I am astonished at the long-suffering proclivities of people in Britain, especially when trains are late, overcrowded and Budget airlines continue to arrive about an hour after the scheduled time of departure. The stiff and proper face expressions (giving little away) at such times and our easy acceptance of “we are sorry for the inconveniences caused” do test my hot Caribbean temperament. While the climate here has made me slightly cooler in responding, I still am unable to accept such nonsense and usually find myself protesting in one way or another. In the process my traveling options are shrinking.
I am, therefore, very excited to read of and follow the gutsy veteran politician Tony Benn and his plea for “ordinary people” to get off their backsides and revolt against the present government’s spending cuts that will affect the poorest people in our society. Action and active resistance is the call by some MP’s, writers and public personalities. Hopefully, we will soon find the voices and the feet of churches in this much needed act of rebellion – as an act of faith and faithfulness. We are in desperate need for alternatives, and protest is one way to “wake us up” from sleeping walking further into disaster. It is time to put all our talk about costly discipleship into pragmatic actions!
Protest will certainly be a challenge to all the talk about “Big Society”, especially if this remains a cerebral notion dictated by people who live comfortable lives and are calling all the shots, while ordinary people are expected to carry the burden of economic recovery. The poor is not only always with us: they are needed (and engineered) to be there to carry the affluence that the select/elect few thrive on. I am sure that those espousing “the big society” are not thinking of protest as a way to ensure equality and handing over power to the people. Quite often taking our destiny in our hands and determining our future together for the common good will demand protesting – otherwise nothing will ever change.
And speaking of handing over control of our present and future to any group, I am aware that “handing over” is becoming a habit in our technological world where we are already giving over and away, much to machine and gadgets (one of our creations). Hence, experts are now suggesting that it is only a matter of time before we have arrived at the point (perhaps we are already there) where we believe that we have become so untrustworthy that our own creations (gadgets and otherwise) are given control of matters. We then become robots with no minds, this time round. The scientific phrase “incessant obsolescence postulate” is quite apt to describe what we are becoming or have already become
Perhaps, protesting is one of the remaining ways still available to help us counter the above danger as this act may just enable us to collectively rediscover our humanity and what it means to live as truly free people.
“Everyone thinks of the future. But who is actually doing anything about it?”
© copyright August 9, 2010
michael n. jagessar