The difference between wanting to go and having to leave.
Many conflicting undercurrents at this anxious, dangerous time. Is it too much to say that watching the events of the world, we can’t help but think about our own lives, and wonder where the meaning is?
What do we do with our time? The necessary strength needed to not fritter away minutes, the same necessary silence and quieting of our minds in simple acts, overwhelmed with horrors, with everyday idiocies, with random cruelty – where does it come from? When do we act? Now? Later? Never?
There is a line of thought, that subconsciously, seems to push us towards thinking that somehow, refugees are lucky. A chance in another place. Yes – true. They are alive. They have escaped horror.
But the egotism in suggesting that they are happier, or that barriers need to be put in place, as with the four year old who couldn’t get an entry visa to the UK, as his passport had expired. The idea that our countries are so much better, everyone would leave their own and come to ours, if they could. The once great BBC describes the conflict as the Russia-Ukraine war – as if Ukraine had an equal part in its beginning, and gives examples of how to get a visa, saying the government is doing all it can. Both clearly not true. There would be no war without Russian aggression. There would be no news story if the little boy could come to the UK.
Can people really believe that people are happy to see their schools and libraries and neighborhoods destroyed, their homes obliterated, their way of life stolen from them? That their daily life was so inferior to ours, the only feeling they must have at leaving behind everything they know, including their language, must be relief? Like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – pilloried for not showing enough gratitude. The trolls of Brexit and nationalism shouting into their little void – send her back? Grateful for having six years of her life taken from her, imprisoned away from her family, so the British government could renege on a deal? Her calm, intelligent voice, stating the truth, was not the sad victim the bullies had hoped to see. Strong women always frighten the weak.
Meanwhile the corruption and the waste go unchecked, while Britain descends. Now a land of foodbanks, unaffordable housing, heat, transport, while the destruction of the NHS continues, paving the way for an inevitable sell off to American interests.
America, meanwhile, is content to look the other way when the highest court in the land is shown to have been infiltrated by far right elements, linked intimately by marriage to plots to overthrow the government. Does it sound far-fetched? It does. We watch while overmilitarized public safety endangers us all, while large cities stumble into decline as rents rise in double digit percentages, while mediocre white men in public office shout at a black woman more intelligent and qualified than themselves. Land of the free. Free to be a spectacle.
The rich are untouched. As always. Their choices to come and go, leave or stay – no one disputes their right to decide. For a sum of money, everywhere is open to them. Their voices are automatically amplified, their truth occupies a center that newspapers like the New York Times normalize as rational and obviously successful.
I watch these same elements take over on the everyday level. Corruption in the smallest areas. And some of the most important, such as education. Mismanagement, mistakes, lack of planning. Contemptible, irreversible neglect, as the people who buy their second homes first make judgements that affect lives based solely on the loudest voice. Grabbing at power, the way the bullies pushed at the kids they didn’t understand in the lunch line, there is no goal but their own self-aggrandizement.
Stay or go. Leave, retreat, drop. Which fight do we choose?
People are refugees because a tyrant has destroyed their homes.
How long will governments wait? As long as in the last world war? Pretending it isn’t as bad as it seems?
How long do we wait, knowing the answer already?
The power-mad are destroying our worlds.
And we are invited to watch it on TV.
And – RIP Taylor Hawkins. The energy, the smile. It’s unthinkable that he is gone.