- Written by Garry
- Created: 29 April 2015
It’s been a pretty rough week.
An earthquake in Nepal has killed thousands of people. Some estimates expect the death toll to be over 10,000. In Baltimore in the US, there has been rioting in the streets following a protest coinciding with the funeral of a young African-American who passed away in police custody. And this morning Australia woke to the news that Indonesia had enacted the death sentences of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan overnight. Whatever our opinions on the justice or otherwise of their sentence for drug smuggling, the lack of mercy on the part of the Indonesian criminal justice system, and ultimately on the part of their President Joko Widodo has left many Australians with a chill, if not a bad feeling in the pit of their stomachs.
There’s a lot to be angry about. It seems everywhere we look people are angry about injustice while governments seem utterly incapable of providing any sense of reassurance, justice or even understanding. Last week I was attacked by my own friends for a link I posted to my Facebook wall. Okay, it’s not a death sentence or a death in custody, and in the broad scheme of things no-one, including me, really cares about that one. But there are sure are a lot of angry people out there.
It doesn’t go away either. People get very angry when loved ones die because of involvement with illicit drugs. So we come down hard on the drug trade, which make sense. Then people start applying death sentences, and we get angry about that too. And fair enough. People really should get angry when there’s such obvious perversion of justice with racist overtones as we’ve seen repeatedly in the US this year. At the same time, it seems pretty natural to get angry when people throw an anarchistic riot on the streets in response. What does that achieve? Is there any way out of the whole self-destructive tailspin?
To be honest the ones who really have a something to be angry about are the Nepalese. Thousands are dead, and it’s really no-one’s fault. Certainly not theirs. Whose streets do they riot on? Who do they get to kill in retribution?
Is there a better way to respond to injustice? Surely it’s right to get angry when the innocent suffer, when justice is confounded and mercy is sneered at. But what do we do with that anger? Do we start breaking things in public places? Do we take revenge? That doesn’t really seem to help, but if the alternative is a toothless theoretical boycott or just an emotively worded hashtag trend it’s hard to figure out which one is less effective. It’s all very well to type #IStandForMercy, but if you’d happily wipe ISIS off the face of the planet if you could, or even if you’re just sitting down doing bugger all while you type it, you’re lying. I commend your versatility in sitting, standing and lying simultaneously, but aside from that, is a 140 character declaration of outrage really of any consequence to anything anywhere? At least the rioters in Baltimore are doing something, albeit something needlessly destructive and counterproductive. The anger has to go somewhere.
I suppose ideally it should be dissolved in forgiveness, but that’s a pretty tall order when the injustice is rolling on and the death toll is rising. I suppose we could yell at the government about it. Alternatively we could yell at a eucalyptus tree and have a competition to see which was less effective.
I’ve been angry for about six months now. No, there’s nothing in my life that’s really worth yelling about on the same scale as a death sentence or a race riot. On a global scale, my life is pretty fantastic, although the first person to mention the word “privilege” is going to cop an outburst the likes of which not even this highly self-absorbed blog post could forestall.
I’m angry because there’s no justice. There’s no justice for me. There’s none for refugees on Nauru. There’s none for earthquake victims in Kathmandu. I have no idea if there was any for Chan and Sukumaran. I’m pretty sure the rioters in Baltimore don’t feel any justice either, though I’m sure those arrested will feel enough “justice” coming down on them to make up for the rest of us.
I’m angry because there’s no respect. No respect for me. No respect for leaders, or women, or grammar or mercy. No respect for the city or art or fresh fruit or aid workers.
And I’m angry because this city I love is still trying to squeeze the life out of me. One disappointment at a time, I’m having the enthusiasm with which I arrived back home some six ago slowly and methodically crushed.
And it has to go somewhere.
So what did I do? I wrote an utterly inconsequential blog post about it, because 140 characters really doesn’t cut it for the scale of useless blabber I like to work on. Oh and I applied for a job in rural Queensland, largely out of spite. I don’t think that’s going to be of any more or less consequence than a tweet with the hashtag #GarrysBlogDoesntMatter, but at least it won’t require the deployment of armed helicopters.
Garry with 2 Rs