Boomerang

Imagine an army of activists, environmentalists, and scientists of all types, who could put their minds together to challenge our world’s governments and pull back the reins on their reckless behaviours that cause so many of the problems we are facing today.

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If we care enough to know what is happening in our world by following our daily news and examining different sources, we witness, and we learn: Africa is burning; Iraq is shattered; Syria is bleeding; uprisings and oppressions here and there in different parts of our planet are wreaking havoc. Alongside all that are extremist shootings against feared others — be they ethnicities or ideologies — especially in countries rife with nationalism or xenophobia.

But then our news cycles fade into background noise as each of us busies ourselves to make ends meet. Even if some of us anxiously follow the news and worry about outcomes, we feel we are unable to make any positive changes, and our lives feel tainted with desperation.

Also, we see that our climate is changing, harshly affecting the planet in ways that should have our direct attention in light of alarming new patterns in hurricanes, wildfires, floods and more. People are traumatized and their livelihoods crushed. The Earth has been offended for too long and is losing it’s capacity to support us as it once did. Our air is polluted; water in many areas has been contaminated; whole ecosystems are transformed into commodities; weather patterns change drastically. Yet slowly even these signs become normalized and incidental in our consciousness, despite the efforts of our scientists and activists to focus attention on our neglectful behaviour.

To no avail, as for far too many, life is best described as a continuous survey of upcoming new phone gadgets, improved home entertainment systems, what is fashionable in hair or clothing, or how one can gain more money or status; even if  by any objective standard we actually have more than enough; even if in our pursuit of wealth we can see that the process only demolishes others half a world away.
The epoch of “I don’t care, it’s not my problem” began long ago. Since the birth of extreme advertising encouraged a carefree and competitive life, we are invigorated to attend to non-stop marketing campaigns to acquire things we may not even need, and to have more than our neighbours. Consumer society cocoons us in a world of gluttony and a fever for more.   
Cooperating forces hiding behind government and corporate doors work to control the world’s wealth, aided by the rest of us becoming, in one way or another, enslaved to that ever-growing, devilish capital gain system. It has been many decades in which self-seeking decision makers have been monitoring, governing, and exploiting the world’s resources and peoples; but now it has begun boomeranging, and all of us are paying for it.

Let’s review the sixties and seventies, decades which witnessed important civil rights campaigns promoting justice for minorities, women, and gays, as well as heightening awareness around environmental issues. There were also many protests, uprisings and revolutions across our planet as anti-war and anti-colonial sentiments took hold among youth and students.
Activists challenged, for instance, the prevalence of child poverty and hunger in many African countries following decolonialization, questioning entrenched economic practices that continued to treat people unfairly; there and all around our world. Why are we not paying attention sufficiently, examining causes and effects, and most importantly, caring enough to pursue effective policies to right wrongs?

In the seventies an infamous cyclone in Bangladesh killed over 500,000 people. About the same time, environmental activists began to seriously look into our collective lifestyle and how it profoundly affects weather patterns. We are now at a point where these environmentalists, with the help of many scientists, have accumulated enough data to portray in no uncertain terms the danger that we are facing and the calamity that is quickly approaching us all. So why do people not see or understand the implications of their actions? Why are our leaders not walking hand-in-hand with concerned citizens and organizations to avoid a most tragic epoch looming on our horizon?

Well, let’s have a look at our heads of state. I have always believed those ruling a nation should have strong credentials and a robust education; perhaps in law, economics, sociology or some discipline that makes them worthy and capable of responsible decision-making. Since when are people offered up a realtor or a cleric or some such clown who has no idea how to govern a country or negotiate sane foreign policy. Are such buffoons meant to dictate to the world our quality of life or whether we descend into nuclear disintegration?
And so we watch nervously as one unworthy leader takes a fit over the belligerence of another, applies sanctions on the offending country, and then commands the whole world to be with him or against him as a test of loyalty.

Where are we going from here?

