The Courageous, The Compassionate & The Deranged

Un cop de mà

Image by Jose Téllez via Flickr

Like many of you I’ve spent the last couple of days focused on the unfolding tragic events in both New Zealand and Libya. Significantly different events…one inflicted upon the unfortunate people of Christchurch by nature…the other by a deranged leader, willing it seems to pour more pain upon his suffering people.

I went to bed last night and my dreams were filled with horrific moments…images of floods, earthquakes, cyclones & terrified people…obviously affected by this ‘summer of disasters & upheaval’ – remembering of course it is winter for those in the northern hemisphere.  

One can only  imagine tho what must be going on in the minds of the survivors of the earthquake…many having experienced a similar event only a few months ago, their rebuilt city & residences now partially or fully crumbled around them. A horror indeed.

Yet, from this scene of horror we are already seeing emerge the best of humanity. Positive & motivating scenes of the traumatised immediately putting aside their fears and working together to lift blocks of concrete and other rubble off those who have been crushed or trapped in order to save any life they can.

Regardless of the threat of aftershocks and falling masonry & glass, these courageous individuals work collectively to free their fellow men & women. Joined, and eventually replaced, by brave professional rescue teams, they didn’t discriminate…they didn’t hesitate in their efforts to stupidly ask the race, religion, sexual orientation, political leanings of those laying beneath the debris…they just did what most rational, sane humans do…help anyone in distress.

As I was glued to the TV screen, those scenes of carnage, I could not help but remember the recent dreadful conflict zone images…the Twin Towers of NY…The Pentagon…the Bali bombings…the Iraq War…the bombing of Lebanon…destroyed Afghani buildings & homes.

Chaos & distress caused by the deranged. Terrorists from various nations & religions who use  (mythical?) gods & prophets to justify their insane lust for power…their profiteering pre-emptive strikes…their mad obsession with revenge…and hate & fear for others.

Now we see the determined & long-suffering Libyans putting aside their fear in order to stand up to another deranged tyrant. Yes, Gaddafi, like many a loopy leader, will leave devastation in his wake as he  desperately attempts to hold onto the last remnants of power, struggles to survive…not unlike the bubonic plague……but there is a remedy to such plagues…courage & rational thinking…planning collectively & using knowledge, experience & technology to resist and cure such maladies.

We will never completely wipe out such human diseases…the rise of tyrants…but we can put in place political, economic and communication systems & networks to ensure the outbreaks lessen…and the deranged do far less damage than in previous times.

Participatory democracies and a wide variety of globally interconnected networks that transmit & receive information are essential safeguards – the latter played a significant role in the generally peaceful Egyptian uprising…whereas, the Libyan authorities have disgracefully attempted to ban any communication with the outside world…the mark of a deranged oppressor…given time and more support from the military we can imagine Egypt’s Mubarak would’ve taken similar draconian measures.

As I watch the New Zealand disaster unfold I can’t help but wonder why anyone would want to inflict such damage on other people, animals, infrastructure, towns, cities, nations…is it not enough that volatile nature wreaks havoc…creates so much damage & chaos?…without some of our political & corporate & military leaders emulating it?

And those who throw peaceful diplomatic efforts aside in order to drink from the vile tasting Well of Hate.

Observing yesterday and today the rise of hope & collective courage in both the streets of Christchurch & Tripoli…I couldn’t help but notice that some across our, too oft stifled, media landscape were far more consumed by sowing the seeds of hate…acting deranged…than providing  useful information.

Fox News host Glenn Beck raved & ranted at the camera his outrage…like some desperate creature from a crushed army of Mordor he urged his confused viewers to wake up to the growing Muslim “caliphate”…to recognise “the fist”…the connection between top union leaders supposedly in constant contact with & influencing Obama’s White House…and said socialist-assisted “caliphate”. This is kooky stuff for a mainstream cable TV host.

Beck even clumsily tried to connect the valid teacher union protest movements in Wisconsin & Ohio as part of his latest New World Order conspiracy (Beck is not known for his originality…more his bizarre attitude & thinking…and inconsistency & hypocrisy as a servant for Murdoch).

Paranoid delusions on Beck’s part?…or profiteering opportunism & fear-mongering of the worst kind? Either way…deranged. At a time when many are suffering from natural disasters, conflicts, lack of work & healthcare…and require rational thinking from leaders of all kinds, including the influential in our media…they need unity of purpose…and compassion.  

Instead, we get from some grotesque divide & conquer tactics…to benefit the self…and the few…rather than working together to help create “a fair-go-for-all” in these dire times.

But that’s Fox News. Political opportunism, finger-pointing & profiteering before public interest.

Sadly, here in Australia, we have similarly deranged characters who try to project their hate & fear onto others…whilst profiting grandly from their distasteful efforts.

This from ABC’s enlightening & informative Media Watch:

JONATHAN HOLMES: Radio 2UE in recent years has tried to steer a middle path. But in ratings terms, it wasn’t working.

So its owners, Fairfax Media, have appointed a program director who used to do the job for 2GB. And he seems to have brought its programming philosophy with him.

