By PETER HEHIR
I recall a line from my school days in the late 50s.
I like to think it accompanied one of those fabulous black and white line etched drawings that peppered the School Reader like; “The Relief of Lucknow”; or “The Inchcape Rock” and “When did you last see your father?”
“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Party.”
I don’t profess to understand it even now. And much less then. Perhaps it has no meaning? It doesn’t deserve one, for the party is anything but a party. But it was simply a line used to teach typing.
The party is not a party at all. It’s certainly not a joyous occasion. It’s an oxymoron. Just a perpetuation of the “us” and the “them”.
Fuck the Party! Beast that it is. It deserves no succour nor sympathy.
It’s an oxymoron. As much as one word can be an oxymoron. It manifests in the bear pit in any capital city anywhere in the country, or anywhere in the world. Just two loud, crass and vulgar sides, each deriding the other, crudely arguing over monetary gain and the slice of the eternal coin.
For them it’s never been about what; just about how much.
How can a political organisation, regardless of creed or complexion, be anything other than what has gone before it… for millennia? A compromise. A balancing act, albeit an inherently unsteady one?
A three card trick even. This is the nature of politics.
A con that has consumed millions of the body politic and left nothing in its wake but pain and disillusionment; and all too often, an unfulfilled life and premature death. Perhaps when the corpses pile high enough, will the penny finally drop?
We have the numbers. We are the majority.
We have the numbers.
We always have had. Our problem is our belief in and our reliance on leaders. The failure to realize that the solutions are within all of us. You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.
The politics of personality must ultimately be doomed. For if it’s not, then we surely are.
To place your faith in a party or a leader, any leader, Scomo or Elbow, is the act of a fool. Only rational policy can save this planet. “Sustainable growth” is as David Attenborough says, an oxymoron.
Movements – generation after generation, have seen the ills of the world mirrored back. Naked, open to the gaze of all. Analysed, dissected, and subsequently proving that the lie that was so earnestly given; the lie of the promise, to the solutions, to the economics and to the assumptions, was just that.
There has always been an “us” and a “them”. There has always been violence. All attempts at the resolution of these problems almost always manifests in bloodletting. Gandhi’s nonviolent approach was seen as particularly threatening and had to be eradicated; as was King’s and even the Kennedys.
We side with either the “those – or they” or the “us – or them”, depending on class, culture, religion, education or upbringing.
The tentacles that bind our connection to this death march towards our own annihilation have rarely been exposed; or if they are uncovered, however fleetingly, then the evidence is destroyed; its proponents silenced and vanished, just like Juanita Neilson.
Why were Petra Kelly and Gert Bastion killed? Why does every culture devise a system that enables the few and disadvantages the many? Why is it tolerated? What is the connection with the environment? Is there one? Could there be one? Should there be one?
What is the environment? Is it the air that we breathe? Is it what we build, the animals and landscapes that we admire, the food that we eat? Our habitat, our amenity?
Is it all of all of this? Or are these musings but another manifestation of Russell Crowe’s schizophrenic mathematician from his “A Beautiful Mind”; tilting at unseen windmills, like one of the great central characters of literature.
Can some philosophy be found enabling coexistence between sustainability, economics, equity, equality and the environment? One “that raises us all from the daily grind of a deep and dark despair”, to use the words of David Lewis Paget.
Petra thought so. So did Gert Bastion and Rudolph Bahro and dozens of other Green Parliamentarians throughout West Germany in the 70’s and 80’s; and so do the progressive nonaligned activists populating the world over in ever increasing numbers.
The greed, cynicism and the institutional strings are there for all to see. The multi billionaire puppeteers who work their stooges in business, politics and the media, with a frenzy only reserved for the criminally insane.
But for me this week belongs to one who dared to raise her voice. The voice I recall from about 43 years ago. The voice of a human being of considerable presence and integrity; and of an intelligence and a genuine compassion that emanated from her like a beacon.
A warm person who suffered incredible loss, not just of her sister to cancer, but of her soulmate Gert Bastion who, with her, was taken from this life in circumstances that can only permit one plausible explanation, in spite of official verdicts.
She was murdered on the 1st October 1992 by persons unknown. I lamented her passing in this paper 12 months ago.
I will do so again in twelve months’ time.
Her vision was of a world that tallied with David Attenborough’s where there was a place not just for people of all skins; but for plants, animals and wild things, based on an equitable, sustainable and beneficial relationship.
Petra was the most impressive person I’ve ever been privileged to meet. A person I spoke with all too briefly, but who I’ll always remember and who had a most profound impact.
On the 1st October, I, and I hope you, will join me to pause for a minute or two, as we mourn her passing again and we imagine what might have been…
And could be still.