Friday, June 25, 2010

A World of Walls

My head is spinning. The amount of evidence pointing to the com-plete discombobulation of the world that one receives from just an hour of TV is overwhelming.

Today, I was fresh from the viewing, last night, of the new documentary Gasland, by Josh Fox, whose family is offered $100,000 for the gas rights under their Pennsylvania portion of the Marsellus Shale. This is a must-see film that reveals a continent-wide landscape studded by hydraulic fracturing towers for the extraction of liquid gas, a sight which is disturbingly similar to the thousands of drilling rigs studding the Gulf of Mexico.

Realizing how much is being put over on us, on land and on sea, I turn on CNN to learn that the day’s subject of burning (sic) concern is the first anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson. The networks continue to ignore the 15,000 people gathered since yesterday for the second US Social Forum in Detroit, emblem of industrial decline and the citizen-propelled sustainable renewal who are trying to show that “Another World is Possible, Another US is Necessary”.

At noon, tuning in to Democracy Now on the Drexel University channel (which has recently taken to loping off not the last five minutes, but the last ten or twelve minutes of the hour-long show), I’m just in time to hear Amy Goodman describe the unprecedented security walls erected in Toronto for the meetings of the G8 and the G20. Last night the BBC gave only a passing mention to the automobile stuffed to the gills with arms and gasoline that was stopped, quoting the police that there was no evidence that this vehicle, whose closed roof rack was also stuffed with arms, had any link to terrorism.

Today on the Toronto river bank, a police vehicle drew up as a Montreal-based political activist was telling Amy Goodman that the police sought information about him even from artist friends, and just as I was picturing in my mind’s eye a medieval walled castle, the young man said: “We’re living in a world of walls, the Berlin Wall, the Mexican border wall, the Israeli wall, etc.” And I thought: ‘We haven’t made much progress since the Middle Ages.’

In those days walls were to keep out rudimentarily-armed soldiers, while today walls are to keep in - or out - unarmed civilians. And our media walls are keeping other, unarmed civilians from knowing about the concrete and barbed wire walls governments increasingly use to keep us in line.

As our corporate leaders mindlessly scrounge for the last vestiges of fuel for economies devoted to the consumption of largely unneces-sary products, imperiling water supplies and arable land, people across the globe are banding together (as in primitive times?), determined to wrest control of their lives from the techno-monster, that rules us, creating community vegetable gardens on Detroit’s abandoned lots, housing communities in its abandoned factories, meaningful lives for the handicapped, and a host of other bottom-up initiatives that the G8 and the G20 try to pretend are irrelevant.

To remain sane, the rest of us have to tell ourselves that thanks to our combined efforts, like the kings and counts of yore, our robber barons will some day become irrelevant.

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