Speaking at the launch to the media website mUmBRELLA, Peter Brennan was anything but complimentary about his predecessors at 2UE

PETER BRENNAN: I think in the past by and large that it’s essentially been, you know, the fish stinks from the head. I think it’s been…I think it suffered from poor management

— mUmBRELLA web video, 2UE Launch, 3rd February, 2011

HOLMES: A fish stinks from the head. So if you think that there’s a smelly subtext to remarks like this…

DAVID OLDFIELD: I’m not here to make chums in the media, or amongst politicians either, I’m here to do my bit, however small, to make our nation ours. That’s right – that it remains ours. The nation I want it to be – for my children. Indeed, the Australia my father would have wanted it to be for his grandchildren.

— Radio 2UE, Mornings with David Oldfield, 17th February, 2011

HOLMES: …then don’t blame David Oldfield. He hasn’t changed his spots. As Peter Brennan puts it:

PETER BRENNAN: David is uh is uh much maligned by many many people because he’s honest. He’s genuine. He believes in what he says. And he believes in Australia.

— mUmBRELLA web video, 3rd February, 2011

HOMES: Course he does. A monocultural Australia. ‘One nation’, you might call it.

And Fairfax Media believes that Morrison and Oldfield can help them outdo 2GB in appealing to the resentments and frustrations of people like David Oldfield’s dad. As General Manager Tim McDermott put it at the launch:

TIM McDERMOTT: We think that within the next couple of years there’s a changing of the guard in talkback radio in Sydney and that’s obvious, there’s a few people who are getting to the end of their radio careers, we want to be ready, and that’s what this is about, generational change.

— mUmBRELLA web video, 3rd February, 2011

HOLMES: In other words, Alan Jones and even Ray Hadley won’t last forever. And when they go, we want Morrison and Oldfield to be able to grab their audience.

But outflanking 2GB on issues like this won’t be easy. On the day before the funerals, 2GB afternoon host Chris Smith ran a little quiz, with prizes, for his listeners. They had to tell him…

CHRIS SMITH: How many asylum seekers killed in the December tragedy will be buried in Sydney this week? Jason, good afternoon.

Jason: G’day mate, was it nine?

Chris Smith: It was not. Geoff.

Geoff: 30

Chris Smith: No….David?

David: 16?

Chris Smith: No. Valerie?

Valerie: 12

Chris Smith: TWELVE IS SPOT ON, VALERIE!! You’ve got Rick Stein’s DVD, you’ve got movie passes to True Grit and the book from Kim Scott. Well done to you!

Valerie: Fantastic, thank you very much.

— Radio 2GB, The Chris Smith Afternoon Show, 14th February, 2011

HOLMES: ‘Fantastic’ is one word. ‘Revolting’ might be another.

 

Agree…over to you.

N’

14 comments on “The Courageous, The Compassionate & The Deranged

  1. Useful piece by Guy Rundle @ Crikey:

    The Right’s gradual and encroaching silence about the Arab uprisings is a wonder to behold. On National Review, the US conservative website, which ran wall-to-wall coverage of the Iranian protests in 2009, and berated the left for not praising the brave Iranians, there is barely a word — just as there has been barely a word on Bahrain. In The Spectator, Melanie Phillips focused on the attack on US reporter Lara Logan, taking her attackers to be representative of the whole crowd — and not the women protesters and soldiers who rescued Logan. In Oz, the Bolter has a straight news rundown on his blog, and manages to use the Libyan thing to attack … the United Nations. Nothing at all on Quadrant. The News Ltd Blogger Who Cannot Be Named because S/he Will Sue (TNLBWCBNBS/HWS) confines self to a side issue. And at the Oz, a contribution from the opinion page is confined to … Strewth.

    Why such reticence? The bravery of the Libyans is immense, inspiring. And they appear to be winning against a heavily armed regime whose fearsome power is crumbling …

    Ah, of course. It is precisely because the Libyan uprising has occurred at all that it makes so little appearance on right-wing radar. For it kicks away another prop from the neocon argument about the Iraq invasion, and intervention more generally — that some regimes are so heavily armed that a people’s liberation must be done on their behalf. This was fall-back position No.2 in the war, as I recall, after the WMDs thing.

    More here:

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/02/22/rundle-libya-libya-libya-oh-shut-up/

    N’

  2. Nasking, I have had the displeasure of having to endure Oldfield one night dining with friends in Canberra whilst he was still Abbott’s boy, it was hard to refrain from punching that racist f%^k in the face.

  3. Insightful post from Ad Astra @ The Political Sword:

    The ugliness of political opportunism

    http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

    So if Abbott had stuck to showing solidarity with those affected by the floods we would have clapped our hands. If he had waited until the crisis was under control to voice his thoughts about the value of dams in flood mitigation, it would likely have been seen as a helpful addition to this vexed debate. It was his penchant for trying to opportunistically turn every event, no matter how devastating, no matter how contemporaneous, immediately to his political advantage, that was reprehensible.

