 2000, a Russian nuclear submarine sinks with 118 crew members on board. They all perished. Putin was off vacationing somewhere. The mothers of the sailors were weeping and grieving. Glasnost and Perestroika had already happened, therefore, supposedly, this was the new, open Russia. Nadia Tylik, one of the angry, mourning mothers was shouting vociferously in the midst of a protesting crowd that was demanding an immediate investigation. On our television screens, as cameramen were filming away, a woman appeared behind her and gave her a hypodermic shot, after which she was limply carried off. Jaws dropped open! There were gasps uttered by viewers all over the world. Nadia’s image being given that sedating shot was splattered on the pages of multiple publications the next day. And then? Nothing! Nothing at all but a haunting image that remains in the memories of those of us who witnessed and recoiled at how Power chills, silences, incarcerates, tortures, kills!
And that’s how Power has been consolidating its grip on populations since the beginning of time. That Power has – with rare exceptions – historically proven itself to be malignant; it does not have the interests of the majority of citizens at heart; it does not seek the general good.
Some people say that when our dissent becomes threatening, and when Powers’ malfeasance begins catching up with it, it injects us with that same, silencing, fear-inducing, sedating syringe used on Nadia; if, on the other hand, we comply, it lulls us with seductive toys to buy and play with while it devours the Planets’ resources, corrupts its climate and manipulates its laws for its own advantages. Maybe?
Others say that our political and corporate leaders are made to think that they are in control, while the real player is that sinister clandestine government which is the real wicked operator on this planet and to whom all of us are merely marionettes and slaves. Perhaps?
Others yet say that, at this moment in history, there is no one really in command, and that the world is spinning out of control because the Information Age, this as yet Unknown Frontier, has totally unsettled all our known paradigms and thrown us fast and headlong into territory that we do not yet know how to navigate and are simply blundering through. Possibly?
I do not know which of these scenarios makes more sense, if any; perhaps all three of them? However, they all indicate to me that there is serious rot occurring up there at the top with all of our leaders and, unless we succeed in extracting that decay, it will continue to contaminate our whole world. This rottenness has caused a dangerous erosion of trust in all of our institutions and is inviting, more than ever before, total chaos.
What would have been the state of our world today, I often wonder, had Obama, in that Uber Perfect fearless and enlightened moment when he became President, gone ahead with all his promises and turned things upside down and on their sorry heads, as we thought would occur?
He didn’t, though! To the contrary, it seems to me that the ghosts of 9/11 have been hovering over all his policy decisions to such an extent that they have totally paralyzed any rational or innovative thinking. These fears, whether real, imagined or manufactured have made the President, his administration and his military utter hostages to the thought of another appalling event. In fact, it seems as if leadership everywhere is now merely reacting with pathetic knee-jerk reactions to events rather than choosing wise and sensible answers to our many world problems.
Therefore, we, the people, can continue to opt out from the world and remain ensconced in our comfort zones, and, if we do that, then No One has the right to ever complain or moan about Anything that is happening on our sorry Planet.
We can all become Nadia Tylik like those fearless souls who are demanding accountability, transparency and drastic change from Power, and are thus risking “sedation” (meaning, in this case, being watched, muzzled, threatened, incarcerated, exiled and, even, killed) in order to save us from ourselves. Examples: the brave investigative journalists doggedly exposing and challenging the Powerful; the non-mainstream media outlets addressing topics that are kept hidden from ordinary people; the heroic children of Gaza and the rest of Occupied Palestine risking home demolishing and imprisonment while standing up to a brutal and vile enemy; the relentless mothers of the massacred students in Mexico not giving up or in until they have answers; same with the distraught Nigerian mothers whose daughters were kidnapped by criminals; mistreated agricultural farm workers in the US organizing for decent wages, fairness and dignity; those rightfully demanding justice in Ferguson and elsewhere; the thousands of courageous activists and civil rights organizations working diligently, and on and on with stories of people coming together for an immediate cause, but, really, expressing all of our discontent with the way things are and demanding accountability from Power. It might be Pollyanna-ish, but I like to think that, yes, it is possible and doable to aspire, to demand and to obtain real Hope and Change, rather than gutless Fear and Same Old governance concepts based on tired systems that cannot, and do not, apply anymore in this New Information Frontier.
So, we can remain willfully or obliviously blind, however, that won’t work for long because, the World will either continue to go where the malfeasance of Power leads it to; or, its strings will continue to be pulled by that evil clandestine government; or, fearful, inept and cowardly Power will let it all drift from one catastrophe to another until the calamities devour all of us – which seems to me to be what is happening now. Should we, therefore, maintain this sorry status quo, or open our minds, take a leap of faith and upturn that damn apple cart that has served us not? In other words, pull a Nadia Tylik and incur the risk of sedation, or perilously continue to blunder through as we now are? The choice is ours!
Quo Vadis, World?