Lest we also forget the 1200 brave women from twelve nations, including combatant nations, who gathered at The Hague in April 1915 to consider how to stop the slaughter already well under way, though still to get much worse. Post-war they formed the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Their resolutions fed into the League of Nations and thence into the United Nations. Would that we had heeded the wisdom they distilled, in the face of derision, hostility and dismissal.
Many Americans and Brits are struggling to come to terms with the votes for Trump and Brexit. We haven’t had the same shock in Oz, but we have a creeping version of the same disease.
Chip Giller, the founder of Grist magazine, which insists on humour in the face of general insanity, tells how recently he was moved to tears by Harry Potter. Yes, the fictional boy wizard. It’s a powerful story, that’s why it’s so popular. Harry chose to stand for what’s right, against impossible odds. Then a lot of Harry’s friends chose to stand with him, validating the love among them, and perhaps creating a glimmer of hope.
Giller was reminded that if enough Americans of good heart and good will stand together they might resist the forces of fear being marshalled by Donald Trump.
My partner and I recently completed a long trip around Australia. Not such an unusual thing these days, though we did some less-travelled parts, like the Tanami Road. Also I’m as interested in seeing the lay of the land as seeing particular celebrated sites, and in noting how well the land is fairing under the (mis)management of whitefellas. I wrote some despatches to friends in the course of our travels, and I have now added photos to illustrate my commentary. The illustrated commentary is now on a page here.
So you can have a look if you’re interested. It’s one person’s take on the country, fairly long, and with personal anecdotes mixed in.
[A shift of topic, of personal significance but also potentially of great significance to the state of our society.]
Midwife and Jessica Breese, a Certified Nurse Midwife from Colorado, pose with new mother Amy and her son Austin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There has been for some time a vigorous campaign to effectively ban home births in Australia, including crude scare-mongering based on extreme cases, such as a recent article by de Crespigny and Savulescu. However the ground from which these campaigners operate is shaky, because of a dramatic rise in hospital interventions in the birthing process, and because obstetricians have an obvious conflict of interest. Medical hostility to midwifery in general, not just to home birthing, seems to be driven by a spiral of fear, which is abetted by many obstetricians’ relative lack of the skills and experience of midwives.
I have plugged along with trying to get my message out for many years now. I created this blog over three years ago so my deathless prose wouldn’t just vanish into the aether, and have slowly built a modest following for it, getting occasional pieces published in more public places along the way.
This past week I have had an episode of doubt, including feeling depressed for a day and a longer surge of bodily stress indicators. This was triggered by a confluence of events that I’ll get to. The result is I’m not sure it is worth the effort and aggravation – the effort to provide an alternative to failed mainstream economics, to raise awareness about global warming, and to maintain a voice of informed decency amid the growing cacophony of brutish, ignorant ranting. The aggravation of feeling ground is being lost. Perhaps I should reduce my aggravation level by stepping back and letting things flow for a time.
I am writing this because I don’t mind connecting with you at a personal level, but also to suggest that if you think you see worthwhile things here then perhaps you could help to spread the word, or make serious suggestions to that end. More about that below.
You might say our present dire condition is just the consequence of human nature, about which not much can be done.To this I say yes, but its due to the worst of human nature, not the best of human nature, and that implies there is something we can change: we can shift the values by which we live.