2018

Coping

It is sometimes mentioned that we humans have an indomitable spirit, without which, undoubtedly, we would not have been able to survive this long on our planet despite the ravages and tragedies of our collective history. One of the reasons for this skill is that we have awesome coping abilities that have allowed us to adjust and to adapt no matter what the conditions are. At this moment, and even though I am doubting our ability to continue doing so on a global scale, I know that on an individual basis, many of us can still do so. Therefore, and despite my recent utter feelings of chronic sadness, I still retain that resolute spirit which helps me to cope.

However, that steadfastness within me is bolstered and magnified by all the amazing voices of family and friends who, after my last blog, rushed to convey their support, their understanding, their empathy and sympathy. It was truly wonderful, and reconfirms, once again, that none of us exists in a vacuum, that we all need each other and that, indeed, “it takes a village” for any one of us to prosper and thrive.

Unfortunately, there are some in our world who do not feel a belonging to any “village.” Their despair is so acute that they end their own lives, such as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, leaving loved ones behind forever haunted by the question: what could I/should I have done?  Both of them are in the category of people aged 45 to 64 which has the highest suicide rates according to recent numbers from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). There are forty-five thousand people who ended their lives in 2016, and that figure is going up. Amongst them are veterans and young adults, those dependent on drugs and alcohol, the raped, the abused, the trafficked, as well as the many who are hopeless and despairing for their various miserable reasons. It is a very sad statistic starkly mirroring the dark cloud that has been hovering over our planet for a long time now, but whose intensity seems to become all the more foreboding. There is something very, very wrong with those who are conducting the affairs of our planet’s destiny, mainly the violence, wars and injustice whose effects seep into every corner of our existence whether directly, or indirectly. And unless we find new formulas for coexisting, there will continue to be more turmoil, discontent and, yes, the despair that drives people to suicide.

Stop Watching the News, some said. My response to that is: I am a first class political junkie, and, therefore, I cannot do that. I was born in 1943, after all, during worldwide political turmoil, whether that was in 1945 when WWII was ending, or 1948 when the Palestinian Nakba occurred. Since then, I have lived through and witnessed so many dramatic political events one after the other and throughout my entire life. Many of those events affected me and my family personally inviting insecurities and fears, generally valid, but occasionally unfounded. How could that then not have touched me to the core and made me so politically aware? Yes, the news is horrid, and, yes, differentiating between what is “real” news and what is “fake” seems to become more challenging by the minute, however, knowing what is happening to our world was, and still is, very important to me. It is not a pretty picture out there. In fact, it seems that the white colonist nations who have been running and usurping the world for hundreds of years, have now brought us to the brink of what is obviously and slowly unfolding into financial and social anarchy. It is, actually, quite terrifying, and, in a sense, makes me totally understand how some of my friends have stopped listening to “news” altogether. I can see their point clearly as we reel towards the Precipitous Unknown, especially in our modern crime frontier: Cyberspace.

G6? Or, G7? Or, G8? Who knows!?! I agree with Trump, though. Russia should not have been excluded. We need more cooperation and coexistence in our sorry world, and much less belligerence and saber rattling.

North Korea? Love him, or hate him, the President of the US succeeded in pulling off a historic summit. It was such fun to see the anchors of the morning news on CNN and MSNBC arriving on air as if they had just chewed a very bitter lemon! They couldn’t even give Trump any credit for averting a nuclear confrontation and meeting with Kim Jong-Un, even though we still have a long way to go. What a vindictive, hateful, despicable bunch! Quite pathetic!

Iran? Palestine? Could Trump pull another “art of the deal” over there? Only if Bibi, the bully, doesn’t get his way. So, who knows?

Syria? Yemen? Afghanistan? Libya? Who knows!?! There are faint hopeful signs, but that situation remains dicey, to say the least.

Anyhow, it is not as if I am plastered in front of my television “news” for umpteen hours a day. To the contrary, I flash through the corrupt MSM channels, but get most of my news from reading online magazines that offer “the other side of the coin” and not the same inane harping on items that the corrupt MSM think are important, but which have nothing – nada, zilch – to contribute to my knowledge, or analysis of the serious issues. Viewing and reading material that offers points of views which do not echo our own is necessary if we want to stay well-informed, because living in a bubble of our own making invites bigotry, feelings of superiority, delusion and isolation from the realities of life. It also alienates us from each other. That does not work for me.

Otherwise, my very busy life goes on with duties and events that make me feel privileged, grateful and generally very content at this seasoned old age of mine. But, then, it’s not all about me, is it? It isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. It’s About Us. So how do I make a difference, miniscule as it might be in the general scheme of things? I blast off on Facebook, for one, and vent on this blog, hoping that a small spark of what I say might get my readers thinking of another angle, a different approach? But, that is not nearly enough, so I contribute and support those organizations that I believe in, have vetted (very important!) and that are doing the sensible and greatly needed work on my behalf. Short of actually working in the trenches with such organizations, it is the least I can do to make a difference at this stage of my life!

