We Could Learn From The Cows

Last week our local farmer released his cows into a field across the lane from where I live. They’d been enclosed in the barn all winter. What a commotion! They leapt about, kicking their back legs in the air and rushing around like demented things. It took a full hour before they settled down to grazing peacefully at the long grass.

Postings have been non-existent for a while, partly due to other commitments, but mainly because it seems that so much is being written about Covid-19 there seemed little worth adding to the mix. Less obvious, perhaps, is how humanity collectively is reacting to the pandemic and its effects on us.

The answer is that we’re not reacting very well. It seems that we cannot hide ourselves away for very long without needing to break out and create mayhem within our own borders.

The disgusting manner in which US police officers manhandled George Floyd causing his death, is unpalatable in any civilized nation. He is not the first black man to die brutally at the hands or guns of US police officers, so why has this death created such a reaction in so many countries, when others have generated only limited local protests?

Could it possibly be as a result of Covid-19?

For years the news has been regularly peppered with shootings in America generally, and of black people specifically. Yet even when children are gunned down in their schools by fanatics and sick individuals it fails to generate the wholesale reaction we are seeing of late over the killing of George Floyd.

It’s truly splendid to note that in Britain the call has gone out to open up the annals of history and display once and for all the hideously cruel and despicable actions carried out under the banner of the British Empire. Remnants of that ’empire’ are still alive and well today, ingrained by powerful propaganda into the minds of many Brits who consider themselves true patriots, far superior to those whose skins may be tinted differently from theirs.

DEFINITION: Patriot: (Literal) … ‘of the fatherland’

In America, uprisings throughout most of that nation have taken on a fervour never before seen in such intensity. Even ignoring Trump’s ridiculous exaggerations, there can be no doubt this movement has gained a momentum that could have repercussions throughout the whole of the United States.

As always, the lunatics on both political fringes of society have jumped on the bandwagon of anger and frustration emanating from each side of the Atlantic, to cause violence and mayhem. But it’s not just the anarchists who are running amok. In Britain, only this week, the town of Bristol was rocked when a crowd of protesters tore down a statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader from the 17th century whose company transported an estimated 84,000 African slaves to the colonies.

It’s difficult to condemn such an act, but when citizens run amok razing civic structures, setting fire to buildings, and causing mayhem, should we not consider the true implications of their actions?

We accept protests in our societies as a democratic right, so long as they’re peaceful. Rightly so, but violence in any or all of its forms we must condemn and resist. Taken to extremes the use of violence against our societies, by individuals or groups, is a stepping stone to anarchy and a breakdown of law and order, resulting in an overthrow of democratic government  (however imperfect) and the imposition of a much inferior and authoritarian regime.

When the cows of our local farmer were released from their barn, the resulting high spirits sprang from a release of pent up energy and possibly some sense of well-being that the long confinement was finally over. One sense totally lacking with these cattle was the sense of fear. Had fear been instilled in them over their winter sojourn, the resulting antics following their release would have been quite different, and far more violent.

Unlike the farmer’s cows, our lives have been filled with fear over the last three or four months of winter. Suddenly, our cosy, comfortable, lives that we’d been used to since birth, were gone. Confinement indoors, isolated, with its accompanying dread of a deadly virus emanating from the mouths of anyone who came too close, propagandized into our brains by Covid-19 twenty-four hour media news, seemed almost like the end of civilisation as we’d known it. It’s possible it was.

There’s a very real fear that life may never be the same again. The virus still lurks, picking us off one by one if we drop our guard for an instant. Will it return in force as winter encroaches again? Will we be locked away once more, like the farmer’s cows, only with the accompaniment of even greater fear next time. No happy release for us, should Covid-19 stalk the towns and cities once more.

We can do nothing about the virus. We hope the scientists will effect a cure or a vaccine. Many viruses have been eradicated by vaccination on a major scale. Yet influenza and the common cold still exist and flourish, and they are both coronaviruses, like Covid-19.

So we have a sense of high-spirits when our lockdown is lifted, but the fear is still there. Indeed, just removing lockdown increases the fear for many. Confined, we were safe. Outside, the world has taken on a strange, almost malignant, form. It’s no longer secure and safe. Death, like an invisible alien ray, lurks everywhere.

We need to make everything better. But how to do so? Then, suddenly, an explosion of fear-laden emotion blasts around America and across the Atlantic. Change is the answer! Things must change. We’ll start with the vile scourge of racism. Let’s wipe out this horror once and for all. We can’t eradicate the virus, but we can purge ourselves of other bad things.

Like the cows let into the field we have a way now to exorcise our pent up energy and emotions. Unlike the cows we still have to deal with our fear, and fear is a negative and violent emotion, particularly when instilled into populations en masse. Dealing with that fear has produced violent responses and civic unrest on an almost unimaginable scale.

