..........home......... A topical note just squeezed-in before the end of...

- OCTOBER 10 -.

These days I hesitate to comment on contemporary issues - unless they seem likely to remain relevant for a while. This is because usually when I look back at stuff I’ve written on what seemed significant at the time, the issue has become stale, commonplace or irrelevant… or else has been dwarfed by vastly more noteworthy events. Most history is like this, so it seems to me, ie: boring... the future, surely, is infinitely more gripping: it's mysterious and is where we're all headed; if you're on a journey, then isn't ahead where you direct your attention rather than back? Only when you stop might you reflect. A broad understanding of history is all anyone needs, just enough to provide a footing of where you're from and the kind of timeless stupidities to avoid.

In search of something at-least slightly timeless, I noticed the Beeb has recently made a 3-part series called ‘The Big Silence’. So far it's shown the reactions of several people whose lives were enmeshed in continual activity, and who opted out for a few days at a retreat in Wales to experience silence and inactivity. Being very familiar with the kind of lifestyle these people were now having dished-up to them – of (in my case) happy idleness: beachcombing, wandering the fields and lanes, etc, just enjoying the countryside, the elements…the great freedom from DOING, and the associated natural ‘silence’ (which, referring to ‘The Big Silence’ I take to mean intellectual rather than actual ‘silence’) - I wondered how well they’d adapt. Not at all well, was how at first it turned out. Curiously, the organisers seemed determined to relate this ‘silence’ and ‘inactivity’ to notions of God… maybe they're right: if silence and inactivity equate to zero, then the figment we call God can vanish too.

Being forced to live with ‘oneself’, not having the continual distraction of other people or events, clearly presented a deeply upsetting experience. But why was this idling so disturbing for these people? Obviously, they'd lost touch with their authentic self - and the natural world to which it relates so well. All had become alien. I’ve yet to see the final programme, but I imagine it’ll show their gratitude for the insights their time at the retreat will have given them... as if they’d been blind, asleep or dead for many years, perhaps decades, ever since last communing with those fundamental aspects of inner and outer life that kids, at least, are usually so well acquainted with and take for granted as an integral part of existence - until they're old enough to be useful to the Establishment which then claims them for life! (Unless, like me, you escape - partially, at any rate).

When I’m not wandering aimlessly about or otherwise loafing, I occasionally check emails - then I might surf around and go on to devour whatever news items catch my interest from ICH or WSWS (or wherever else looks independent of dubious vested interest: BIG government/corporatism/religion, etc) - which, when reporting the same issues, I can compare with the Beeb's Establishment version, or even Ch-4 TV News (which often falls somewhere between). Unlike the usual media, and regardless of subject, nearly every article I read on those news websites evokes images of a small, all-powerful ruling elite brutally crushing the life-force out of vast numbers of ordinary people, predominately those already reduced (by that elite) to the most impoverished circumstances.

This perennial conflict, in its various forms, is happening in many places around the world, the UK included. It’s a constant battle, and seems only to increase in scale, intensity, viciousness and cruelty. The elite and their stooges just never let-up. NEVER! Nor does the deviousness of their uncompromising ploys and tactics. They cause the horrible deaths of 1.3-million people in Iraq - that's more than a full jumbo-jet for each of the 9/11 victims (which anyway was a Mossad/CIA project) - and then squirm when some minuscule reprisal causes a slight disruption to a western city... Or are their screams merely another ploy to scare (terrorise) the world into a permanent state of fear, hence obedience? It just strikes me as incredible... an unbelievable show of hubris... all this when the west has virtually destroyed an entire big country (indeed, many big countries over the last 6-decades) and then puts on a fluster over such relatively trite and futile gestures of reprisal as actually take place. Nothing but 'show' is how it looks to me. If, by some feat, the Iraqis/Afghans flattened the whole of London and Washington they still wouldn't come near to causing the devastation that the west has caused them.


Another observation: on the recent murder of aid-agency worker Linda Norgrove. Through her organisation, she would be indirectly employed, or overseen, by the CIA. This is inevitable because (according to several reports) the US tolerate nothing less from all aid workers in Afghanistan. Is it then any wonder, given the opportunity, that the Taliban kidnapped Norgrove? Like resistance fighters in Iraq, they are engaged in a monumental struggle that will not cease until the invaders leave.

But let's briefly examine the logic here: The Taliban will interrogate those they capture; the invader’s intentions and strategies are key to their quest. If interrogation comes to nothing then at least they can trade the captive. But to allow a kidnap victim to be rescued would only encourage more similar attempts. So the Taliban would very likely kill their captive rather than have them escape. Now the CIA will want to protect even the smallest detail of any plans it might have for the aid-worker or their organisation. This means that if the worker held certain sensitive information, the 'rescuers' would sooner the victim die than remain with their captors. That the ‘rescuers’ afterwards (in this instance several days afterwards) ‘confessed’ to ‘accidentally’ killing the victim - rather than being killed by her captors - was crucial, since by making such a ‘confession’ they ‘justify’ further attempts to 'rescue' kidnap victims... before their opponents have a chance to properly interrogate them - as demonstrated in the supposed ‘urgency’ for rescuing Norgrove (clearly a travesty when all previous kidnap victims had, following negotiations/ransoms, been released unharmed). So the risk to Norgrove of remaining with her captors was minuscule; she was yet another hapless dispensable victim of occupation strategy - which renders her parents’ praise of her ‘rescuer’s’ ‘confession’ decidedly bizarre.

When Mikhail Gorbachev declared a few days ago on the inevitable failure of the west in Afghanistan, some commentators responded with surprise: “But victory was never their aim!” they said. True enough - though they would never admit it, even when every independent (ie, non-western-establishment) intelligence and news source in the world presents copious evidence and views to the contrary. So long as western governments (which personify the corporate elite) can maintain their weapons industries and military dominance, plunder minerals, impoverish and thereby control vast regions of the planet (not to mention their own countries) with such bold impunity as they do, creating and maintaining instability, etc, they’ll certainly keep at it. As with cats and mice, what else would anyone expect? It seems that human progress has so far been to move from one kind of jungle to another.



Now - except for pasting 3 + 4 quotes (from ICH) - for me it's back to blissful idling:


"The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself." Archibald Macleish


"[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners." Albert Camus


"No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore our belief in our own guidance." Henry Miller- (1891-1980) - Source: The Wisdom of the Heart, 1941


"The major western democracies are moving towards corporatism. Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope. The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies - socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor - and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war. This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food." John Pilger(05/11/2009)

"This is the fundamental debate in our society: Are we a nation of citizens or a nation of consumers? Are we a democracy run by citizens, or are we a corporatocracy that holds consumers locked in dependency by virtue of their consumption?"  Thom Hartmann

"They had their cynical code worked out. The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket." George Orwell

"You can almost predict (US) policy by that simple principle: Does it help rich people or does it help the general population? And from that you can virtually deduce what's going to happen."  Noam Chomsky

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