Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Grief and Frustration

Violence of any sort is bad enough, but home-grown violence is exponentially worse. The sense of violated trust, of betrayal, raises the spectre of paranoia which is hard to ignore, but which must be fought at every turn.
The various horrors that daily smear the newspapers' front pages these days seem mostly to be of this home-grown variety: bombs at the Boston marathon; the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Syria's civil war; creepy North Korea. And Margaret Thatcher: even in death she continues to do violence to this country and beyond. Even in death, along with her best buddy Ronald Reagan, she continues to arouse feelings of violence in otherwise peaceful people, as does her diabolical heir, David Cameron. Violence breeds violence: I am not the first nor the only person who feels the urge to slap his smooth, cruel baby face.
But Thatcher was and is in a class by herself. Gerald Scarfe captured her true nature:

[click on the image to enlarge it]

Her funeral today can be called nothing less than bizarre. To spend ten million pounds to honour a woman who made selfishness and greed acceptable, thus destroying the sense of community and rightness that once characterized what it meant to be British, a tactic which led directly to the current banking and economic crisis, is simply unacceptable, especially during the week when the government is implementing the slashing of benefits for those who need them most. She was a blatant racist; she despised anyone not as ruthless, bloodthirsty and pig-headed as herself. 
To honor such a person at a time when more and more people are losing their homes, when they are having difficulty merely surviving, seems nothing less than sadistic. Good for Glenda Jackson for having the guts to stand up in the Commons and say what many of us are thinking, facing down her colleagues who continued to drone their obsequious rewriting of one of the worst eras of social history in the UK.
I'm writing this post at three in the morning because something deep inside me is crying out at the cumulative horror of all this violence, including my own. Early yesterday afternoon I watched online the controversial BBC undercover film about North Korea that has caused such a ruckus. I didn't watch it the night it was broadcast because I knew it would be deeply disturbing and my sleep problems hardly need exacerbating. But obviously, since I am sitting here, this precaution didn't make any difference: I might as well have watched it on the night. Normally I avoid watching the news—any news—because it is too depressing, but this report seemed mandatory.
The controversy surrounding this programme, which was filmed under the cover of an organised tour from the London School of Economics, is also revelatory of Thatcher's legacy. It is incredible to someone like me, who was at university at the height of the civil rights and anti-war movements in the US, that the whinging LSE students seem primarily worried about the effect on their careers which providing that cover might have. By contrast, I have read or heard nothing from them of the horrors they observed in a country that is one huge concentration camp, where hundreds of thousands of people are starving to death while the fat cats slurp cream in Pyongyang and compel robotic marches and displays from tens of thousands of wraith-thin troops and performers. Kim Jong Un's gross face arouses in me the same urge as David Cameron's.
At the risk of sounding old, my classmates and I would have jumped at the chance to provide such cover for the BBC.
Other universities, in a show of ingenuous hypocrisy, add their complaints about 'losing credibility'—as if using education as a cover to gather information, a tactic as old as human beings, were a shocking novelty. What has happened to students that they are no longer passionate for justice and setting the world to rights?
This post may be as inchoate as the emotional nausea in the pit of my stomach, but I make no apologies. When are we going to WAKE UP?!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not alone in your anger, your lament and your seeing of the violence and destruction of the current order. I am reminded of Jesus saying 'something greater than all this is here'(Matthew 12) - something greater than all the darkness, hate and violence of the world; something greater than all the beauty, delight and wonder of this world; something greater than any ruler, any philosophy, any human wisdom is here; something greater beyond words - within and all around - and we are called to be awakened witnesses to this 'something greater' - in silence and beholding! Here today, in the midst of this violence - surrendered in our helplessness, may we give ourselves to the work of being awakened witnesses to that 'something greater'.
Peace be with you.

9:34 am, April 17, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an off-topic question for you, Maggie:

Do you know any specifics of why the Black Hills are sacred to the Sioux?

Yours, Nick

11:10 am, April 17, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

Nick, you need to get in touch with the Rev Margaret Watson who is on the reservation. She has a wonderful, wonderful blog at Her contact information is on the blog and she will be able to answer your question.

11:18 am, April 17, 2013  
Anonymous MS said...

I appreciated the undercurrent of self-reliance among the North Korean people amidst the backdrop of state propaganda.

1:01 pm, April 17, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earlier this week a co-worker from China referenced the current bird flu outbreak when she said, "The birds are fighting back."

It's important to remember that all of our choices have consequences.

12:52 pm, April 18, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous -

Yes, but we also can choose to center ourselves in Love rather than in violence.

I recently read a prayer that said, "Love is God" rather than the common "God is Love". Centering ourselves in the notion that "Love is God" allows us to consciously experience and empower God every time we naturally feel warmly about something.

1:42 pm, April 18, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maggie,

I wanted to share with you something from a Homily I heard today re Acts 9:1-19 (Paul's conversion):

The priest contrasted the concept of an 'instant conversion' with what happened to Paul. Paul was already a devout believer in God, if nothing else he was a religious scholar and activist. And his vision was able to transform him so because he was able to understand the significance of it.

Ananias and Paul have some things in common in this story:

- They both have strong foundations in religious study and ethics
- They both have visions that ask them to do scary, life-changing things
- They both say 'Yes' to God

Having each followed a similar process of growth - the overcoming of fear by trusting in God wholly, these men were brought together in order to serve a higher purpose.



9:20 pm, April 18, 2013  
Blogger changeinthewind said...


The Black Hills are sacred!

The best way to understand why this is so is to vist them.

To anyone who willingly endures life in western South Dakota now, the Black Hills remain a sacred haven.

I grew up there. I loved it then and still do, it is "my heart of hearts" beating.

Go soon. The pine beatles are rapidly destroying the forests.

7:09 pm, April 19, 2013  

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