The cows are a part of the animal kingdom to which we, Homo sapiens, also belong. Had the cows been fearful over winter they would have reacted much more violently on their release, just as many of us have done on ours. Without Covid-19 it’s unlikely the unlawful killing of George Floyd would have raised any more of a protest than any of the many other unlawful police killings, or mass shootings, so prevalent in America.

Perhaps, if we had only universally recognised and accepted our membership of the animal kingdom, instead of constantly proclaiming our superiority over it, and detachment from it, we might possibly have escaped Covid-19 altogether.

Science tells us the virus came about because of our destruction of natural habitats to further our greedy demands. Recognising our kinship with those creatures whose homes we’ve been decimating, may have made us think twice before doing so.






Not OUR President!

This morning we learn the moron in charge of America, and as a consequence leading the rest of us to disaster, has admitted he takes an unauthorised and dangerous drug, presumably with the sole intent of proving he was right all along, and the rest of the scientific community was wrong.

It says even more about this narcissistic would-be dictator that not only is he  trying to out-muscle China in typical bully-boy fashion, but he’s deliberately threatening the World Health Organization to do so. Today, he stated he may well take America out of the WHO altogether, if it doesn’t fall into line with his demands (though what those demands are is still uncertain, and it’s highly likely Trump has no more idea of the details than anyone else). This, in a time of deadly pandemic.

While the rest of the world may breathe an enormous sigh of relief if he’s removed from office come November, it’s not at all certain he will be, given that many Americans (like the gentleman above) still think he’s the answer to all their problems.

Take a moment to consider the true implications of a statement made to CNN this morning by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi:

“He’s our president, and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and his, shall we say, weight group … morbidly obese, they say,” she said.

“He’s our President…” Quite obviously that’s all that matters to Pelosi. Never mind the damage he’s doing to his country and to the rest of the world. As her President it doesn’t matter that his arrogance and intransigence has led to thousands of unnecessary deaths, not just in America during the pandemic, where his refusal to acknowledge the danger of the virus, (“Oh, it’s just flu…”) for weeks after most other countries had gone into lockdown, but by his severe cut backs on foreign aid to poor countries, his wrecking of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, his total commitment to ‘America First’ and to hell with everyone else on this planet, his annihilation of US environmental regulations and, of course, his disdain for and refusal to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.

But all that doesn’t matter to Pelosi, and millions of Americans: “He’s OUR President.” He’s the President of the Great United States of America, the finest nation on earth. The one that every other country looks up to and respects, and reveres, and longs to emulate.

Well, not any more. Polls of European citizens show a severe drop in support for the United States. Experts agree the days when America led the world are over. It’s not just what Trump has done and continues to do. It’s that he was allowed to do it. He was voted into office democratically by the citizenry, an act  that displayed a total lack of moral responsibility. It’s not just Donald Trump any more. It’s a betrayal of trust, to the world, by the people of America themselves.

The damage has already been done. Even if Trump loses the election in November and Joe Biden becomes the next president, it won’t really matter one iota. World leaders may give false smiles and try to patch things up with Biden, but the people of the rest of the world will not forgive the way Americans ditched their allies, stitched them up, and were happy to throw them to the wolves in their bid to ‘Make America Great Again’ and put ‘America First’.

He may be YOUR President, Speaker Pelosi, but he certainly is not ours.

Only A Bird In A Gilded Cage

“She was only a bird in a gilded cage, a beautiful sight to see..” so sang Florrie Forde (and numerous others) as the timepiece of the centuries clicked over, and the twentieth became a reality.

It was the now well-worn tale of a rich old man buying the affections of a beautiful young woman, and it became a smash hit, at least in sheet music, as the century rolled along.

Today, the door to my gilded cage has been swung wide open. I am able to fly free, so long as I don’t ‘fly’ more than sixty miles and stay two metres away from everyone else on the planet.

France has loosened the lockdown just a little. No more filling in forms before exiting the ‘gilded cage’. And I must admit my cage is well gilded. I sit here at my computer keyboard hearing the steady hum of the dishwasher and washing machine. There’s a large TV and Hi-Fi in the living room, food in the fridge-freezer. I have a warm bed, an acre of garden when I need fresh air, and a view of the French countryside that used to leave visitors speechless. There was a time there were visitors.

How many throughout the world have nothing like that? Even in our so-called ‘civilised’ western societies there are more homeless people than ever before. Many who can manage a roof over their heads have only one or two rooms for a whole family, possibly an apartment, or even a small house -most likely rented and with no security. In other parts of the world, they would be considered the lucky ones.

