Most of the time I try and remain positive about humanity and where the future is going etc... I know that the world is actually becoming less and less violent and prejudice but that that is not a straight forward progression and slips back and forth but there is a positive trend there.
I know the dangers inherent in our advances in science and technology but see the good out way the bad on a daily basis. And then I get days like today. I was going to be researching Mongolian archery in the 11th century but I saw the news and there were the bodies of kids on a beach in Gaza for no reason than ideaology and then another plan down over the Ukraine/Russian area. This time the plane was carrying over 100 researchers and workers in the field of HIV and AIDS research and prevention. They were all on their way to a conference in Australia.
And this rips my heart out.
First off it doesn't make the plane crash worse - if it had been a bunch of 'ordinary' people who died on the plan then it would still have been horrendous it would still have been 100's of minds lost, hundreds of families and co-workers moarning. It does however give it more of an impact on a global scale, that is a lot of researchers lost in one field and there is no way it will not impact the science and rate of break threws and how quickly the medical care will get to the people who need it.
AIDS is still a global epidemic and still impacts ALOT of people. I have friends who are only alive now due to break threws in this field but also it isn't just this field. Most academics I know have been on plans full of people going to the same conferences, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.
Politicians and business people do not travel like this, for this exact reason but budgets mean that scientists are all likely to be in the cheap seats on one plan - all together.
Worse though is that this is not an accident, even if it is mistaken identity it was still an active act, one human against another - BAM! Lives gone and lost.
Because... War... like the kids on the beach, like those sitting in camps within Australia and places themselves... because one lot of people fail to see the value in the other peoples lives. BAM BAM BAM.
Because land and food and wealth are seen as limited resources or faith renders them OTHER. But solutions are on hand to solve the food problems and humanity as a whole out grew this world at the end of the last century. Most of the time this is a mirage - there are enough resources its just even one is so scared of sharing. Add in expansionist regimes and the fall out of them collapsing and you have rebellions and separatists and counter rebellions. And at some point it stops being a fight for freedom and ends up with dead kids.
Of course to make things more depressingly complicated sometimes it is those in charge killing the kids or both sides of a skirmish have innocent blood on their hands and heros who saved foe and friend alike.
In war there are no winners same as the torturer gets post trumatic stress in a similar way to the tortured. And sometimes you do have to fight even knowing this but never should it be a light decision.
And how soon we forget the victims - remember the kids shot by a religous and political loon a few years ago? No you'd all forgotten. Because there is a continual feed of it all, drip drip drip, war, death, power play.
The plane crash itself was initially reported as part of the larger power games and those lost upon it were hardly mentioned at all.
Of course social media stepped up with the continual 'but that isn't as bad as this or that and my cause is being ignored and things are far worse here...' etc.... and yes that is no doubt true but it doesn't take the tragidy and pain away from those families.
But then the media and people in general do have a blinkered view and I am continually amazed that people don't know of the suffering that surrounds them in this world or even in their own country. Blinkered we are and suffering is ignored on a daily basis like the Congo and I have no solutions, no ideas or powers to sort any of this out.
I have kind of given up - I can not save the world, for a while I couldn't look after myself nor my family but when I can I help those I see who need help. Most of the time that is people around me or in extended friendship groups but it is something and it is what I have to give.
I sometimes hope that I am changing the world through my art and writing but know that I really am not. Perhaps I could have helped more as a scientist but that is no longer really me. So I do what I can. I don't think I can do much for those affected by today news.
Sometimes I write flash fictions about victims, sometimes I give happy endings or just voices to those who don't have them - it is probably a waste of time possibly even something considered bad taste - I don't know.
The thing that really gets to me though is that people watch this stuff on telly and they seem to not actually absorb it, not see it as different to the programme that was chopped in half to bring them the news. Grizzly pictures abound on my facebook but it's all 'this made me feel sick and I can't believe this!' no action no love, just a recycling of news to get the biggest NOW effect.
You still meet people who think the worst atrocity was the Twin Towers. It was an atrocity and one where the victims should be recalled and remembered like all those others that have happened globally. It was the worst for those who's city it was, for the families effected possibly even for the country it was in but IT WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE.
Violence is very cyclic and we are all capable of it, we respond and adapt.
But throughout all our history war and murder and abuse and violence and oppression have not even been the main thing that kills us. Humans kill humans often with war machines and other such trappings of our intelligence I wish we could turn the ingenuity of war into the fight for our lives for our survival against disease. Flu killed more people in the outbreak between the two world wars than those who died combined in the two wards and that is the case even taking the upper estimates for the camps.
And plague outbreaks of the past are pretty dam scary, ebola is scary, AIDS is scary... oh yeah look the people fighting to save our lives globally have lost theirs due to war. Because... WAR, like the kids on the beach and families in the camps and women in the Congo, because.... because... because... ?
I didn't really have a point with this, just that sometimes I find it all depressing.
Our existence as a species is precarious, life in the solar system is precarious, all of it is fragile, why destroy rather than making us more robust?
Disease kills us accidently. War does not.