It's that time of the year again when red poppies and headstones are prominent in the media and the psyche. Usually they're for the dead "we" lost, when of course war is always a tragedy for both "sides" and marks a failure of better ways... In our remembering, and our use of flowers or other symbols, let's keep the flowers soft and flexible, and not allow them to leave us embittered or hard-hearted. (Previous posts touching on the remembrance theme are here and here.)
I am intensely grateful for the freedoms I enjoy, and recognise that they are result of hard work and sacrifice of others. The methods used might sometimes have been "of their time," dubious even, but I recognise that folk may have had, or felt they had, no alternative to fight in the face of monstrous, depraved aggression, oppression and brutality - greater evil.
There are no easy fixes, and sometimes we feel overwhelmed with how much is wrong with the world. I find it useful sometimes to look within self, country and nation for the plank which might have escaped my notice when I am busy noting the speck in the eye of another individual or nation. Nevertheless if someone else is battering your head, or your child's head, with a big stick it's hard to ignore that fact.
So I'm not offering a quick fix, just suggesting a little contemplation alongside respect for those with whom we differ, and respect for those who have made great sacrifices on our behalf.
Plus some music to aid the contemplation.
"I got something in motion
Something you can't see
It requires devotion
From those who truly believe
This is something you can't touch
This is something you feel
For some people its too much
For some people it heals...
This music is my healing
This music is my healing
Lord knows I need some healing
'cause this world upsets me...
We stand in formation
While they test and they see
They compile information
And try to make us believe...
God only knows, who will save us
Who will save us now
They sit back and watch flowers turn to stone."
There's another tune that challenges attitudes to our allegiances and to the allegiances of others with the lines
"When the whip that’s keeping you in line doesn’t make him jump
Say he’s hard-of-hearin’, say that he’s a chump
Say he’s out of step with reality as you try to test his nerve
Because he doesn’t pay no tribute to the king that you serve"
There are a few musical interpretations of the song, which makes reference to hearts, stone, and resentment, and they can be found by clicking on the links to Chrissie Hynde, Sinead O'Connor and its originator, Bob Dylan
As Zimmy also put it
"Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
When your foot of pride come down
Ain’t no goin’ back."
Right folks, no sitting on the sidelines. Your healthcare is far too important. When I shout in social media about the damage being done to the NHS by this current UK government, I sometimes get the impression that some of you out there either think this is all a fuss over nothing, or is about self-interest on the part of the medical profession. Jezza is RELYING on you thinking that - he's spent considerable time on media manipulation and spin, and is currently being opportunist in times of austerity, to help consolidate that impression.
Don't let government grind down those trying to secure the welfare of you and your nearest and dearest. The NHS is a superb healthcare provider (as judged by independent assessors) but this Tory government would much rather use ill health to line the pockets of private healthcare companies at the expense of those who can't afford private healthcare, and with cavalier disregard for uniform quality of care. Public sector healthcare professionals are those who stand in their way and therefore must be vilified (to undermine public confidence in them) and demoralised so that they move abroad or out of the public sector. It's hard to think of one group of healthcare individuals or NHS providers which has escaped a campaign of negative propaganda.
As is my usual habit, I'll illustrate my point with a tune. Forgive my mixing of metaphors but this one's doing the rounds, and deserves to become viral:
So... since posting earlier today, the youtube account which uploaded the above video has been terminated.... which has forced me to send you to a site I don't usually insert links to, but needs must so:
"Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some
Who knows maybe you were kidnapped tied up,
Taken away and held for ransom
Honey, it don't make no difference to me, baby
Everybody has to fight to be free, you see
You don't have to live like a refugee..."
If you know of any, and want to offer some help, here are a few options among many others:
These may only offer short term relief (and that is needed), so lobby your MP/local politician and, in the words of Tom Petty "you believe what you want to believe," but don't let your economic ideology get in the way of a humanitarian response.