Waking up

Waking up

By Pablo Ouziel

We wake up in the morning to hear and watch the newest tragedy that has
swept the world¹s media attention. One morning it is the tragic crash of an
airplane, the next some contested elections that turn violent as people
revel. Soon, the media lens is directed to the death of a star, but after a
few days, the media bites ease and as a few specialized commentators
continue discussing previous events, cameras and microphones have gone
somewhere else. Amidst this media frenzy, the future of the world is being
orchestrated as attentive spectators watch in silence and (sometimes)
disbelief.

Serious events and acts are taking place everyday which merit serious social
debate, yet because of the fact that our societies are deeply fragmented,
broken and clashing between each other, we are unable to grant ourselves the
necessary pause, required for conciliation and unity. Because of this, we
are easy to control as a mass of isolated individuals, which is held
together by norms and regulations, bureaucracies, military, and police, and
concepts such as the nation state, the church and the corporation.  If we
are to stay in this model of society, I fear we will live in perpetual war
until we destroy ourselves by not paying attention to the fact that
something is drastically wrong.

We are living in societies plagued with corruption at all levels, we are
constantly expanding our militarized societies surveilled by police forces
and colonizing armies, which are rapidly eroding our freedoms. In the
meantime, the resources of the world are generating massive amounts of
wealth for a small minority, as our natural heritage is being rapidly
dilapidated. In exchange, the majority of the global population receives
what we have come to identify as Œsecurity¹, when in effect, it could be
clearly labelled as racketeering. As a collective, the mass of the
population gets terrorized and soon succumbs to authoritarian rule.

In the Western world - the bastion of democracy - we console ourselves with
the thought that we are free, we refer to ourselves as members of the free
world and compare our free societies with tyrannies that govern in other
parts of the planet. This we justify by the fact that our elected officials
have reached the podium through an electoral system of some kind, thus in
effect being representatives of our interests as citizens.  It can be argued
that this is a fair assumption, as long as we conduct our field research in
a laboratory, but if we engage with members of the numerous sub-communities,
which exist within the boundaries of delineated Nation States, we quickly
realize that there is tremendous discontent and frustration brewing amongst
the population. At the same time, there exists in our societies a sense of
impotence and fear that if the boat is rocked, things will get worse.

As the world globalizes on different planes ­ intellectually, spiritually,
socially, politically, economically and militarily, to name a few, we are
faced with the realization of the global consequences of our actions, or our
inactions. At this point, all we can do is practice the great and often
forgotten virtues of just analysis, honest critique and self-amelioration,
hoping to contribute something of value to the global village. Without these
virtues, we fall into the trap of blaming others for our barbarous crimes.
When starving kids in poorer nations are dying and have no access to food or
water, we blame the country¹s tribal lords and corrupt politicians, we
forget to mention the exploitation and extortion carried out by our
corporations with the aid of our governments and laws. When we go to war, we
blame tyrannical leaders for forcing us to attack them ­ we unload bombs on
civilian populations in the name of pre-emptive strikes and the defence of
freedom. We forget to question whether we have become animals and have lost
all sense of reason. When our free-market banking system collapses and our
politicians tell us that institutions are too-big-to-fail and must be bailed
out by the taxpayers, we are quick to accept their jittery explanations and
swiftly approve their actions. We forget to wonder whether we are being
conned. Finally, when a surveillance society rises from within our
democratic-communities and our freedoms are radically eroded, engrossed in
our own delusion of freedom, we forget to evaluate whether we are still
living in democratic states, or have transcended into something different.
It is this lack of questioning which has paralyzed us as a collective-mass,
and keeps us extracted from the true decision making process ­ the one that
defines our present global reality and is shaping the future we will leave
for others to inherit.

Although I believe professor Chomsky is right in advocating that ³prediction
in human affairs is a very uncertain enterprise², I think it is safe to
predict, that tomorrow we will wake up in the morning and the media will be
playing out the show of the day, perhaps it will report on North Korean
bombs, street fights in Iran, the failing state of California, the Madoff
financial scandal, or the bombings in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan ­
amidst millions of other news, which will navigate through our systems of
communication mobilizing us in one direction or another. It is also safe to
predict, that unless there is a drastic change in the will and choice of the
majority, at most tomorrow, we can expect isolated demonstrations making
isolated requests; stop the war in Gaza, fight for gay rights, defend
freedom of speech in Iran, or save the Polar Bear. We are still far from
defending a globally united cause for environmental sustainability and
continuity, equality, freedom and justice for all, a fair system of
distribution, and an end to oppression and war. If we can one day unite
under that banner, all together at the same time and prolonging our request,
popular uprisings in Iran, in Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan, will inspire us
all and we will unite under the same cause. If this happens, together we
will break our chains from the elite that govern us, and bridge the abyss,
which has separated us from each other. A brilliant man I know once told me,
that despite what we are told, human beings are not too different from each
other. I believe he is right, but we must wake up in order to understand
this.


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