Tuesday, June 10, 2008

wir midder, da sea

Watching the wake of the ferry as it drew me slowly away from Shetland on a beautiful blue evening I saw it as an unravelling lace from the ocean's bodice, a vast thread that stitched the two halves of the sea together. Neptune's zipper, if you will, unzipping me from the island. Leaving, rocked in the embrace of wir midder, the sea. Our mother, the sea from which all life came.

And I secretly long for one friend's hand waving from shore, but Noelle and I share a loathing of long drawn-out farewells, so it was a silent and unremarked leaving. I stayed out on deck till I was numb with cold, then I ate supper and went to my cabin. The sky outside my window was a pale, clear blue and in these days of the 'simmer dim', the light was unlikely to dim until much later. Then I remembered the dvd i'd requested from Medecins Frontieres called ' Invisibles' and slung it into the mac and had my consciousness raised, if raised is the right word. 

I'm lying in comfort, safe on the sea, propped on pillows in my cabin on a gently rocking ship, fed, watered and on my way home to a family who love me, in a warm house with food a-plenty and few real worries.  So - the film didn't raise my  complacent consciousness. It was not raised. No. Probably 'prodded' , 'pricked' and 'shocked' would be closer to what I felt as I watched the series of short films by world-famous directors on the subject of people living in deepest poverty, ill-health and in war-torn lands. 

And as I watched,  I became acutely and uncomfortably aware of what a privileged and pampered life we lead over here in our first world fortress. I saw their faces, their tears, the pain engraved round their eyes and heard the terrible stories of the lives of child soldiers, war-victims, raped, pillaged people and young children who had little enough before their worlds fell in. People dying from curable diseases which aren't cured because big Pharma doesn't think the numbers would add up for the end-of-year reports to the shareholders ( big banks, small banks, tobacco companies, agri-businesses, oil magnates, pension funds, all the vested interests of the million shareholders and thus,  ultimately, us. We, the shareholders profiting from the misery of these people.) And on and on, the films went, one after the other, the parade of beautiful faces, dignified faces, people with the same human needs as us, people just like us except...

Except we live in heaven and they live in hell. And, by and large, they are invisible to us. We don't see them. We completely forget as we go about our daily lives, that over on the other side of our garden planet are millions of people who would give everything to share in one tenth of what we have. Clean air, clean water, enough food to feed our children and ourselves. Roofs, shelter, schools, books and clean clothes.

And that's before you even begin to factor in the toys we love to own. We have so much. So much. If you feel like a wake-up call to your conscience, email Medecins sans Frontieres and ask them to send you a copy of the 'Invisibles'. Watch it, share it with as many like-minded people you can think of, and let's try and start a revolution. We first worlders have enough. We have more than enough. There's enough to go round if we all share. 

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