Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I have to hope that there's more to life than the evidence of my
eyes. To hope that there is a greater world beyond the temporal,
beyond the world of the senses, beyond this world of 'stuff'. Some
days I can believe in the vision of an emerald green beyond; other
days I shudder to think that the home planet and all her wriggling,
striving, breeding billions are all there ever was, or will be.

Today, your upbeat narrator has some difficulty in finding any joy in
counting herself as part of the human race. Today, I am revolted by
my tacit collusion in the horrors going on in Iraq. Had I not been
reading the Guardian's recent extracts from Naomi Klein's new book
'The Shock Doctrine : The Rise of Disaster Capitalism' I could
cheerfully have continued forgetting that every day since Iraq was
invaded, there has been a dirty war rumbling away on the other side
of the world.

In the interests of my own mental health, I am quite good at
forgetting. Some things are too foul to bear too much daylight being
shed upon them. Some things are too shameful to be spoken of.
Forgetting is easier, tidier and allows me to sleep at night.
Thankfully, I don't have to deal with this kind of stuff every day of
my life or else I would be unable to continue with the simplest of

Like drawing breath.

Every time I fill my tank, every time I turn on a light, every time I
buy some manufactured item without an impeccable pedigree ( hand-
crafted from local ingredients, grown organically, harvested by well-
paid workers, minimally packaged etcetera ; though the 'sourcing' of
such faultless items is an exhausting task in itself, so sometimes I
lapse and buy something with a potentially dirty history) every time
I connect ( as a consumer) with the world of big business, I am
connecting with the same world that is raping the people and the
country of Iraq.

Ergo - I am part of the problem. Therefore, I am responsible. Tracing
back the lineage of suppliers of our everyday goods can lead to the
uncomfortable truth ; we are all part of the problem. With the best
will in the world, some of us have been buying goods from the same
companies who are making billions in the 'rebuilding' of Iraq.

That's the same country we destroyed from the ground up. It exists
beyond the grey images on our television screens. Or, should I say it
existed. Now it's a war zone of our own making. Every time we filled
our tanks, we were part of it. Every time we did nothing to stop the
war. Every time we silently colluded, turned away from the carnage
and taught ourselves to forget. Every time we self-medicated with the
many drugs we use to keep our forgetting at an acceptable level. We
read on, skipped channels, scrolled over the bits about collateral
damage and turned instead to the accounts of a houseful of human
puppets jerking about to the dictates of the media.

There's an obscenity at the heart of our society that fills me with
horror. Every time I connect to the internet, my inbox fills up with
foul matter which I am forced to wade through to get to my work-
related emails. This is the same foul matter that we wade through in
our newspapers and televisions in order to get to the stuff which
interests us. We are drowning in a sea-tide of foulness, and slowly,
inexorably, we are developing an ability to ignore it, to tune it out
and not to let it upset us. We are slowly adapting to a climate
change within the human spirit. This kind of adaptation is dangerous
in the extreme. For if we lose the ability to empathize with our
fellow-humans, then we lose part of our humanity, and that, as
history has shown, is very bad news indeeed.

Only connect, someone once said. It's one of my favourite
instructions for how to live this life. Connect ourselves to every
living soul, connect to our beautiful planet, connect to the fact
that we are all part of one vast, living organism. All of us,
connected. Each of us responsible for each other.

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