Friday, September 15, 2006

Dr King had better dreams

I had a remarkable dream, for me at least who usually has boring planning dreams, which left me waking with a powerful feeling of outrage.

I was with a group of younger people, which seems to be normal at my time of life, observing a worldwide protest.

It was a sort of electronic age version of the Vietnam moratorium marches of the 'ban the bomb' marches of that former era.

Except that it was one of those electronic global affairs we have become so used to, protest at arms length.

As the event came to an end there was a outpouring of delight, by my young group, at a job well done - a blow against the prevailing powers that was well delivered.

I wasn't about to burst bubbles, but inside I was feeling an incredible grief. The reactions of the group were so familiar - that joyous sense of victory and and the change such a massive protest action must bring.

Worst of all in some ways was an implied belief that these electronic protesters were doing something no one else had ever done, which apart from protesting by proxy is far from the truth.

I wanted to scream out the litany of incredibly brave protest events, facing down authority in person, and how those victorious passions all simply melted away into the bland mediocrity which inevitably rules us.

Our protests did not lead to withdrawal from Vietnam, they might have played a part but the horror continued for far too long, and in the end targeted the wrong people - the warriors instead of their masters.

The nuclear threat has changed, but only because it has become viral, spreading through to more and more trigger happy moronic petty chieftains.

The forests are still being ripped out out a mind blowing rate with the environment deteriorating rapidly, despite vigorous and passionate protest.

Yet despite this I know that protest is in some way essential, as are those false perceptions that go with it. For a media focused political establishment electronic protest would also be quite appropriate.

The first news piece I looked at today, with all this fresh in my soul, only increased a sense of futility. Some of us even spoke out against the 2000 odd Indian Ocean Islanders living on the Chagos archipelago who were 'relocated' back in the '60s and '70s.

Britain decided back then to simply clear away these people because the US wanted a a military base there, on the island of Diego Garcia.

I read today that these people are still fighting through the British courts for the return of their homes. They don't have much hope because Diego Garcia is, as they say, strategically important for assaults on the Middle East. (Actually I believe they use the word defence)

In 2000, Britain's High Court ruled the islanders should be granted full British citizenship and that their removal was illegal. But they were blocked by Britain which said repopulating the islands would be "precarious and costly".

They are still dragging through the court process, a generation lost to struggle for their homeland they will never win. So much for our brave protests.

To be honest, I don't know how to wear this coat of futility and negativity. It's not something I'm used to or comfortable with. The emotions are not familiar to me or easy to accept.

There will be changes, especially US led as that country readjusts from the experience of two incredibly polarising presidents, back to back. But with essentially bland western electorates, unwilling to commit any energy to demanding better political performance and outcomes, I fear we will continue to allow disastrous policies to destroy our civilisation.


Kvatch said...

But with essentially bland western electorates, unwilling to commit any energy to demanding better political performance and outcomes, I fear we will continue to allow disastrous policies to destroy our civilisation.

This is a particularly interesting notion. One wonders if it has to do with the fact that large majorities of the electorate are simply too drained of energy to devote time to engagement and protest?

Consider... In the US the middle-class is continually squeezed. Productivity soars in lockstep with expansion of the work-week. Yet the benefits fail to filter down to workers who struggle to make ends meet. Two-job households, three-job households are commonplace. Nobody's got time to engage. The most vocal forces, on both sides of the political spectrum, are elites with the time, energy, and insulation from financial woes, that make engagement possible.

Cartledge said...

I'm still of the opinion that people are simply not engaged. If it was lifes pressures alone then surely they would spare a moment at the ballot box, at least, to punish someone for the hardship.
I had an interesting position put to me recently. One person told me she would probably vote Rep because she didn't feel it was fair that the Dems should have to clean up the mess at this stage.
She said that the Repubs should be allowed to really stuff it up before the Dems have their glory.
It is strange thinking, but then voters do that.

romunov said...

You don't have to be rich or otherwise well off to protest. A recent event in Ukraine comes to mind. So I'll side with cartledge on this one.