Communications, or lack thereof, have been causing a certain amount of teeth gnashing the last few weeks. I have been sitting on a hill overlooking Christiansted, in the USVI, without Internet and rare access to television. My main news source, when I descended to the Boardwalk, was the St Croix Avis – a daily paper of impressively broad news and a great deal more about international events than many local papers on the mainland. But for a news junkie the last few weeks have been somewhat arid.
Then sitting in Miami airport waiting for a flight to Houston, with Marley my cat at my feet and a glass of wine at my hand, seeing the television crawler spewing forth one disaster after another, I was bombarded with tragedy after tragedy.
MAS, an airline I have flown with many times with great pleasure, is once again reeling from the death of a plane full of passengers and crew. The oilfield, on which I have been on the periphery for many years, is dominant in both The Netherlands and Malaysia and so my heart flipped when I saw their current nightmare.
Like everyone, my immediate response is revulsion for the people responsible for the awfulness unfolding around the world, followed by relief that my loved ones and friends are safe. The man responsible for my nomadic life crosses the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans like most of us drive to the supermarket; West Africa, Asia, Israel are all in his itinerary and so as the uncertainty circling the globe flashed from the television above the bar at Terminal 4 in Miami Airport, my wine curdled in my stomach. No one is exempt it seems from the randomness of the violence.
Radicals all over the world, whatever their religious beliefs, appear to be hell bent on destabilising not just everyone else’s world but their own too. The edict from ISIS that female genital mutilation, an archaic, cruel and debilitating practice, is to be inflicted on their girls and women aged between 11 and 46, sends judders through those attempting to better the prospects for women worldwide. How can the risk of possibly ruining a daughter’s life, not just her sex life, ever be a good move? One wonders where, in good American parlance, their heads are at!
The kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls – what torments and degradation are they being put through? Today, news the wife of the vice prime minister of Cameroon has been abducted, along with others, by Boko Haram. Retaliation apparently for the Cameroonian government’s increasing condemnation of the terrorist group.
Gaza, Israel, Afghanistan, Libya – all besieged by military madness. Shootings continuing unabated in the US: gun control still a dirty topic to vast swathes of the country determined not to relinquish an iota of ground to reasonable and sensible discussion.
Where has our humanity gone? Are we becoming inured to the ghastliness we humans inflict on each other?
Now back in the fourth largest city in the United States, I wonder whether I mightn’t be better off heading back to the islands, where news only filters through to me occasionally. Maybe I’d be happier with my head in the sand. After all that seems to be where so many of our world leaders have stuck theirs; few willing to rock the proverbial boat, all in the name of votes.
It’s most definitely not good news week; someone’s dropping a bomb somewhere.