Here we are, the new year and all is well. Well, well for some
and not so well for others. 2008 has got off to a flying start.
I certainly can’t complain. I guess I can but my woes pale into
insignificance when compared to others. Nonetheless, I can’t
help feeling that this year will offer little change for those,
who like me, attempt to eek out an income to support a lifestyle
to which we would like to become accustomed.
Politically it would seem nothing has changed. Sure we have a
new crew at the helm of the good ship “Orstraylia” and there are
moves afoot to change the guard at the palace of capitalism in
Washington but the overriding question remains. Will there be
room for the poor and dispossessed at the tables of excess? I
Hot on the heels of announcing that the Gunns’ pulp mill has the
nod from Peter Garrett, we find that in my neck of the woods,
Garrett and the state government are still fighting tooth and
nail for the right of capital to prevail over the environment of
Port Phillip Bay. No sooner has the news been announced that the
desalination plant off the coast near my new home will go ahead,
interest rates rise, Mitsubishi closes their South Australian
plant, the Victorian government bungles another billion dollar
attempt at “fixing” the public transport system and the Rudd
supported US administration says torture of prisoners is OK – so
long as its them that does the torturing.
At the same time as all this is happening there are more
calamities off shore. More deaths in the Middle East – most of
which are directly influenced by decisions taken in Washington,
Cairo, London and elsewhere; more environmental degradation in
locations far removed from the centres of power that create the
conditions in which local populations are forced from their
lands and heritage and of course, the plans being drawn up in
the corporate back rooms to further limit access to free and
And it’s only the start of February! At least someone has been
busy and not lazing on a sun drenched beach somewhere.
It seems to me that we exist simultaneously in parallel
universes. In one, human rights and dignity, long term care for
the environment, constantly striving for justice and peace and
the rejection of the philosophy of capitalism are called
“ideals” and those who struggle to uphold these practices are
labelled “radicals”, “communists” and even “terrorists”. In the
other universe are an elite group who keep telling us that their
actions – which we see cause more harm and destruction than
those they say they are ‘fighting’ against – are keeping us
‘safe’, protecting us from ‘terrorism’ and saving the planet
from ‘destruction’ and ‘waste’.
On a daily basis we watch, read or listen to the media outlets
of these elites and collectively we swallow their message and
incorporate it into our life practices. Collectively we live in
and accept these parallel universes as though they can really
share the same physical, psychic and psychological space. We
reject any talk of contradictions and lies because to accept
this truth would be to expose our own complicity in allowing the
conditions for this situation to exist.
But not all is doom and gloom.
Somewhere, in a under-funded, under-resourced class room a small
boy or girl is taking their first lessons in understanding.
Perhaps not far from that classroom an older woman or man is
imparting their wisdom to minds eagre to learn from the lessons
of the past.
Some of the young children in that class room will go on to do
great things. Not many will do big things but most will do good
things. Nearly all of their small and seemingly trivial acts of
human kindness, warmth and generosity will go un-noticed beyond
those immediately affected by them.
Most of these children will, unfortunately, give up their
questioning and inquiring minds and surrender themselves to
accepting that the contradictions they encounter are normal and
immutable. A couple or maybe even just one of these small
children will grow up and continue to question. Perhaps even
seek out others with whom she or he can join in the struggle
against the prevailing forces.
Maybe one of those older people whose life has been influenced
by the struggle they’ve engaged in will sit in front of one of
these children and with a few words inspire them to rise above
the mediocrity and strive for those ideals to which many want to
adhere but even more reject as being to difficult to obtain.
So, here we are in 2008. Not much has changed really. Some
different noises are coming out of the big house in Canberra but
what we see in practice is that the same agendas are being
followed and the same rejection of humanist ideals continues.
Yet, as the elites continue to reject the basic fundamentals of
human existence and rights, they sow the seeds of their own
I for one barrack for the children whose minds are always
inquiring and seeking out truth. Perhaps, as has been known for
millennia, the future of the human race and the planet we
inhabit does really belong to those who outlook is child-like.
Not innocent and ignorant, but bold, unafraid of the unknown and
willing to question those things that make them notice the
contradictions they encounter.
With an outlook like this anything seems possible. In fact
anything is possible. It’s been said that the future belongs to
our children but the future they will inherit will be built on
the ruins of what we condone now. The question for us then is,
do we, as adults, really believe that a better world is
possible? If we do the next question is, are we willing to
struggle to see it obtained?