Monday, July 15, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

HomeViewpointsDark times are...

Dark times are upon us

"I still live with a faint sense of possibility that public life can progress, and that the forces of liberalism and social democracy (and hopefully decency, but that’s never guaranteed) will take power."

“He who despairs of the human condition is a coward, but he who has hope for it is a fool.”
Albert Camus

This characteristic quote from my long time intellectual hero Albert Camus speaks directly to me. I still live with a faint sense of possibility that public life can progress, and that the forces of liberalism and social democracy (and hopefully decency, but that’s never guaranteed) will take power. But on any ordinary day when I scan the Times I feel the diminution of hope and only anguish about how barbaric and repressive political and human behavior in general have become. Or am I being ahistorical, and it was always this way?
I read how a film on Jesus in Brazil fuels a Molotov cocktail attack on the production company. It’s all part of the ultra right wing President Bolsonaro’s campaign to censor and suppress artistic works, which he sees as blasphemous or unpatriotic. Another article describes Iranian forces killing 450 protestors in November. And though the protestors still vow defiance, the Iranian security forces have spread through the cities cracking down on any sign of dissent, and renewing the disruption of the internet.

Still another article describes Mexican women who have taken to the streets to protest the notion that male violence towards them is provoked by their behavior and appearance. The violence against women exists throughout Latin America, where one of three women have experienced sexual or physical violence. And the number of women who die violently in Mexico is now up to ten a day.

Tales of barbarism and repression seem endless. Thousands of Moslem Uighurs are being held in Chinese internment and re-education camps. Saudi Arabia’s futile, murderous war in Yemen against Houthi rebels has cost countless lives. And if the war continues, Yemen will become the poorest country in the world, with 79% of the population living below the poverty line and 65% in extreme poverty by 2022.

Daniel Ortega Photo:www.elsalvador.com

Finally, there is Nicaragua where the once leftist guerrilla fighter Daniel Ortega who brought down a right-wing dictatorship in the 70s rules now as an authoritarian president who silences protests with arrests and assault. Not an unpredictable historical pattern to go from revolutionary to dictator.

I can cite a few hopeful places like Finland where the Social Democrat Sanna Marin has become the world’s youngest prime minister at the head of a five-party coalition of female-led parties. Of course, Finland is a country with generous parental leave policies, subsidized childcare and a commitment to work-life balance, meaning that young working mothers are the norm here rather than the exception.

But to see Finland, a country of five and half million with an extremely high quality of life index, as a model for the way most countries should function is mere wish fulfillment. These are dark times, and if two major Western democracies like the US and Great Britain are ruled by men like Trump and his less virulent, better educated double, Johnson, hope for a socially committed, political rights and constitution sensitive, gender and minority conscious reign becomes almost impossible to sustain.

spot_img

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.

Continue reading

STEPHEN COHEN: Pictorial art and censorship

Can we turn our backs on our artistic heritage because the works make us uncomfortable or are not politically correct today even though they were created in a different world?

The dogless days of summer

Our children, at least the two-legged ones, are long gone. But the house was never emptier than after Percy left it.

I WITNESS: Is the sky really falling?

Instead of running his mouth, which is his typical modus operandi, Donald Trump is golfing and enjoying the spectacle of the Democratic Party doing what it does best: freaking out and cannibalizing itself, with plenty of help from media pundits.

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.