Thursday, January 14, 2010

Awareness...

Not so many years ago, in reading Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus" I was astounded by her calling out of the treatment doled out by "Americans" to the native populations that were here when they arrived with their "manifest destiny". After all, an 18 year old, writing in 1816...her awareness of what was going on in another "world" far removed from hers was quite amazing to me.

Last night, partway into "The Berlin Stories" I've had another such moment. Christopher Isherwood bringing up the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria with the ensuing murder, rape and pillage as he was writing in Germany during the Weimar Republic just before Hitler's rise to power. (In doing a bit of reading this morning, I just ran across a Time Magazine article from 1932 about a small part of that invasion and the "accidental" beating of an American ambassador by Japanese troops.)

I realize that nothing on Earth ever occurs in a vacuum; that there is always some news "out there" for those willing to look for it.

I also realize, having lived through the time of the Balkans and Rwanda and Darfur, that seldom are things like this ever halted before the wreckage of lifetimes is scattered. The toothless "League of Nations" of that day; the inadequately funded and under-empowered United Nations of this one aren't so very far apart in their abilities.

That so many generations have passed since Mary Shelley called attention to the plight of the Native American and yet 200 years later they are not given their due, or given apology, but have to fight in court against the government that has robbed them at every turn...

That so many years after our "War Between the States" to have a Senator stand up and say that had the "Dixiecrats" elected Strom Thurmond president in 1948 we'd all be so much better off now...

That so many years after "The War to End All Wars" the bullets and shells still fly...

That at this point that should be the pinnacle of human existence there are those who feel that they can vote away the rights of anyone they disagree with; they may imprison them in law as surely unjust as any prison camp...

That they may be executed or imprisoned for life if some of the "new laws" under consideration in some places aren't stopped!

Will we ever realize that every life is just as precious as our own?

May the week be kind to each of you!

alan

9 comments:

CrackerLilo said...

It's awful how we as human beings keep hurting each other. I saw a button on a co-workers' cubicle recently: "Humans are the only species that hunts itself." There's so much truth in that. I think there is a reason why people like Mary Shelley stand out so vividly. And now I want to re-read her book, and wish once again she'd been able to write more.

May this week be kind to you!

robin andrea said...

"...that seldom are things like this ever halted before the wreckage of lifetimes is scattered..." So true, alan. It is an endless thing, this insane way that humans treat each other (and EVERY other living thing). You know I think the planet would heave a sigh of relief if we'd all just peacefully vanish.

lightfeather said...

This is so true and right on. Thank you for bringing that to the forefront today.

breathethenexhale said...

It amazes me through centuries that we think we have evolved but each atrocity is recommitted in a different way on a different victim in each different century. Makes me wonder if humans develop evil or are born with it. So sad.

Connie in FL said...

The more things change the more they remain the same.

Anji said...

We never learn... and we've never learnt to let go.

Jaynatopia said...

gah, I remember that strom thurmond statement; sometimes you just have to shake your head in disbelief

ryssee said...

I have no tolerance for intolerance.
Great post.

Sassy said...

Life IS precious. Even though it's sad.

Hope your week is kind!