Tag Archives: social issues

Are We Still the Good Guys?

Man, I really love-hate this novel.

Four days without a post; that’s quite a feat. šŸ˜‰ Anyway, I’m back with a little post about goodness. And the lack of it. But also the abundance.

September has almost drawn to a close, and it’s almost the end of a pretty depressing month. There have been riots across the world which have left many dead, in the midst of those riots Syria’s plight has been momentarily ignored, an avalanche killed climbers in Nepal, and in lesser news, the world paid attention to Paris Hilton. I hate opening newspapers sometimes, because some articles can almost leave you with your faith lost in humanity. Murder. Rape. Child abuse. Worst of all, the fact that these things are becoming so common as to be banal.

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And We Move On

 

Everybody’s got problems. In every life, there’s a little tragedy, a little bump (or a huge hill) in the middle of the road. We can stay there and be left behind, stuck in the past as everyone goes by at their own pace, or we can move on with them. It’s never easy. It’s never going to be. But that’s life.

When I was twelve, my fourth sibling died. By which I mean my mother was pregnant, and due to a large amount of complications she was forced to abort. It traumatised her, it traumatised us. We held prayers in our garden, and I still can’t forget the tombstone from the graveyard that my sibling is buried in. For weeks, we didn’t know what to say about it, or to my mother, and a melancholy attitude settled on our house for a long time. Ā And yet, my strongest memory of the day I learnt my sibling was dead was going to school that day, and just sitting in the classroom and getting on. Moving on. The pain was still there, for all of us. When my mother was pregnant again, and she had to have special treatment for blood pressure problems, our hearts were in our mouths for nine months. And they’ve been since. We worried, we worry, we always will. But we moved on.

When I was seven, a close family friend died. He was hit by a car, and pronounced brain dead the next day. His mother had to switch off the life support. They’ve struggled to move on: his mother became alcoholic and her husband separated from her and took their young son away, his sister went “wild”. Maybe they’re still stuck in their past. Maybe one day they’ll move on.

Today is 9/11. Except that it isn’t, because that event happened eleven years ago. And maybe the world stopped for America then, but you can only pause for so long before you have to move on again. We had 7/7. We had Iraq, and the way things are going we’re probably going to have Iran. These are the defining events of our generation, but they will eventually fade away like the events before them, like World War Two is doing, Ā as the first all but has, as all the civil wars and massacres have. It will never be easy. It will never be as easy as I make out, sitting behind my computer screen and personally unaffected and unconnected to these tragedies unlike so many others. But every generation has its wars and its victims, and we drag our feet along for a while after them but, eventually, we have to lift them properly and just keep on, keep on. MoveĀ on.

The Invisible Games?

“Wheelchair access. Bullshit.”

That was the reaction of my summer camp mentor while, as we hiked through a forest, we discovered that the path we’d been told had wheelchair access for our disabledĀ team-mateĀ did, in fact, not. As a result we spent two hours lost in a forest, with six tired teens taking turns to push a wheelchair through knee-high mud in an attempt to find a good path. When we got back we complained to the hiking organisers, and they didn’t give a damn. They just didn’t care.

And as you probably saw in the title, I believe that the exact same attitude is going on in the London 2012 Paralympics. The BBC (the British Broadcasting Corporation) has wrapped up their celebration of the London Games with the full-bodied Olympians; the government decided to hand over the rights to airing the Paralympics in the UK to another TV station, Channel 4. Not that 4 isn’t fairly respected, but when the British government passes on giving coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics to the national TV station, their decision seems only to reek of apathy.

The Paralympics had a small relay of the Paralympic torch through London to Stoke Mandeville, in huge contrast to the Olympic torch’s passage through 1019 different locations across Britain. We’ve already had Boyle’s fantastic opening ceremony and the not-so-fabulous closing ceremony held for the Olympics alone, instead of putting a closing ceremony at the end of all the Games to include the Paralympics too. Gold-winning Olympians had individual postage stamps printed in their honour, yet the Paralympians had to fight for the honour. It feels like the disabled are being treated like second-class citizens: everything is smaller and quieter and almost invisible in regards to them.

Granted, I don’t expect the British government to splash out ridiculously like they did for the Olympics, but I do expect them to adequately encourage their tagline for the 2012 London Games: “inspire a generation.” What better way to inspire my generation than by showing the courage and sheer perseverance that athletes have displayed in spite of disability? Instead these Games are toned down, held right at the end when everyone is going back to work and school, and not even recognised with the same national coverage as the full-bodied Games? At the very least, tickets to the Paralympics have been eagerly snatched up this year, restoring my faith in the British public. Because I am rather disappointed in my government.

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Feel free to strongly disagree. Got rather ranty in this post.

The Illusion of Freedom

I’m not American, but I think we all know what this symbolises.

Freedom is dead. In actuality, it never existed.

A staple of Western society, regardless of whether you are British, American, Australian, etcetera, is that there is the commonly held belief that our society gives us far more freedoms than in other societies. We are not members of small, overtly religious, developing societies, and are thus we see ourselves as free from the many violations of freedom that plague them: religious persecution, persecution on the basis of sexuality, race, or ethnicity, the restriction of free speech or whatever else.

Except there are many freedoms we’ve given up, living in a Western world. As highlighted in a blog post by everwriting, it is difficult to speak freely in a world where every defence of your beliefs is read as an attack, and where the media jumps at the opportunity to create political sh*tstorms for money. Perhaps people are not usually killed, but they are socially devastated in attempting to exercise this freedom, from Anita Bryant to Aiden Burley to Peter Norman. It shouldn’t matter that you disagree because speech should, in a society that prides itself on freedom, be free. And quite often, it isn’t. Because of the media, because of political correctness (any English person will understand exactly what I mean there), because of human nature.

Moving away from speech, often freedom is bypassed even in democratic governments; racial profiling is blatant even in supposedly multicultural countries; Ā and companies spy on you with or without your consent. Gays cannot join certain societies, blacks cannot join certain societies, gender-exclusive societies and clubs prohibit the unwanted sex from joining. Those born with silver-spoons in their mouth or in the right families, are able to join societies and experience things others of a “lower class” never can or will. This may seem a problem of equality to some, but there is a fine line between freedom and equality in my book. And this world has neither. Governments will tell us that we do, we may convince ourselves in the day-to-day running of our lives, but the truth is freedom has never been ours. Along with the growth of society, we may have developed new levels of tolerance and been moved to feats of greater audacity, but our freedom is still as restricted as in other cultures of the world. As we progress we’ve become victims of modern incursions on our liberty, and things have really only stayed the same: we’re victims to the illusion of freedom.

If you agree or disagree, or have any other points to make, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll reply.