Summer of our discontent
No easy-living for us this summer! This is the longest, hottest, dreariest summer, and it is not half gone yet. Destiny has handed us a heartless, hefty plate, tasteless and indigestible; and yet digest it we must. Our order for liberty, equality and democracy has been ignored. Instead we have been handed lawlessness and pandemonium, dog days of utter confusion and mobocracy. Chaos has gained the upper hand and we are to do its bidding,
Where are those blissful summer days of old when we whiled away our long sunny days, languid and lazy, as we anticipated the cool summer breezes, so soothing and so exhilarating. Has turbulent winter scoffed at the coming of summer, and hangs on defiantly, with its cruel storms and icy winds? Why this unrest, outrage, malaise and discontent? Is this my town? Are those my people? If not, who are they and where am I?
Whatever happened to the Arab spring? I take no comfort gazing at neighbouring skies. Civil war rages on in Libya, painting the desert sands with the blood of the innocents. The price of freedom, that rarest of commodities, keeps rising beyond reach, just as the price of rice and sugar. There is no solace in the Syrian stalemate. When the government turns on its people for seeking liberty, it stifles the very air we breathe. With the fury of a threatened step-mother, the Syrian officials have killed their brethren, mercilessly, brutally. Up and down the Arab world, lives are served in a ragout of courage and gallantries, and yet the palate remains unsatisfied. The only reprieve may be an intermezzo to this painful Arab drama, but where do we find it.
Despite our grief for hopes dashed and lives lost, we long for the mollifying melodies of peace and tranquility, which might remedy our broken hearts from this muddled, Middle-Eastern malady.
In the distant, northernmost cities of the hemisphere, reason and civility rule. There, in the land of the midnight sun, the fleeting summer is dearly cherished. In the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, surely we too can find peace and comfort. But this summer, peace has taken flight everywhere. In the island of Utoya, this idyllic, heavenly spot, bodies of the young were dropping like flies, assaulted by the stray bullets of a mad man. Almost 100 happy campers lost their lives, needlessly, senselessly. Is it a member of Al-Qaeda or some other terrorist group, come all the way to this peaceful haven to create havoc and mayhem? Oh no! It is a decent-looking blond, blue-eyed, native boy-next-door type; in fact it is a Norwegian policeman. It is a homegrown assassin, by the name of Andres Behring-Brevik, a sick mind, a tormented soul, who spent years planning this carnage. His aim: the expulsion of Muslims from his society. Innocence has been lost, in this once immaculate, unsullied corner of the earth. The Norwegian Prime Minister said it best: "Paradise has been turned to Hell".
Will we find respite in the United Nations intention to declare sovereignty to a Palestinian state? Since its inception, the UN has been embroiled in the Israeli/ Palestinian stalemate. We may have stopped counting the lives lost at the hands of this injustice, but their blood will forever stain the hands and the conscience of all who voted to deny this persecuted people their birthright and their human dignity.
Still reeling from the phone-hacking newspaper scandal, Britain now mourns the death of their talented singer Amy Winehouse, dead at 27, a victim to abuse of drugs and alcohol, the malady de jour.
Greece, that cradle of European enlightenment, seat of the earliest democracy, is hurting from that gushing wound caused by its financial woes, with no end in sight. Its neighbours are fearful of a similar fate. Where can we see bright smiles and happy faces, where can we hear that lilting sound of human laughter?
Surely the untouched, unspoiled heart of the Dark Continent, remains pristine and pure. Surely its crisp, clear beauty will fill the heart with joy and serenity. The celebration of the birth of a new African country, Southern Sudan has been tainted by the cries of hunger from neighbouring Somalia . A two-year drought has caused a furious famine in the Horn of Africa.
It is the forgotten continent, the forgotten race, and help has been," derisory and dangerously inadequate". The Somali population is in crisis, and agencies ready to help, find it difficult to access needy communities. The situation is as pitiful in Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia. Starving children, hanging on to their mothers' who walk for days in the sweltering heat In search of sustenance, often die on their mothers' shoulders, before help is found. Who can look forward to another day, on hearing that?
Famine remains a chronic threat, and so does every form of terrorism. A big water shortage is expected sooner than we think in China and India, followed by Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Mexico and Pakistan. Food resources are being exhausted, Internal struggles and economic failures affect tens of millions. Even an unusual summer heat wave has scorched half of the US killing 20 people so far. What is our world coming to?
The Norwegian Prime Minister said it best: Our Paradise has been turned to hell. Is this the summer of a Paradise Lost?
My grief lies onward and my joy behind
-- William Shakespeare (1564-1616)