Time hasn’t so much stood still as gone backwards, rejoining the endless loop of stupid choices and the inescapable barbarity of human nature. For a little while, things branched off, developed a parallel reality in which differences were accepted, the greater good was a tangible ideal and not every favour was granted on a purely reciprocal basis.Or perhaps nothing ever changed, and I was merely drinking the kool-aid at the fountain of western self-absorbed apathy. There have been hideous civil wars, repression, poverty, exploitation, terrorism all my life. It’s just that June and July 2016 have taken on such a nightmarish quality in terms of world affairs that I feel as if this is 1936; the writing is on the wall, and we are all merely hoping it will all go away if we murmur some soothing words and wave a piece of paper. Peace in our time, while Russia has amassed more weapons than at any time since 1945. The UN is such a joke that it can condemn the bedroom tax as a human rights abuse, but invite Saudi Arabia to join the human rights council. I am still hoping I will read this in two years’ time, and will have entirely forgotten what events I am referring to. After all, two years ago it seemed like we were all about to die of Ebola.
We took Conrad to the science museum last week, because the queues at the natural history museum were comical, and there was a rather odd display case of everyday items, from about 1910 to 1999, wth captions written in a time capsule style. There was a packet of Pampers, with a label explaining that by the late 20th century disposable nappies entirely replaced reusable ones in most consumer societies. I read the caption, looked at all the other incidental accoutrements of our very convenient lives, and was suddenly quite afraid of all this being the pinnacle of human existence.
I can picture myself looking back on my trivial concerns (like running out of dishwasher tabs), and laughing to myself, coughing slightly as I sit under a piece of corrugated iron by the rusting railway tracks, waiting for my children to return from their search for rabbits to eat. Perhaps they will find some blackberries to go with it. Basti is very skilful skinning them, so he usually gets that job while Conrad sorts out the fire. It’s pretty damp today though, so we’ll probably be eating it raw again. Richard is not here any more; he was trying to help an old man who was running away from the psychos that have been freed from the shackles of society, and tripped. The man kept on shuffling off, and bought himself time while the psychos were busy with Richard. Of course I don’t know what they did, as I’ve not seen my lovely husband since. I only heard about it from the old man when he came by the camp. All I know is he is not here any more, and so I am very grateful to have two strong sons who at least aren’t likely to get raped.
So yeah, that’s pretty much my view of the future right now. Turkey has obviously taken Russia’s advice on how to deal with democracy; the Middle East is a powder keg of civil wars that feed violence and nourish the death cult of Isis; the US seems intent on electing a sadistic despot on the very naive basis that he will somehow “fix” some imaginary problems of disenfranchisement for “ordinary people” (a phrase that starts to mean all the thugs who can’t beat up minorities with impunity), while the UK has disappeared into a fit of nostalgia for a world that never even was. Australia is too busy bleating about the very existence of people less fortunate than themselves; Africa is starving as usual and handing over all control to China. China seems alone in not imploding in some way, at least not geopolitically. It just carries on imprisoning dissidents, exploiting workers, rewarding party acolytes, and banning Ghostbusters.
What would happen if Russia decided to park a few thousand tanks and missiles in Turkey, by mutual agreement? And then Turkey claims the remaining 80% stake in the new gas pipeline that is going across Azerbaijan, by directly threatening Azerbaijan with military action ? Then I suppose we still all sit around for a few more years, pretending it will all blow over, until Turkey invades Greece, with Russian backing, on some spurious pretext probably involving “terrorism”. Meanwhile the terrorist hits on European cities increase, so that any action seems justified, but we still can’t bring ourselves to start a war with Turkey, as that would be the end of NATO. So Russia takes Paris, and all freedom of thought slowly ends, but we accept it all because we have spent so little on defence for so long that we would have absolutely no chance. Trump’s America has no problem with any of this.
What would I know though – I’m sure there are people with a far greater handle on the facts who will tell me it’s all under control. The main worry in my life currently is that Conrad bit his tongue so hard I had to take him to hospital. I feel like it’s my fault because he was messing about on the stairs, wriggling away from me, and he jumped out of my arms while facing the stairs, so planted his face on the edge of the step while in full yell. Of course the reason he was on the stairs at all was that he was supposed to be in time out for repeatedly jumping on the sofa, so that’s went well. Full marks for mummy day care all round.