Anybody who has ever experienced the loss of someone they loved dearly probably understands the feeling of wondering why the world didn’t come to a screeching halt with the person’s death. How can it be business as usual when he’s dead? What does it matter what the latest gossip is about some Hollywood or Bollywood star when she’s dead?
That’s how I feel all the time. How can people be so complacent in the face of what we are putting the planet and her people through? In North America I’d hazard a guess and say nine out of ten people are somehow actively hastening the destruction. Every time one person climbs behind the wheel of an SUV to drive around the city by themselves they are increasing the demand for fuel and replacing oxygen in the air with carbon dioxide.
How about living in a world where we reached critical mass in population years ago, but millions of people still believe that practicing birth control of any kind is sinful. Isn’t it a worse sin to have children come into a world where they are not wanted or there isn’t enough food to feed them? How many children die of starvation each day? How many are neglected, emotionally, physically, or sexually abused because nobody cares anymore?
In 2005 the world watched in horror as New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, forcing thousands upon thousands of people to become refugees. Three months later the Indian Ocean exploded with a tsunami that destroyed villages and coastal towns forcing hundreds of thousands of people into temporary camps and shelters. Concerts were given, speeches were made, and money was raised to try and help the people in both locations rebuild their lives.
Instead of housing being rebuilt and lives resurrected, the land where fishing villages have stood for generations is being sold to developers to make hotel and condominium complexes that cater to the rich tourist trade. This government-sanctioned land theft (a government official in India called it a “golden opportunity”) is echoed in New Orleans where the city is refusing to repair any flood damage until people come home.
How can people come home if they have no homes and there is no infrastructure to serve them? According to Naomi Klein, in her book The Shock Doctrine, if the government has their way, the people will never come home and the whole area will be converted into private housing well out of the range of it’s original inhabitants’ pocketbooks.
Is anybody keeping track of all the countries where we are killing each other? Iraq and Afghanistan come to mind first because we in the West are involved so they “merit” our attention. Does anybody remember the reason George had for invading Iraq? Weapons of Mass Destruction that nobody has yet to find a trace of.
Has anybody asked why George is so determined to keep spending the lives of his citizens on a daily basis in Iraq? It wouldn’t be because they haven’t finished stripping the country of all her assets, could it? That they aren’t going to leave until they’ve sold off every scrap of useful property and service to the people who bought him power has become increasingly obvious to everybody but the public of the United States.
Over the years, North Americans have perfected the ability to be completely self-absorbed and ignorant of the world around them – until, of course, it affects them. We hide behind our gadgets and our noise so that we can’t see or hear anything around us until its far too late and somebody flies an airplane into our buildings.
It’s our behaviour out in the rest of the world, or at least the behaviour of those whom people take to be our representatives, that goes a long way toward creating resentment. When the multinationals come in and strip mine a country of its natural resources, the locals don’t think too fondly of them or the country they come from.
Since they were allowed into the country in the first place (because the International Monetary Fund (IMF) made the government sell off nationally owned assets at a penny to the dollar), there’s bound to be a little local resentment. Especially since the IMF also makes governments stop spending money on infrastructure and social services like education and health.
Yet, I’m sure if you were to ask, the majority of people in North America would have no idea that the IMF policies worked to take money out of the countries they were supposed to be helping. If we don’t become aware of what’s being done by agencies in the control of our governments to other countries soon, we won’t understand why they are so upset with us half the time.
I don’t believe I have any special powers, or am super intelligent, but I try to keep myself up to date about what is happening in the world. Doing so makes me realize that while not on the verge of complete disaster, our situation is precarious. It also makes me want to walk down the street shaking people to let them know there is something beyond their iPods and iPhones that they need to start worrying about.