Cages in which to imprison ourselves.
When the Saturday paper arrives I dive for the enclosed Magazine,before the recipes,letters to the editor or the latest articles I always read what Nikki Gemmel has written. This week her article is titled Ruled by fear. she speaks of how we have engineered an era of suspicion and paranoia and how all of this has now come to Australia and so she questions what do we teach our children?
Quoting her experience “When they took the children to Disneyland Paris on the Eurostar from London as security about the departure gate was endured when a Muslim -looking man with an NYC jacket was pulled aside.” This resonated with me as I have just returned from Europe and in many checkpoints at airports as I collected my hand luggage after stepping through the X-ray machine, I noticed wives in burqas patiently waiting for the husband to be searched- after being pulled aside and patted down.
What do we tell our children? what is the message to the children watching this? That people of different clothing style or skin colour are not to be played with, or worse to be feared?
In Nikki Gemmels words “I wondered about the relentless way we try to cram our kids lives with continual, seamless happiness; snapping off the news when it became to unbearable; eventually not watching with them ( the children) around at all. What defences would be developed for the bleakness of the world ? How could we teach them bravery, compassion, connection, how could we spine their lives
I hope that education and parental communication would reassure them that these instances(terroist attacks,seemingly random shootings in schools etc) are extremely rare. That most people are fundamentally good. That we need to reach out to different races and religions.”
Steve Waterson writing in the travel magazine comments ” As far as security is concerned, all I want to know is that nobody’s got on with a bomb or a serious weapon, and that no one can get into the cockpit. I don’t care less who else is on board. Beyond the fact your 10 Km up in the air, you’re on a bus. In the end you surrender to the absurdity, because it’s against the law to make fun of it. In the US, signs as you approach the screening area warn you not to make jokes. Some believe this contravenes the first Amendment guarantee of free speech, but it’s not a good idea to test it; remember the cautionary tale of US Airways captain Elwood Menear. Frustrated at the delay as security picked over the contents of his bag as he headed to fly his airliner out on Philadelphia airport, Minear observed sarcastically “Why are you worried about my tweezers when I could just crash the plane?”
Of course the authorities quickly grasped the point the pilot was making, laughed and waived him through – oh wait no they didn’t. They arrested him, took him away and charged him with making A terrorist threat. It’s the kind of vigilance that keeps us safe ”
Nikki Gemmel like me ” feels that Australia over the past few years has felt paranoid, jittery, sour, little; with it’s turning back of the boats, ditching witches and burqa ban flirts. eyes have narrowed as we draw in the wagons.” I am disappointed by blatant name calling in our parliament and politicians belittling politicians. “And so we must ask ourselves are we loosing our tolerance, our open -hearted energy ?”
Nikki Gemmell quotes Marilynne Robinson’s character of a dying man speaking to his young son”
I’ll pray that you grow up a brave man in a brave country ‘’ the book Gilead
Nikki continues with “Right now, this country does not feel brave as we turn in on ourselves, fearful of difference. Why do we seek cages in which to in imprison ourselves?”
How to stop this silently spreading disease?
The heart of the matter is what we feel about ourselves and the many rooms of the prisons in my own mind. Thought heals, thought destroys and so we learn to watch the mind and the thoughts that arise. Take time each day to reflect on your thoughts, past and present, let them flow ,let them go. Sit in silence, let your heart expand to all beings and wish them freedom from their own mental prisons.