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Commentary Last Updated: Jun 4th, 2008 - 01:12:38

Reality check
By Pablo Ouziel
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 4, 2008, 00:14

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Sentiments and opinions vary from person to person, city to city and country to country, so one cannot attempt to frame the issue of collective responsibility or awareness towards current affairs, without acknowledging first, that any assumptions or conclusions made cannot in anyway capture the sentiment of every individual in the vast world in which we cohabit. Therefore without assuming that I know what you think, I can however share with you what I am seeing, with the personal hope that we will all wake up to the folly which through our collective collaboration, we are allowing our governments, banks, corporations and the military to perpetrate.

Sooner rather than later, we must all take a deep look into ourselves, evaluate those values which were indoctrinated into us from very early age, through our faiths, religions, education and social interaction. Then, we must confront our social reality and evaluate individually if our beliefs are parallel to our reality. One cannot in any way pretend to be an old-fashioned moralist, for that would be counterproductive to collective objectives. The only thing one can do is to write as a human being concerned about our present and our future, in an attempt to find those out there who share similar concerns and are willing to do something about it.

I am perplexed at the direction which we have unanimously accepted as the only way forward. As we debate in our streets the need for peace, and a healthy environment, we see daily our governments and corporations pushing forth a rhetoric of �justified� aggression, and we watch with arms crossed, our corporations destroying the remains of our environmental heritage without a strong enough collective of concerned citizens saying stop. Are we too cowardly? Are our arms tied? Are we so adamant in our belief of capitalism as a safe model of coexistence that we do not feel we have a right to claim the preservation of our environment and everyone�s human rights?

These are just a few questions that one can raise when simply observing human interaction; the list could fill a whole book. However, what matters here is not so much the issues that are streamed into our lives through the effective communicative work of the mass media in all forms and with varied of objectives, what truly matters is the stance that we take individually, and hopefully united, against the adversity that an accumulation of destructive policies and actions are brewing in our environment. Of course, that is a hard position to take when as a collective of people we have lost all interest in the major causes bringing about the destruction of our planet. Political systems with corrupt foundations, outrageous disparity between the wealthy and the poor, and a military establishment which everyday gains more power to destroy and kill.

Looking at the events unravelling around us -- world economies coming to a standstill with millions expected to lose their homes across continents, the clear misery of millions of people finding themselves involved in current �theatre wars,� the cries of millions of people going hungry as speculators recover the losses of the last financial bubble by speculating in food and oil, and the increased monitoring and surveillance which we are enduring in order to feel safe -- it seems like a good time to sit, reflect and question the direction humanity is taking, and more importantly ask ourselves whose interests it all serves.

If we ask ourselves that question, and we opt to unite with our neighbours to do something about it, then our world can look very different. Let us stand together, let us reject political systems in which only those with corporate and media support are able to become presidents, let us force our militaries to disarm and make their bases into museums of the folly which humanity until the early stages of the 21st century was unable to eliminate. Let us work together to make sure that we do not lose our homes, and our neighbours don�t lose their homes. Let us not accept the idea that saving banks is the way to save our standards of living, let us use taxpayer dollars to save individuals with names and histories, not corporations whose only history is one of accumulation of wealth while others were and are starving.

We can accept capitalism and political corruption as the established way forward, and through it try to solve the issues confronting society, in hope that the next president will will work for the benefit of the whole of humanity, rather than just his corporate backers. Or we can outright denounce the very structure of the political system. We can continue supporting the militarization of the whole world, with the obvious increase in conflicts which this path entails, or we can collectively demand disarmament. Something Einstein was conscious enough to suggest four days before his death.

At the end of the day, everyone is free to reject what I am saying or to classify it in their brain as something utopian or na�ve, but one must be honest with oneself and at least acknowledge that as a collective we do not seem to be on the path to world peace, a healthy environment, and democratic freedom. In fact, for those who felt democracy was the norm, dictatorships and police states can be observed on the horizon, our environment suffers more every day, and wars are increasing in number and in destruction capacity.

Granted Bush should be tried for crimes against humanity, but we also must question whether we might also individually be morally guilty of crimes against humanity for our silence, our indifference and our acceptance of the current state of the world.

Pablo Ouziel is a sociologist and freelance writer.

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