The Plastic Hippo

September 7, 2015

Hearts and minds

Filed under: Faith,History,Politics — theplastichippo @ 4:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


It might be wishful thinking and it is certainly too soon to be sure, but there is a sense of an almost subterranean rumbling that suggests something is fundamentally changing. It`s not that governments and media now describe the hundreds of thousands attempting to escape war as “refugees and migrants” rather than simply “economic migrants” or that Presidents and Prime Ministers have suddenly realised that we are in the middle of a catastrophic humanitarian disaster that will only worsen or that the tactic of whipping up the populist rhetoric of fear and loathing has spectacularly failed; it is instead the coming true of an out of touch leader`s worst nightmare. Direct action by so called “ordinary” people not involved in grand matters of state or the complexities of global politics is extraordinarily difficult to control and our masters are very, very scared.

It is as if J.K. Rowling has conjured up some colossal sorting hat to place the inhabitants of the planet into two distinct houses. Forget the ancient animosity and conflict between Protestant and Catholic, Shia and Sunni, Hindu and Sikh, Buddhist and Rohingya, Arab and Jew, City and United, Gryffindor and Slytherin and the endless acrimony of internecine punch ups; these two houses will define the future.

The first house belongs to those with an irrational hatred of people that they have never met, a self-obsession that is inversely proportional to self-awareness and an illogical paranoia that makes them believe that anyone who is not a carbon copy of their identity and opinion is certain to murder them using a household utensil. We will call this house “Government”.

The other house is called “The Rest of Humanity”.

For years now, “Government” has held sway over “The Rest of Humanity” by making sure that all of us live in a constant state of invented fear. “Look out” they warn, “she doesn`t look like us and she`s got an egg whisk…he has a beard and a blender in a rucksack…that child wants to steal your child`s food”. This, of course, is complete nonsense and “The Rest of Humanity” is now frightening the life out of “Government” by not believing the nonsense anymore and people are starting to take matters into their own hands.

When refugees kettled at Budapest railway station decided to walk to Vienna, Hungarian citizens shamed by the actions of their government came to roadside to give food and water to the travellers. The Hungarian government responded by tricking people onto trains to take them to a camp. If that sounds familiar then you will realise that Godwin`s Law is now finally revoked.

Austria and Germany open their borders to the refugees and “ordinary” citizens greeted the new arrivals with sweets and soft toys and clothes and applause. German football crowds held up banners stating that refugees were welcome and motorists formed a convoy to transport fellow human beings from the border only to be told that they faced arrest for people trafficking. The sorting hat has decided that the people and governments of Austria and Germany are in the house of “The Rest of Humanity” and that the Hungarian government is in the house of “Government”.

In the UK, Cameron has backed away from his “swarm” nonsense apparently because his wife was upset by “that photograph” on the front page of the “Government” newsletters including the malignant Daily Mail and the sickening Sun. You can almost imagine the conversation over the breakfast table. “Now, now darling, don`t worry your pretty little head over something so trivial”…”You are the effing Prime Minister, you useless streak of urine, do something about it.” The sorting hat has caused some friction at Number 10.

Cameron will announce that the UK will allow unspecified “thousands” of Syrian refugees into this other Eden but will make it clear that local authorities and the overseas aid budget will pick up the bill. Nothing will be allowed to obstruct profit and no new money is available because that has been allocated to replacing weapons of mass destruction which are not particularly effective against members of the house of “Government” currently destroying World Heritage Sites and beheading “The Rest of Humanity” in Syria. Ironically, London will next week host the biggest defence exhibition on the planet where “Governments” can buy and sell stuff designed specifically to kill “The Rest of Humanity”.

The refugees that Cameron will reference come from camps in Lebanon and Turkey and not those in Budapest or Munich or Calais. One can imagine some chinless “Government” official wandering through the camps carrying a smaller sorting hat and a clip board shouting; “any doctors, dentists or nurses here…any teachers or engineers…anyone good at IT surveillance? Come this way – transport has been arranged.” As Head Boy of “Government”, Cameron is playing a blinder.

However, watching him on the television news, there was a look in his eyes reminiscent of Nicolai Ceausescu on a balcony addressing a crowd on Revolution Square in Bucharest in December 1989. The television images show the moment of realisation that the people did not believe a single word he said and that, in fact, the game was up. Ceausescu and his wife were machine-gunned on Christmas Day. Like Osama Bin Laden, this was another victory for the house of “Government” that prefers violence over the process of law and justice.

With a Pope telling his flock to embrace a Syrian family, some European politicians saying that they will open their homes to give shelter to refugees and with more than 2,000 UK households signing up to take in fellow human beings, the sorting hat is working overtime. Filling a van with blankets, food, tents and nappies and driving to Calais might seem self-indulgent but when people offer refuge not just in their towns or cities, or neighbourhoods or streets, but actually within their own houses, then the balance of power between “Government” and “The Rest of Humanity” is slowly beginning to shift. This is the stuff that terrifies those that wish to rule us.

As Austria and Germany prove themselves to be part of “The Rest of Humanity” along with the Scandinavian countries and France and with Turkey, Greece and Italy bearing the brunt as Europe`s gatekeepers, Israel and Hungary are building fences and the very wealthy Gulf States have taken no refugees at all. Russia continues to arm the Assad regime and Cameron`s government is once again pressing for armed intervention in Syria. Let`s just consider that for a moment. To stop people trying to escape from being bombed to death in Kobane or Aleppo or Idlib, the British government would like to bomb Kobane, Aleppo and Idlib. The sorting hat seems to be infallible.

For millennia, philosophers and theologians and other clever people have tried to work out if human beings are intrinsically good people with a habit of being occasionally bad or bad people who are always bad apart from being accidentally good. This refugee crisis brought about by bad people has resulted in the best and worst examples of human behaviour. There has been pragmatic talk of making decisions based on the head or the heart but this goes beyond ephemeral emotion. If a fellow human being is prepared to risk their life to escape something that will take their life, then they deserve some compassion and even if they are wearing Adidas trainers and carrying a mobile phone, they are not part of a “swarm”. The European Union was specifically created to avoid this madness.

For the record, six per cent of refugees from Syria have arrived in Europe which might or might not equate to the numbers of American businessmen, Russian oligarchs, overseas footballers, the occasional Saudi prince, drug barons, gangsters, former dictators, Lynton Crosby and Boris Johnson.

The subterranean rumbling might just become seismic and it will not be “ordinary”.

1 Comment »

  1. Bravo.

    Comment by suzannemacleod — September 7, 2015 @ 7:22 am | Reply

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