Curtain Raiser

Guts to Not Repeat the Past, Colltalers

A sample of four of the biggest threats to the survival of humanity highlights the week ahead: a virus nearing 20 million cases worldwide; the faltering democracy in the world’s strongest nation; a mild but still powerful hurricane; and the sobering 75th anniversary of Hiroshima’s atomic bombing.
Plagues, oppression, climate change, and nuclear power are of course what makes these apparently unrelated events relevant as we’re helpless against any of them. It’s been sheer luck that they’re yet to strike us all at the same time. But it’s getting closer to it and if they do, we’re certainly doomed.
More on that later, but first, Asia’s monsoon season is up to a particularly nasty start and a quarter of Bangladesh is already flooded, with millions left homeless as per reports. Millions more have been dispossessed in China, in torrential, climate change-boosted rainfalls. Monsoons are known for ages but were never as deadly as in the past 30 years. Sad then that, unless we address the climate emergency, all we can do is wait for the water to recede.
Speaking of China, it again did something while no one was looking: it postponed Hong Kong’s September elections that a moribund pro-Democracy movement was counting on to remain breathing. Officially, it was COVID-19 but if you believe that, we’ve got a 2008 Beijing Olympics ticket to sell you. Which does not justify Sec. of Sycophancy Mike Pompeo’s warmongering threats, since his boss wishes and may still do just that in the U.S.
Another piece of scary news comes from Germany, where an underground militia was just uncovered. It had elaborate plans with artillery to match for taking over the government with a Nazi 0.2 regime. Politicians and members of law enforcement were involved in a sort of echo of what’s happening in America, including the police involvement. Even scarier is to think of a present-day Axis, with the U.S. and maybe Russia replacing Italy and Japan.
That’s as good as any a moment to mention the Anti-Fascist movement, born in the 1920s to fight the rise of Benito Mussolini in Italy, and later, Hitler in Germany, and the

Center for Strategic and International Studies’ research on victims of politically-driven events and killings in the U.S. since 1994.
Unlike false claims by the president and contemporary white supremacists, Antifa is not a violent organization as the thinktank’s database has compiled a grand total of one death related to it, and that was of the attacker. During the same period, however, far-right terrorists have murdered 329 people.
The U.S. has reported 1.86 million new coronavirus cases in July, a whopping 41% of its staggering total of 4.8 million. The worst month since the pandemic started also matched almost seamlessly the massive re-opening of public places in Florida, the current epicenter, Texas, most Southern states, and California. Looking at pics of those places fools us into thinking that the virus and its devastation are both done. Sadly though we are far from it.
Even worse, July also saw COVID-19 taking its first pet in its wake. Seven-year-old German Shepherd Buddy, by all accounts an exceedingly good boy, succumbed before anyone knows exactly how transmission occurs between humans and their companions. It’s a red flag for pet owners all over and an untimely event for Buddy’s loved ones. If it’s of any consolation, he didn’t go in August, the infamous month of Mad Dogs. R.I.P. old champ.
As for red flags, they were all up, along with fittingly outrage and alarm, since Trump floated the idea of postponing the November elections. He did get clobbered even by Republicans, but don’t rest assured just yet. It was one of his devilish genius impromptu tirades that somehow hits the target. Don’t expect him to drop the whistle as he’s bound to come back to it now that the issue is part of the national, and global, conversation. Be prepared.
U.S. elections were never postponed in 244 years of Republic, and have been held during wartime, hurricanes, and every other kind of circumstance in the book. It’s one of the most solid trademarks of American democracy, one that was never contested either. So, of course, Trump will come back to it.
Floods and landslides in Bangladesh, China, Nepal, and other areas haven’t been the worst ever but they’re still increasing in overall intensity. The same about the Isaias storm. But climate emergency is not just the weather, the warming of the oceans caused by greenhouse gases, or our sick fossil-fuel dependency. It’s also aggravated by the astounding income inequality and other nefarious realities we experience in our world, circa 2020.
At this point, the wide array of factors causing the planet to heat up, in some places to a crisp, helps feed and exponentially worsens knuckle-headed policies, extreme greed, and the appalling lack of empathy by those profiting from pandemics and misery, who believe they’re rich out of divine grace.
On that note, Amazon Rainforest fires have risen 28% more in July than in the same month last year, because of, well, Bolsonaro. And keep in mind that a record 212 environment protectors were assassinated in 2019, in the Amazon region and worldwide, according to a new Global Witness report.
At 8:45 am on August 6, 1945, 80.000 people were instantaneously killed in Hiroshima, Japan, by an atomic bomb dropped by the U.S. Three days later, the same happened in Nagasaki. 75 years on and that day is ever more marked by the infamy of murder and mayhem brought about by war than by a frantic effort to stop the conflict for good. It was both, but at the end of this long day, what really counts is the brutal loss of life any war causes.
And the most disturbing thing about it all is, we haven’t learned our lesson. It’s not just that Trump withdrew from nuclear treats and made the world unsafer than ever. But that we and pretty much every nation in the world are still actively seeking to build nukes with the same unreliable technology. We’re closer than ever to a global nuclear disaster, and the Atomic Scientists-managed Doomsday Clock is now counted in seconds, not in minutes.
There it is, in a nutshell, the transcendental challenges staring at us all whether we ‘believe’ it or not. Divine intervention? more like the luck of the draw: we’re all here, no one knows why or wherefrom, but there’s nothing else more important for us to confront and conquer while we’re indeed here.
We do know what we need to do to survive: vote for better leaders, yes, freely share knowledge to combat diseases, absolutely, stop consuming fossil-fuels, for certain, and elect only natural sources of energy to get moving, obviously. But the reason it hasn’t happened, or rather that our efforts haven’t reached critical mass yet is that we do need to come to a common understanding about life, the planet, and the worthiness of our very existence here.
Don’t even start with how heavy a load this is, and if you need to, brush up your history books to see what ‘difficult times’ are really all about. The difference this time is not that we are here, but that the world may soon not be, and that’s a first for mankind. Since the 1950s, we’re living on borrowed time, so it’s time to find ways to pay it back. Welcome home astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. We’re glad, now back to work. Cheers WC


One thought on “Curtain Raiser

  1. Colltales says:

    Gee, YUR, I sense a bit of despair in your words. All justified, of course, and I can’t tell you how little success I’ve achieved trying to clamp down that sort of line of thinking. I usually crash way before the final stretch. But to your questions, the morbidly wealthy do have vulnerabilities that can be explored. They may have the most accumulation of sheer power than any other group of rich people ever in history. But they seem to operate under a compulsory route, not an optimized, no no-sense way. For instance, they support fossil-fuels which ultimately runs counter to their own interests. Also, even the majority of the extremely rich psychopaths have human connections capable of hurting them from inside. Not that they’re a reliable bunch or morally sound either; most will abide by greed and the desire to preserve their own power. But not all. Yes, there’s the matter of immediacy; the wealthy want more now not in the future. And also, they may’ve built enough barriers to prevent the hordes of small people to get to them. That’s the part that may support our collective despair, given that it all look unsurmountable, and that we’re running out of time. So for that, I have no argument. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I do know that people like me waste too much time and don’t act as forcibly as we should. Cheer up, my friend.


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