2018

Mon Dieu!!

Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu! Recapping events is sometimes more exhausting than living them! But, here goes: It seems that the gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) in France are causing some major headaches for Macron resulting in the French Administration’s withdrawal of the fuel tax that it had imposed and which was the spark that ignited the protests. However, after high school students, ambulance drivers, trade unions, farmers, truck drivers, single mothers etc. joined the protest movement, the demands are now for reforms on many levels. The rise of fuel prices, electricity and gas bills, easing taxes on the wealthy and other “globalization” measures that the government has taken have exposed how out of touch politicians are with the hard-pressed middle class and blue-collar laborers. The recent taxes, said to be an effort to mitigate climate change by subsidizing cleaner fuels – essentially, a sound idea as our climate is in crisis – cut into the pocketbooks of ordinary citizens and seems to punish them rather than cause any discomfort on the wealthy by raising their taxes. (Sounds familiar?) These latest waves of protest, not seen in France since 1968, have wreaked havoc on Paris and have even caused soccer matches to be cancelled and touristic monuments to be shut down! Now they are saying that it was possibly Russian Meddling that boosted the upheavals??!! Sounds familiar? Really? Mon Dieu, Putin, mauvais garcon! In any case, Macron’s “atonement” speech fell kind of flat, didn’t it?

The violent and collective anger on the streets of Paris are merely a harbinger of worse to come not only in France, but worldwide, as politicians and governments are underestimating the despair of their citizens, and as ruthless runaway, unfettered capitalism continues to create deep societal fissures, uncertain futures and income inequality. While politicians and the wealthy continue to meet in the G7, G8, G20, Davos and all those other multi-nation gatherings where they feast, gab and pose for the memorial picture, they seem to be creating more devious ways in which to punish the laboring classes as they reap more and more wealth, resulting in the people of the world asking: why isn’t the education of our children getting better; why is our healthcare suffering; why can’t we make ends meet despite working so damn hard; why is it that whenever governments tell us that they have decreased our taxes they somehow manage to skim those so-called tax savings off our paychecks by increasing fuel, food and other essential needs costs? Why is it so hard for them to raise our measly wages and not so difficult for them to raise their own nauseatingly high incomes? The injustice and inequality are burning people up!

As one example amongst many in our US, the debate on pre-existing conditions and whether they ought to be covered by the health insurance companies rages on. How inhumane is that? This, as the combined earnings of the CEOs of the largest insurance companies were 342 Million in 2017!! Mon Dieu! Maybe we should blame Putin for this, also?

In any case, while the Paris protests were going on, Greece was witnessing its own protests, as was Spain, other European countries have their issues too, such as the anxiety regarding the unknown outcome of Brexit, then there are the US-China Trade Wars, OPEC lowering its oil output, our never ending wars and the question becomes: will the yellow jackets phenomenon be spreading its wings and gathering within its span all the world’s discontented? Moreover, if we couple these angry protests and events with the general angst people are feeling regarding the dire climate predictions – irrelevant of what you may think is causing them, they are actually happening; the ability of governments to warp and misuse every democratic law that they please at the expense of subduing dissidents and doing what cements their power; the increasing amount of mass murders in schools and public places; the new technologies and their ability to wreak havoc (disaster?) on our lives; cyber hacking/warfare; the greed of social media moguls as well as unethical gene modification experiments etc. etc. the future for us ordinary humans becomes frightening and very unsettling. I am not a specialist on anything, but I know that what is going on in France is simply the starting point for what is surely going to become, at some point or the other, mass protests and uprisings elsewhere as the middle and labor classes get more squeezed, and as the rich from Moscow to New York, and from Dubai to Beijing not only become richer, but more callous, out of touch and arrogant. Money is not Communist or Socialist. It is a Capitalist venture that unites all ideologies and religions within its corrupt and far-reaching net. It’s just not right!

As another Christmas season rolls around, I will leave you with the timeless and poignant anti-war lyrics of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song: Happy Xmas (War is Over). It was my Mother’s favorite Christmas song, and its sentiment and authentic words, nowadays maybe more than ever, reflects what most of the world aspires for!

So this is Xmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Xmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very Merry Xmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Xmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong (now)
And so Happy Xmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let’s stop all the fight (now)

A very Merry Xmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over, if you want it
War is over now

2 thoughts on “Mon Dieu!!”

  1. Ah, yes. Christmas always raises our hopes that there will be hope and peace!
    Her to you , Hala, for caring about the world and its humans.
    Some day, it will get better. In the meantime, let us focus on the good things, because it is Christmas, always a celebration of the contribution of one religion’s emphasis on love and peace….

    Like

  2. Hala, that is my favorite Christmas song, too.

    Your views are always insightful, pragmatic and compassionate. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s