    N’

  4. “I have had the displeasure of having to endure Oldfield one night dining with friends in Canberra whilst he was still Abbott’s boy,”

    Augustus,
    Abbott has certainly had some interesting allies over the years.

    I see the ‘ugly Australian’ beneath his skin…he clenches his jaw to keep it under control…but it bursts forth now & then for politically opportunistic reasons. Lust for power. Fear of the other.

    His ‘old guard’ style of leadership will be a disaster for the Coalition.

    New winds. Fresh air.

    N’

  5. Brilliant piece Nas’..straight from the heart.

    These words from Guy Rundle’s piece caught my eye..

    It is precisely because the Libyan uprising has occurred at all that it makes so little appearance on right-wing radar. For it kicks away another prop from the neocon argument about the Iraq invasion, and intervention more generally — that some regimes are so heavily armed that a people’s liberation must be done on their behalf. This was fall-back position No.2 in the war, as I recall, after the WMDs thing. For a giddy while there in 2003-4, the debate was mainly around who we’d invade next — Zimbabwe? North Korea, with nukes (Johann Hari’s choice)? Eventually we settled on the Northern Territory.

    Precisely. The US illusion that they ‘own’ democracy.. that anything other than the US version and only obtained the great American way is bound to be inferior. The Superman Syndrome?

  6. Looks like Gadaffy ducks days are numbered, this from the ABC world news

    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2011/s3146582.htm

    “This is Libya’s interior minister, Abdul Fattah Younes

    ABDUL FATAH YOUNIS (translated voiceover): I, General Minister Abdel Fattah Younes al Abidi, have resigned all my posts in response to the revolution of February 17th in my total conviction and firm belief that it is faithful and legitimate demands.

    I urge all the armed forces to be at the service of the people of the revolution of February 17th to help them achieve victory.”

    I think that if Bush and the coalition of the wanking did not invade Iraq, these revolutions revolution would have happened sooner at the peoples request.

  7. “The US illusion that they ‘own’ democracy.. that anything other than the US version and only obtained the great American way is bound to be inferior. The Superman Syndrome?”

    Cheers Min.
    Fortunately there are many rational Americans who know better…and their numbers, as Progressives, are growing of late.

    The Tea Party movement is a confused & oft brainwashed one…but I feel only a temporary one that is being used by profiteers to retain their privileges.

    They will be thrown to the wolves by the corporate Republicans the way the evangelicals have been in the past by both Reagan & GW Bush administrations. For now they are useful to perpetuate the great con on the American people.

    Hopefully soon, as their teacher & other public service family & friends are bullied & threatened, many Tea Party supporters will see how they’ve been used & abused by the likes of the Koch brothers, the Murdoch empire, oil barons & many others who hide behind them to attack environmentalists & workers & unions & the Democratic party…and anyone else who exposes the crimes & corruption & deranged ‘greed for gain’ mentality of these privileged war-mongers, Earth rapers & worker exploiters.

    I’m confident the more rational & compassionate Americans will once again see thru the fog…and help bring this world a brighter day.

    N’

  8. “Looks like Gadaffy ducks days are numbered, this from the ABC world news”

    Augustus,
    positive news…one more nail in this despot’s coffin.

    Frankly, if Gaddafi completely loses the plot & we learn he plans to use his airforce & military to bombard Eastern Libya…including the use of chemical weapons…I reckon that NATO should do a few HUSH HUSH missions and take out the jets whilst still on the ground…and hit his headquarters.

    He’s like Hitler in his bunker.

    Hopefully it won’t come to that. A semi-peaceful resolution is preferred…such as creating a NO FLY ZONE…and embargoes…but we can’t afford to let him crush his people again.

    This is one reason I despise GW Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld so much. Their fcked planning & implementation of the Iraq invasion has caused so many problems regarding perception when it comes to helping out the people in suffering nations…and has been used by tyrants to solidify their own positions by way of propaganda and recruitment.

    GW Bush’s admin must be condemned for undermining future essential freedom-enhancing, people protecting activities.

    They same goes for Israel and its recent bombing of Lebanon. Fiascos that needn’t of happened.

    N’

  9. Great post Nas’. I’m surprised Smuggles hasn’t been in Christchurch making sure they don’t waste any money on the rescue and rebuild effort.

    Augustus, Coalition of the Wanking-love it and am so envious I never thought of it!

  10. Great post Nas’. I’m surprised Smuggles hasn’t been in Christchurch making sure they don’t waste any money on the rescue and rebuild effort.

    Love it.

    If the NZ Government doesn’t introduce an earthquake levy old Tones will be comparing them with our government. It would be an opportunity he’d hate to miss.

  11. Cheers jane…& Migs. Great to see ya back. Hope the rest of the trip went well.

    “I’m surprised Smuggles hasn’t been in Christchurch making sure they don’t waste any money on the rescue and rebuild effort.”

    LOL jane. I’m shocked he didn’t visit the fallen Christchurch cathedral spire and say on camera to the Very Reverend Peter Beck:

    “Shit happens!”.

    N’

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