Today is a most treacherous and complex time in our history. The number of poor and homeless increases as does unemployment, and most telling of our time, a tsunami of migrants flees from wars or famine. With decolonization, the era of directly conquering or colonizing countries was over, but a new poisonous practice took its place. It involved duplicitous agencies of the developed world, flush with the riches of centuries of exploitation, intervening in the affairs of the underdeveloped world to manipulate or change governments that were not effectively working for them. Over the decades we saw the toppling of Salvador Allende’s successful government in Chile, the overthrow of Iran’s exercise in self-governance and decolonization with Mossadegh’s economic reforms, the support of Iraqi’s fascist regime, only to topple that too when it failed to obey anymore. Subsequently, each new administration suppresses, tortures and imprisons its own citizens, just to toe the superpower line and stay in power.

And have the turmoil’s of those resource-rich countries during this post-WW II epoch been acceptable to citizens of the domineering states? Not when they look beyond their own borders to see what’s happening in the world, and then voice their raucous but largely ineffective protests. And why does dissent not change the world? The great lesson learned in controlling a population is distraction. Keep them busy with the superficials of flashy movies, engrossing video games, self-serving social networks, and frivolous fashions. The commanders of culture and the marketplace can then do as they please, controlling the world’s affairs.
Sometimes I ask myself, are these behaviours, both grandly Machiavellian and personally consumerist, a kind of mental illness? Do we have a gene for greed installed in our brain that makes us so driven to satisfy our desires. Have baseline human yearnings and behaviours been nurtured and magnified by increased wealth, mass media, sitcoms, filtered news, feel-good movies, and pervasive advertising, all of which directly and indirectly instruct people how to live; encouraging consumption and gluttony?

And so the effects of the rich world’s dominance grinds away over so much of the planet, smashing societies and ecosystems, often causing people to flee their homelands into the safety, ironically, of their actual oppressors; the refugees being too preoccupied with survival to mind their unease that these countries are the source of their pain and problems, or not having the education to understand their own histories. 
All those years of greed and abuse are now boomeranging and coming back to haunt the countries of Europe and America. For decades they have ruined whole cultures and installed governments that would obey them; no questions asked. Greedy puppets, eager to stay in power, kept their own people on a tight leash; uneducated, unaware, and frightened. Tired of decades of injustice, the downtrodden are trekking to “lands of opportunity” in a chaos of involuntary migration all around the planet.

Here in the safe lands, many do not understand why these people appear at their borders to press upon this part of the world. Those dwelling in their heavenly cocoons do not understand that their own leaders have made a mess of those resource-rich lands, and have been too distracted in their comfort zones to realize that they have been voting for quite the wrong sort of leaders.

Now more than ever, activist groups all around the world must see that unification of efforts is essential. They need to work together at stopping the wars; ally themselves with scientists to challenge the damage being caused by climate change; educate people that they should not be paying for carbon taxes, or any other taxes for cleaning our air, when such responsibility lies with those who are creating the poisons, and have enough resources to clean up their acts.

Our many selfless activists and educators are scattered around the globe doing the best they can. It is a shame that they cannot seem to be able to work together. Imagine an army of activists, environmentalists, and scientists of all types, who could put their minds together to challenge our world’s governments and pull back the reins on their reckless behaviours that cause so many of the problems we are facing today.

For instance, at this time I do not know what to believe about the situation in Venezuela. Are the powers behind the scenes playing the same old games as with the CIA coups in Iran and Chile so many years ago? How do I know if the people of Venezuela want or do not want Maduro? How much of the unrest we see is staged to get rid of him, perhaps because he is not cooperating with his oil. How oblivious are we to be played over and over, as the world’s elites change governments at their whim?

Similarly, what of the disaster in Yemen, where Western weapons in the hands of Saudis are destroying the livelihood of a nation and its people, aided of course by Iran’s manipulations in the area. Global and regional players flex their muscles and force their will on the usual victims: common folk who, dare I presume, might want nothing more than to be left to their families, farms and factories in peace.

The world’s people either do not care or do not understand what’s really  happening regarding the important environmental and conflict issues of our day, but in the end the only thing that matters is that not enough care enough to put in the effort to stop all of this, by working to forge a unified moral force against the madness in this world. Our only home. 

 

Nasreen Pejvack, July 8th 2019