i recieved this email from an unknown, almost anonymous sender. i postponed reading it for over a month, till just now. somehow, i wish i hadn't.
we have been called to arms before. we have ignored the call before. i wonder if this one will work - and i sure hope it does.
read on, even if it's a little too long for the time you can spare, because it's only one world we've got:
'The assassination of Allende quickly covered over the memory of the Russian invasion of Bohemia, the bloody massacre in Bangladesh caused Allende to be forgotten, the din of war in Sinai desert drowned out the groans of Bangladesh, the massacres in Cambodia caused the Sinai to be forgotten, and so on, and on and on, until everyone has completely forgotten everything.' - Kundera in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
I don't quote this for the facts. I don't know about Allende, nor a thing about Sinai desert.
The point then? Kundera's is not unclear, i think i understand him. It's about history and forgetting; actually, about our tendency to forget in the context of history with all its crucial and substantial episodes and, the reason for it. But really, you don't have to look too closely to notice that because of close association, it can easily apply to misery and the human condition in general. No, life's not bad, it isn't bad at all. But think objectively for only half a minute if you can, and you will see that life - as the total universal existence, i don't just mean yours - doesn't have to be bad, but to believe that it isn't requires you to block out many (countless, if you are careful in your thinking and meticulous in your remembering) things you might have witnessed or may be just heard or read.
Our race is not new, nor is grief. Both are thriving, each feeding on the other. So we gradually learnt a few things to save ourselves. And now we inherit a default indiscriminate indifference - a consequence of desensitisation and collective mental overload of sorrow and injustice. We have also, in most places, lost the community feeling, so our circle of concern is smaller still. Now for us to do anything about it, sorrow must be personal, poverty and deprivation must be immediate and unbearable, suffering must be colossal and death, our own.
This has got to change.
It is not impossible to believe that the answer is blowing in the free and very accessible wind; but i'm afraid the wind is too thick with the dust, the ashes of our virtues and the ghosts of all the wrongs we did nothing about. And now it wouldn't come to us without any effort.
How to put together a community again? i don't really know, so just go out and behave as if it already exists and it will build itself up. There are always children going hungry, dogs being run over by cars, women living in oppression because they've forgotten to live without, kids dropping out of school and getting into drugs; and there is always something you can do about it. So if you have any ideas, anything you want to do about any of such wrongs that concern you or have moved you most, especially if you need some assistance or support or information, write back. I am not an organisation, nor associated with one, but i may be able to direct you to someone who might help.
And if you still don't want to do a thing to change things, is absolutely alright. You have your reasons and freedom and your choices to make and your own struggles. But do please at least let us, who will, change it for you. Pass this on. This cannot reach everyone, there are millions who can not read, then those who can read but will probably never receive this and then of course those who get it but just wouldn't read it. For them and to them, TALK. You can't tell me there are things you don't discuss anymore because everyone knows about them, and what ever came of a discussion anyway? Just by talking about something, you consciously acknowledged the reality of it, and once that is done you will automatically have more ideas about how to beat it. And that's a good start, isn't it? I have a feeling that could start something. So, yes, talk.
And i don't promise a thing: no hope of fulfilled wishes, nor blessings at doing what i request. I don't even promise a better world; may be by the time the whole thing is in place and easily recognizable in its perfection, you and i will be long dead. But pass it on because you must at least do this bit, or get creative and find your own reason. Or do it just how i'm writing this: as a reminder, for the small possibility of bringing about a much needed change, and shaking millions, even if slowly, out of their stupor. Or then do it just-like-that, just how we like to live sometimes, without thinking and, without too much effort. But do pass it on. And do think.
And *DO* something.
Please write back if you like. And if you don't wish to ever receive another message from this id, send a blank mail with 'no' in the subject line.
ps: please do not misunderstand my intention. i am well aware of the fact that an e-mail never changed the world. this wouldn't either. it is what you do that will. in small ways or big, i do not care.