“The horror in Syria is terrible, but much worse has been going on in the Congo — greater numbers sacrificed — for a much longer period of time… with our clear complicity.” — one of the author’s home schooled youngsters
Comedian Mitch Hedberg used to tell a joke about the Dufresnes which is germane today.
If you viewed the short footage provided above, you’ll note that the question of how people can “eat at a time like this” could be asked of anyone presently, certainly U.S. citizens. Keeping their abominations abroad in gear, clear of regrets. I fear folks are eating better than ever. In fact, they’re not only digesting food flown into the country from all over the world at very affordable prices while bombing innocents abroad. They’re watching more and more television fare about food. Doesn’t matter how unfair and unconscionable our missile-minded leaders are, it’s par for the course. Normal now. With virtually everyone; the numbers eating out are up.
Oh, select people are asking, How did we get here? And they’re organizing and attending conferences and summits to discuss different takes on the atrocities. But those gatherings, along with all the incessant marching with placards and getting heads repeatedly bashed in at temporarily constructed barricades, don’t do much at all to even stall our horrid momentum. Our murder. Our mutilation of others’ lives.
But that’s common knowledge, for anyone paying attention, and I wouldn’t write a word of this if I didn’t want to get readers to take a step beyond reading about our war crimes, war crimes every bit as abominable as those of, say, Assad. Anyone’s acts. No foreign leader can boast of more crimes against humanity than what’s part of the Clinton/Bush/Obama/Trump track record.
Imagine going out on the lecture circuit while gas ovens were operating during WWII. Imagine writing a protest song, or publishing a book about the concentration camps while Treblinka was in full swing. [Yes, a bad choice of phrase.] Or signing a petition for core members of the Third Reich to read. Imagine doing anything remotely like any of that exclusively. At the apex of Inhumane Depths.
Again, I’m writing an article, but I’m not doing so to further a career, or to generate a personal spotlight. Or to merely express myself. Rather, I’m trying to get one and all to ask themselves how they can be conducting business as usual. Personal business. Creative or otherwise.
Back in the sixties, I first heard the chant “No business as usual”… as protesters against the Vietnam War threatened to interfere with The Machine. There was impressive rage against The Machine long before RATM (Rage Against The Machine) was a musical group. But no business as usual can’t be brought about with mantras. Such radical stoppage of activity requires that individual citizens change their own habitual behavior. Simultaneously.
That said, one would be hard put to find instances where people have altered their habits significantly today in foul-mouthing the powers that be. And on that note, I ask you what you’ve done. Each reader is obliged to do a self-accounting not undertaken to date.
Me? I can’t tell you. For if I told you here and now, THEY would be privy to what road I’m going down now. And, then, THEY would make me cease and desist. Keep me from resisting in my new way. Hey, it’s all very simple. You either do something in the spirit of the White Rose, or keep convincing yourself that you don’t need to risk anything to keep your nose clean. That you can keep talking the talk without walking the walk.
We must now take the High Road. On the high wire. Alone, if necessary.
Rachel Olivia O’Connor is a freelance journalist. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.