ONE of the phrases that we regularly used to silently, ironically, and with more than a pinch of embarrassment chastise ourselves for our foolishness after the Celtic tiger went the way of all flesh was “the kindness of strangers”.
Of course, the strangers we had to turn to, as Greece and Italy discovered as well, filtered their kindnesses through a business plan that ensured our calamity was, and remains, their opportunity. That mock, expensive kindness was a kind of cadaver picking that deepened the chasm between the borrowers — us — and the establishment lenders, the European Central Bank, bog standard bankers, national, super-national or just powerful commercial interests. This what’s-in-it-for-me kindness is one of the reasons our world seems to be in such turmoil.
Be that as it may, the world now seems more dependent on the kindness of a type of stranger we foolishly thought consigned to history than is comfortable. That discomfort is exacerbated by the scale of that change and the momentum it seems to be gathering in Europe. A personal response, one that comforts, seems hard to shape, hard to infuse with integrity or possibility. Today we publish ‘Fight the Fear’, a piece that agues that despite everything, we are better off than we ever were — and to ensure that situation continues we should be kinder to each other.
One simple, powerful response to gathering clouds.
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