Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Whose streets are they anyway?

Today got fairly difficult filled with anger and despair. Only now at 11pm have I been able breath out and find some peace and mental quiet... quiet.

Life will always present us with adversity... but how do we fight a society that would seek our demoralization?
I have to confess I occasionally struggle with the obvious futility and meaninglessness of many things in this life. I know I am prone to seeing the darker side of things but most of the time I manage to keep it fairly real and just get on with things... Actually I'm not a depressive kind of person, I just don't like to kid myself too much about what's going on. Honestly I try to get a great deal of pleasure out of this world, but today I got a glimpse of the dark side and have struggled not to be overcome by it.

(Side note)
I recently received word that a man who has been on hunger strike for the past two months may soon succumb to severe malnutrition and all the unpleasant consequences that go along with it! I am not writing this to invoke an argument or stir any kind of reaction. I include this piece of information only to suggest that there is cause for despair! If a person has gone to these lengths to defy the callous nature of his imprisonment and the dehumanizing system that would treat him and other asylum seekers the way the Australian Government continues to do, then any human being with a heart must ask themselves is this justice? To loose all hope for a future and be driven to take such action must surely be the response to an absolutely intolerable situation. My heart goes out to this man and his family. I believe it is too late to rectify the harm starvation has done to his body and he may only have days to live.

"When I was your age...."
Yep I think it and I say it all the time and I know that every generation seems to struggle to relate to the one before it or after but!

The tipping point for me today came when this happened!

When I got home from work the kids and wife appeared having just ridden their bikes back from the local park. It's not far and they only had to ride on 'quiet' suburban streets. Sadly there is no such thing as a 'quiet suburban street'!

In just a few hundred meters ride my boy was nearly hit by a car and apparently soon after another car passed my family, and in a completely unrelated incident some dickhead yelled at them to get off the road and ride on the footpath! (Not on a major road but a suburban street with a speed limit of 50km per hour and 40 during school days!) This scared the crap out of my children and caused my wife to feel vulnerable and intimidated! 
The kids got home and were in tears, they vowed never to go out on their bikes again! We talked through what had happened and the kids were reassured to know they'd done nothing wrong but this did nothing to restore their faith in their fellow humans or their entitlement to be outside at all! I could not lie and tell them that on the whole people are OK. As a cyclist on Australian roads generally we have to assume that our countrymen and women are NOT OK! They act with such a sense of entitlement on the roads and an almost narcissistic disregard for human life that they need to be regarded as extremely dangerous.
Recently in an eight week period Darwin has had 5 hit and run incidents.

This incident coupled with the knowledge of the condition of a man who'd rather starve himself to death than entrust his future to the care of the Australian people has left me once again wondering if humanity is only a romantic myth.

Things were different when I was a kid! And the differences cannot be ignored!
When I was my kids age, I was free to play outside without any great fear of being killed by my neighbors. We all played in the street. Cars slowed down when they saw people on the road and it was expected that we would share the road! Without that kind of liberty how long will it take for our children to reach the same level of despair experienced by our friend who is now lying in his death bed? If we allow the bullies to determine the culture and don't actively start caring for each other pretty soon we may lose the capacity to care for ourselves!


1 comment:

Chandra said...

The yelling, intimidation, throwing of beer bottles, etc., seems to happen all over, particularly, in some parts of the USA and now based on your post, in NT in Australia as well. It is sickening. As you may have read in one of my posts from 2014, I was hit by a car at a crosswalk, while the WALK sign was lit. No respect for humanity is possibly what it is, in such cases, and some of these people, who have such disregard for fellow humans may not be right in their mind.

What can we do? I suppose we can perform random acts of kindness, like you do already. Not yell back at the person who threatens to run you down with the huge honking SUV, for there are other SUV drivers who are kind to cyclists and pedestrians. I am working on not reacting to such incidences myself. Oh one other thing - people carry guns these days, at least around here, like they are a multi-tool. Something to be mindful of.

Keep up what you are doing, mate! Fight aggression with kindness. The more times aggression and inconsiderate behaviors are met with kindness, eventually the realization that we are all not different from each other will occur. It may not occur in my lifetime, but I trust that it will occur.

Peace :)