We all go through depressing moments. We would not be human if we didn’t. But at some point, and perhaps after the sad moments (days, weeks?) pass by, we have to rise up and face life again and, hopefully, cope with it in the best way that is within our control. For some of us, coping ceases to be an option, and exiting becomes the only available tool.  At the end of the day, it is true what they say: It is not the problem, but how we deal with it that matters. This works for most of us. For some, as in the case of Spade and Bourdain and the many like them, dealing with it by opting out seems to be their only tragic solution. It is very sad, and only one of the symptoms of a planet that is severely stressed, and that, truly, needs a more peaceful and compassionate approach to our myriad problems!

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2018

Angst

This past month has found me uninspired, lethargic and, it seems, as if I am in a chronic state of sadness. I, who rarely cry these days, have found myself recently swallowing tears and suppressing moans. While I have often written of depressing events in our world, I have somehow managed to remain generally upbeat and optimistic. I attributed this to the fact that I am old and that I have read it, analyzed it and seen it all before and that, despite the adversity occurring in our world and its often wretched events, we, human beings, have managed to overcome and survive. Recently I am questioning our ability to do so when so much is stacked against all our well-intentioned thoughts, wishes and efforts. It seems to me as if a very dark cloud has been hovering above us all, threatening, menacing and emitting a whole bunch of negative energy that is causing endemic angst and a deep sense of foreboding. In many countries and communities, the wickedness, evil and pure ineptness at the top is seeping throughout the planet and subverting any positive events that are, indeed, occurring in our world.

Other than in a few of the European countries, it seems that “democratic values” are seeing a rapid global erosion, and that the International Powers, beginning with these United States, are continuing to bolster rulers who are, basically, thugs, and who are using their local and state powers to suppress any expression of dissent, protest, or legitimate demands for justice and equality by their citizens. It also appears that all the International Institutions which were initially established to address draconian excesses of all sorts have been emasculated and rendered ineffective.

Nothing proved that to me more than the bloody events in Gaza and the rest of Palestine whence the world stepped aside and allowed a massacre to go on and on and on as we wrung our hands, vented our anger on social media, cried into our pillows and . . . infuriatingly went on with our mundane daily activities while ensconced in our safe enclaves. I can also look at the Rohingya and how they are being slaughtered by an army that seems to become more vicious daily as the world, again, cedes its responsibilities. Across the Planet whether in some areas of these United States, places in Europe, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, in Africa, India and Latin America anguish continues, little children go hungry, are orphaned, trafficked, raped and slaughtered; people, young and old, are being traumatized; terrorists, hackers, cybercriminals, cartels, coyotes, deadly gangs and predators are on the loose in a world that seems to have no constraints on any evil. Immigrants and migrants are being shoved into concentration camps where they may be raped and abused. Shouldn’t we be thinking of how to use our influence and money to keep them in their home countries and stop triggering and encouraging the wars and tyrants that are causing them to flee? World Forums are convened, tons of paperwork are submitted, speeches are made and admonitions are voiced all to no avail whatsoever as the bloodbaths rampage on and on and on with no end in sight! All this, as the dire situation of the US belligerence and antagonism against Iran and, possibly, North Korea (for who can predict how that will pan out), are sounding the knells for wars that no responsible, sane or caring individual can support.

Moreover, the world’s climate is wreaking havoc on communities everywhere with erupting volcanoes, floods and fires, and there is yet much more upheaval to happen while we nonchalantly fill our pools, water our lawns and golf courses; spray poison all over in order to kill weeds and pesky insects; our industries and manufacturers use an inordinate amount of precious metals and resources that are depleting water, contaminating the environment and causing disease and distress in communities that supply all those “necessities” thus causing rampant abuse, strife and wiping away of entire villages. One report after another warns of the contaminants, additives, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives and pesticides in our water and food and yet no one seems to care enough to bring it to an end as long as personal and corporate profits come over and above any other consideration. On the one hand, some of us, ordinary citizens, religiously recycle our paper and plastic; switch the faucet off as we brush our teeth and take measures to save the environment that we care about while, on the other hand, continuing to use our mobile phones, computers, and a plethora of gizmos and products that we know are utilizing the most wicked of methods in order to satisfy our modern lifestyles. It is, to say the least, totally and absurdly schizophrenic!

This terrifying situation, whether it is the widespread corruption that has even infected our charitable organizations, seems to have become the norm as we look from our political landscape to the ongoing climate changes to our academic institutions where some of our young innocent teenagers are being raped or shot dead, and all the other blood-curdling events occurring daily and creating more and more untenable conditions. And yet, our venerable politicians continue to squabble over nonsensical issues as they jostle for more wealth and power while eroding all the gains that have been made since the Civil Rights days of yore. More and more States and localities are outlawing abortion, women’s clinics, reversing sensible rules and regulations, and, most importantly, banning protest and dissent as we descend into an abyss where our voices are smothered and our efforts as individuals become more and more hopeless. All this, while most of our corrupt media is supporting all the wrongdoings and not having the gall to speak up on behalf of real issues that affect us all, but, rather, concentrating their efforts on Russia, whores and salacious scandals. They, like the world’s politicians, have absconded their moral imperative and civic duties as they wallow in their cushy jobs and wicked behavior. Shameful, even though they have deleted this word from their lexicons!

If this is a deliberate “conspiracy” – and what else could we attribute it to unless we want to blame “God” again – in order for the corrupt and powerful to dominate and enslave us, then it is certainly succeeding as we writhe in our angst and a chronic sense of helplessness and sadness! At this moment, it is not at all a hopeful outlook!