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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

Oops, There Goes Another One

North Miami Beach, FL 10-15-2005
A.H. Schectman

One would think we live in enlightened times when the arts are given free rein, religious practices are relegated to home and houses of worship and when disasters hit – either planned or accidental – provisions are made to send in help, not the clowns.

One would think.  However, just looking at the stories in the NY Times this morning I found that we have not made much progress in abandoning fruitless activities that harm people.  I have not tabulated all the violence that is presently going on but I must list a few of the major ones that euphemistically are called things like “standoffs”, “several bombs exploded” and “potshots and mortar attacks” at polling places and there are “tense clashes on Iraqi Border.  And, this is just on the first page.

Inside there are stories about “Netherlands Arrests 7 in Plot to Assassinate Top Politicians”, “Uzbekistan: Witness Says Soldiers Shot Civilians”, “Somalia: Pirates Free a Hijacked Food Aid Ship”, “Trinidad: Explosion Outside Nightclub Wounds 3”, “Insurgents in Afghanistan Kill Cleric and 2 Policemen” and “Court Seeks Arrests of Ugandan Rebels.”

And, these are the stories that just got through the filters established by our Military and Political masters so we are protected against violence, war, pestilence and peoples who are milling around looking for answers that we hold up high for inspiration.  If WE can do it, so CAN you – is the message. Or, in other words, you must shed some of YOUR blood in order to achieve democracy.

What we also see in the daily paper are the collateral wounds we suffer from the outcomes of battles overseas and the natural disasters here in our own country: of earthquakes, fires, hurricanes and rain where it falls in amounts too great and in dry places where rain is needed badly. In our love of democracy we have not figured out how to deal with these recurring visitations from unhappy sources within and at the surface of our globe.

Oops, there goes another one.  I would think we are tired from the entertainment we see in the papers, on TV and in the movies that sum up our times. Is conflict a natural occurring phenomenon?  I would have to say from the evidence that this is true.  I would also have to say that it is long since we learned how to negotiate with one another with words rather than with weapons and we must sit down at tables and sign the papers that says we will never go to war again. Perhaps then we will be able to properly take care of the natural disasters.



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