Over a third of the population of the Philippines live in tin shacks. In parts of Africa, South America, it’s a similar situation. Yet, in all these countries there are those whose lives are luxurious, who have everything they want. They have more money than they could spend in a dozen lifetimes, let alone, one. Little do they care for the poverty and suffering around them – people struggling every day to put food in their mouths, and the mouths of their children, with no access to healthcare and certainly no recourse to the laws made and controlled for the welfare and security of the filthy rich and powerful.

Only yesterday the Guardian ran a further report on the acrimonious and long-winded divorce of the Russian oligarch Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife, Tatiana Akhmedova. This is just one of the things they’re fighting about:

450 million dollars worth of superyacht toy for them to play with. Akhmedov is a good mate of Putin and was, of course, welcomed into the UK by the British government who just love to hobnob with the stinking rich of any country. Akhmedov made his money investing in Siberian oil and gas. He’s presently worth, according to Forbes, 1.4 billion dollars.

The divorce case has been ongoing for years with numerous High Court appearances. God knows how much money the lawyers have made out of it, but judging by the broad smiles on their faces they’re no doubt swooning over the state of their bank accounts.

That’s the ex-wife in the middle. She’s a fine example of the corrupting power of too much cash. She’s now dragging her son into court and forcing him to disclose private emails between him and his father. Such a loving, caring, mother.

The Akhmedov’s are just one example of the state the human race has arrived at in one lifetime. There’s always been those who have and those who haven’t, but now it’s reached a level that’s not only excruciatingly wrong to those of us who bother to think about it, but to many has become accepted as a normal way of being. There are those people, once known as ‘working class’ who’ve been conned into believing they’re ‘middle class’, and admire the likes of the Akhmedov’s, or Jeff Bezos, Zuckerberg, the Walton’s (Walmart, not ‘Johnboy’ ), and many more unnoteworthy families and individuals, whose sole claim to fortune rests on two assets: being in the right place at the right time, and sufficiently ruthless to stab in the back anyone who got in their way.

Frankly, to consider anyone displaying those virtueless talents as worthy of respect or adulation, is beyond comprehension.  Their wealth results from a ransacking of the world’s resources, with total disregard for the environment and its long term consequences, coupled with the misery, fatigue, and eventual ill health of those who sweat and labour in their factories, call centres, multi-national online retailers like Amazon, sweat shops in Asia, and anywhere where the bulk of the world’s population is forced to eke out a relative pittance. Meanwhile, the CEOs, directors, investment bankers and money launderers, coin it in off the backs of those workers, and live in luxury.

Trickle down economics, or free-market capitalism, as espoused by Milton Friedman and seized on by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, was possibly the final nail in the coffin of humanity. Anyone who thought, and many did (or at least pretended to), that corporations would throw their profits back down to their workers, instead of growing wealthier and more powerful themselves, was living in cloud-cuckoo land.

Wealth and power brings control, and once control of government is lost to corporations they can do what the hell they like. And don’t they just! Even the so-called leader of the free world is now firmly in their grip, busy wrecking more and more environmental controls while his citizens die around him.

No three people in modern times have done more towards the destruction of this planet and the suffering of so many of its inhabitants, than Thatcher, Reagan, and Friedman. They’re all dead now. They didn’t live to see the effects of their crimes against humanity and probably wouldn’t even recognise them if they had.

Our world is plunging into chaos. Global climate change is accelerating at an alarming rate; we are presently in the throes of a pandemic we’re powerless to overcome; millions are out of work and suffering the most insecure times they’ve ever known; politicians behave like the proverbial ostrich, the leader of the free world using the deaths and plight of thousands of Americans to assist his re-election by transferring blame to anyone or anything but himself.

It’s now the new norm to believe making money is more important than human life. Bits of paper, or plastic cards, reign over flesh and blood. The wealthy politicians and businessmen don’t care how many die so long as their precious ‘economies’ are making them money again. If ever proof were needed of the disdain in which they regard the rest of us, it is here in the midst of this pandemic.

The world is in dire need. Perhaps the saddest fact of all is that most of its inhabitants don’t even realise it. Let’s get lockdown done and get back to normal, they cry, rushing to beaches and parks in Britain as though ‘normal’ would appear if they just ignore the abnormal.

In America, armed vigilantes invade government offices demanding their “freedom” back. Do they really think they can kill Covid-19 with their AK47s?

In Brazil, Bolsanaro refuses to accept there is a pandemic despite 11,000 Brazilian deaths. Keep cutting down the rain forest, guys, we need to boost our economy.

The French government has today opened the door of my gilded cage. I reach out and quietly close it again. I’m not yet ready for the world today.

Maybe tomorrow….