this too
Friday, September 02, 2005
  Look where it's got us
I was late for work today because I couldn’t stop listening to the radio reports, the lovely Southern voices talking about what’s happened to them in New Orleans and around.

Apart from just feeling terribly sorry for these individuals, and bypassing for a moment the crazy environmental priorities that left New Orleans inadequately protected, and the obscene social and economic polarisation that perhaps explains - though nothing justifies - the apparently horrifying outbreak of violence and lawlessness, all the ifs and buts and complexities which there always are, I was thinking:

The suffering isn’t worse because it’s in a rich country. It isn’t worse because it’s somewhere interesting and historic and beautiful. This concentrated suffering in one place is not worse than the endless, constant suffering in so many places.

But I’m riveted by this because it holds up a mirror to where the wickedly misguided political trends in the US and the Britain of the past 30 years – my whole adult life – have got us. This has been the era when government was a dirty word, big government dirtier words. Privatise everything. There is no such thing as society. But in the face of such disasters only big public authorities have the capacity to help. Who else may we turn to? And, cut to the bone for a generation and more, they seem, unsurprisingly, not to have that capacity.

It’s very frightening. Might this be enough to make some people think again? Or are we too far gone?
I fear we are way too far gone (have been for some time).

Comfort, greed, and fear dominate.

However, I believe (have done for awhile) we can and must build pockets of light - each in their own way - communities of "awareness," as it were, that don't let go of human compassion, respect all people, and continually strive for social justice.

It's hard - sometimes lonely - and always painful.
Tamar, you are so right, I fear. On reflection, I don't even know why I added the last two sentences.
Those are great - the two last sentences! They invite us into your "awareness" community and make us think and feel and wonder. We need to never stop wondering! To combat the fear.
I am glad to have read your post. I have felt this way for a long time myself. "Pockets of light" are one answer, in the absence of an overall social system that still understands community. Only connect!
Well, my take on the last few days is that when I tell people my opinion (which is that we are too far gone) they stop and take note. I don't know if they would have done that before. I know I'm telling people my opinion more often in the last few days.

I love the idea of pockets of light. Though I think we are too far gone I hope something beautiful is coming.
I am a bit late getting here, but liking what I see, will return. Have seen your comments on Tamar and Ronni's blogs numeroous times and it finally hit me - it's high time to go check out this "Jean". Nice blog!
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Freelance copy-editor and translator. Keen on language, literature, photography, art, music, buddhist meditation and the countryside.

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