Tag Archives: world events

The Roof Is Leaking…So Let’s Replace The Carpet

I do not take sides in politics. I have my reasons, amongst which is working for politically neutral agencies, and also a personal observation that in the few decades I have lived, the same patterns have repeated themselves over and over – men and women make the same mistakes and rarely apologise for them, make the same promises and fail to keep them, and very little changes, in fact, things do seem to get worse. Sometimes…it is hard to understand the priorities of those in authority. For example…if your roof was leaking and water was pouring into your house…what would your priority be?

My view of current governments, is that they provide some stability. We bebefit from the services they provide – whether that be security, the transport infrastructure they maintain, the education system, the supply of food, water, electricity and other resources we rely on, the health service, the judicial agencies…there is plenty that enables us to live with an element of stability and relative calm in our lives.

Yet there are clearly huge problems with the way the world is currently. Anxiety and discontent are growing. I am sure I have said this before, but to me it is as if we are living in a house…with rainwater leaking through the roof, dry-rot in all the beams, deep cracks in the walls indicate the structure of the house crumbling, broken windows, creaky floorboards, a boiler that keeps on breaking down, thread-worn carpets, wallpaper and paint peeling off the walls, black mould and damp rising up through the lower floors, a neglected garden overgrown with weeds and brambles…but yet it does provide an element of stability.

Despite the problems, there is some shelter and safety provided by current governments. Every now and then they make the effort to try and tackle one of the problems and sometimes it does not make any sense to see how they go about that. There might be a big campaign about the need to replace the thread-worn carpet to prevent accidents. But others wonder why lay expensive new carpets on the stairwell when there is water leaking in through the roof that is likely to ruin the new carpet?

The way governments try to deal with the systemic and large scale challenges sometimes seems topsy-turvy. Yet we recognize they are allowed to make those decisions, they have the purse strings, they are responsible and accountable for their actions. Nowadays, some Western governments seem weaker than ever in human history as they have to constantly think about what will keep them in favour with the electorate. In many lands, there seem to be obvious divisions politically which can make it appear that some politicians need to walk a tight rope while in office. So sometimes, their efforts don’t seem much more impactful than having a quick dust over the house (yes, the house with all those problems) because they are prevented from making any significant changes.

I am not saying any of the above to target one individual leader, politician, government or agency. I obey the laws and pay taxes in the land I live, I respect their authority and appreciate the stability and services they provide. Yet I am aware that the are not proving adequate to the task of caring for mankind and this planet and it’s creatures.

Something has cropped up in conversation over the weekend…and I wanted to write a post about it…but I felt it needed to be preempted with this post just to explain that my thoughts on this issue are not politically motivated. I do not take sides when it comes to the imperfect men and women who are in positions of authority trying to make decisions they feel will be helpful in a system that is riddled with corruption and problems on a vast scale.

Human Fragility And Fortitude

I have been thinking about what to write about the events of the past few days. If you are like me, you have kept an eye on the news, but have tried not to sit for hours watching every development minute by minutes – because it is truly frightful.

I spent most of the weekend with a close friend of mine who is terminally ill, and yet is showing amazing strength of heart despite her prognosis. Jack is tied up with lots of phone-calls and online meetings. He speaks Russian and Romanian fluently, and is busy in talks with all sorts of people who are making decisions.

I was able to help my friend to enjoy the snowdrops that are growing just outside her current accommodation. We talked about a famous short story called “Snowdrops”, written by Leslie Norris. Many of us studied this particular story in depth for our GCSE English coursework and exams.

The story which is told through the eyes of a young schoolboy has profound themes – death, grief, human fragility and fortitude, and other moving undercurrents – and the metaphoric allusion to snowdrops. I am not doing a great job of summing it up, but it is a story that has stayed with me for the past twenty years.

Human fragility and fortitude. I think a lot of people were shaken by the Pandemic. Facing unprecedented restrictions freedoms, anxiety over finances, social isolation, and of course for many the suffering of actually being effected severely health-wise by Covid-19, or losing a loved one to the virus. Disagreements with loved ones about vaccines. Frustration with those who seemed to be contributing to the spread of the virus by not following measures put in place to limit it. Cabin fever, leading to increased stress and irritation at home. Outrage about injustices that via social media were witnessed internationally and provoked huge outcry.

It has been a tough two years for many many people – there has been a general feeling of weariness. From around mid-January, I noticed that a lot of people seemed to relax here in the UK with regards to Covid. It may well be due to statistics showing lower numbers of cases and vaccine efficacy, but I think it also had a lot to do with people being anxious prior to Christmas because they did not want their plans to see loved ones to be cancelled, and then once the holidays were over, they seemed to not care anymore. I also noticed a lot of people seizing the opportunity to book holidays abroad as soon as travel restrictions were lifted. Perhaps they hope that two weeks on the beach in the sunshine will help them recover from a challenging two years.

But now….all of a sudden…world events have taken another turn, and I have noticed a very mixed response. Oddly, I have heard some who seem to have no interest in what is going on, and are only concerned whether their football team will win their match at the weekend. I have heard conversations about parties, holidays, shopping trips, meals out at restaurants….and all sorts of recreational events…and some have reacted to anybody mentioning the situation in Ukraine with “Oh, I am not watching any of the news, I don’t want to think about it”.

Although I can understand some of the feelings that might prompt someone to say that, it is also a little concerning that they are giving an impression of indifference to the plight of millions, yet maintaining their enthusiasm for football or Netflix. Yet, I am aware that many people are genuinely exhausted by the demands on them during the Pandemic, and cannot cope with feeling of something so awful.

There are many others of course who despite feeling rather helpless, are deeply concerned with the events in Ukraine, and many are doing what is in their power to help the many hundreds of thousands (or more) who have fled from their homes.

There are fierce winds blowing and shaking people, just the way that late winter freezing winds batter those delicate snowdrops. Humans are so beautiful, so fragile, yet have such an amazing ability to show strength in a hostile environment.