Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Retro World Where Cold War Meets Global Warming

Given the popularity of post punk/grunge bands such as Sum 41, Blink 182, Green Day, etc., I've often considered contacting my old band mates and suggesting that we get together and perhaps make a CD. In our day, Ick On Fish, my old band, was a tight and talented old school punk band in the spirit of Black Flag, D.O.A. and the likes. In all honesty, re-uniting the band could actually be a profitable endeavour, though profit isn't why I would want to pursue this.

Punk, in my day, was all about the message in the music, the energy and a sense of creating a movement of sorts. Up until a few weeks ago, I used to comment on how most of the themes in our music, written to the backdrop of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan's wrangling with the Soviets and the general threat of nuclear devastation on a global scale, were no longer relevant. The Cold War is over, Reagan is dead and there is no Soviet Union. Generation X's fears seemed to have been survived, while our present world deals with the War On Terror, the fight to retain human rights under the War On Terror, and the inconvenient truth about our environment's plight. Definitely lots to scream about, to be angry about and to encourage mass action.

…Then Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia, and civilisation appears to be spiralling back to the 1980's world of rhetoric. NATO threatens to punish Russia. The ceasefire is continually being violated. Russia threatens to nuke Poland if the U.S. missile shield is built there. The Russians have announce a massive enlargement of their Arctic Fleet, just after planting a Russian flag due south of the North Pole. All this while Canada is asserting Arctic sovereignty, searching for the remains of Franklin up in the Northwest Passage – the U.S. and Denmark also throwing themselves into the mix. Nationalism surging in Serbia. Iran. Palestine/Israel. Africa. Chechnya. Military messes in Afghanistan and Iraq. China, China, China. Plummeting markets and skyrocketing oil…

…many sparks.

But the thing is, all of our songs from the early 1980's have once again become, more or less, current. As I get ready to turn 40, I feel 15 again in that I am outraged at the perpetual degeneration of our world. We are heading toward a recipe of continuing eroding rights, police state mentalities, environmental devastation and possibly even World War Three – the ingredients are all there, coupled with Western complacency and extreme nationalism, with too few moderate voices to make reason and peace victorious.

It's interesting that Tom Clancy's "Endgame" came out last year. I'm not really a fan of that kind of writing, but I did read a review of the book in the paper. From what I recall, the premise is that the Russians seek to assert themselves as a world power again, China is involved too, and the end result is an invasion through Canada where they take over the Alberta Oil sands and occupy the cities of Edmonton (where I live and hence my interest in the novel), Red Deer, etc. The Canadian PM keeps our military at their bases, hoping the world will take pity on us and come to our aid. The U.S. obligingly sends up their military to wage war on Canadian soil. Given the present global backdrop, this could be a prophecy soon fulfilled.

What do we do? In the battle for idealism, be it for nationalism, religion, peace or economics, there will never be a universal conversion. There will always be tyrants, people with guns and explosives, profiteers as well as those who sacrifice themselves in aid of others, create hope and perform great deeds. My anger is as Sisyphus, causing me often to ask "can I really do anything?" I suppose that deep down I believe that I can – that is my idealism – that's why I continue to speak with people, share my ideas and use education as a foundation for action. Live for the day before it's taken away…

Om shanti.



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