A CONSULTATION with my local witch doctor, for some rebalancing herbal potions, after a recent trip to hospital nearly killed me, involves filling out a form.
Although not the typical questions you’d fill out in a doctor’s surgery — one question asks if I liked thunderstorms — all is going well until we get to this question: ‘what irritates me’?
Oh, my god. Where, in 2016, do you even start? Because it’s not the people who talk loudly on their phones in restaurants, or the ones who post too many smug selfies on Facebook, or even those who leave the cap off the toothpaste. No. It’s none of them.
Here’s what irritates — it’s what we have allowed ourselves to become. Late capitalism has resulted in a right-wing savagery that has trickled down to the rest of us, dividing us and keeping us afraid. Even if Ireland were ruled by benevolent unicorns — although my sources confirm that this is not the case — society would still be infected by the remorseless greed, cruelty, self-interest and indifference of the global ruling elite, whose tentacles — like some horrid Spiderman villain — reach everywhere.
US presidential hopeful, Bernie Sanders, points out that a kid who smokes a joint gets a criminal record, but those who pillaged the global economy have never been prosecuted, jailed, or even heckled. This, he says, is what corrupt power looks like — and it’s in charge of us.
The result? Divide and conquer. Ordinary people so worried about their own housing, money and jobs — thanks to a criminal financial system, and the inevitability of capitalism eating itself feet first, which is where we are now — that the plight of others remains distant, or threatening, or both. Help penniless, traumatised families fleeing war, when we can’t afford to buy a bedsit ourselves? There it is. Job done, capitalism. Workers of the world, stay afraid.
Within this climate of whipped-up, manmade fear, it’s amazing what you can get away with. The French authorities have just bulldozed a church and a mosque, at the refugee slum in Calais. Didn’t the Nazis do that sort of thing, a few decades ago? Isn’t there some kind of EU rule against bulldozing places of worship?
Nobody cares, and the ones that do are being threatened with criminalisation — watch out, rescuers of drowning babies in the Mediterranean, the EU would like to criminalise your actions. In Denmark, there’s Nazi-style legislation that now allows the state to seize all valuables from refugees entering the country.
And the Russian president keeps dropping bombs on behalf of the Syrian dictator, ensuring an unending flow north of people the rest of us are told by our media to ignore/fear/loathe. Hence, we let them drown. So, maybe it’s because my rebalancing herbal potions haven’t kicked in yet, but I doubt even a big, fat syringe of hospital morphine straight in the eyeball would soothe the rage induced by all the atrocities close to our doorstep.
If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.
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