After last year’s horrors, I was counting on the silly season being exactly that: the lazy, hazy days of summer, when the living is easy and the news is frivolous, with maybe a 'crime passionnel’ amongst the more hot-blooded classes to exercise the mind.
Instead we have more of the same, possibly even worse. Dear World, why are you turning at an ever faster pace, the news being outdated even before it’s been digested and events overtaking each other at breakneck speed? How did we allow this to happen? Sitting, as I do, in front of screens and pouring over newspapers doesn’t help. Neither does it help to mouth pious speeches: “Our thoughts and prayers are with you” being one of them, favoured by politicians and the general run of commentators at the scene and in memorial gatherings alike.
Battles in Syria, Iraq, the Ukraine, the refugee crisis, Islamist terror in France, The ascension of populist right wingers everywhere, with Donald Trump the most visible, Brexit in the UK, which one commentator explained as a “howl of outrage" by those left behind in the global scramble for a place in the sun, whose votes were tricked out of them by shameless lies and, most recently, the attempted military coup in Turkey with far from transparent origins. We hear of endless shootings in the US, which we hardly recoil from any longer, telling ourselves that an obsession with readily available weapons will logically have only one outcome.
So much is happening, Dear World, how can we stop the carnage?
It may sound macabre, but we are so swamped with daily dollops of unbearably horrendous information that we are in danger of forgetting that 1000s have drowned in the Mediterranean on their way to a “better life"and that the Italian coastguard has recently found a boat on the bottom of the Med with 675 corpses.They’re just the ones which have been discovered. How many more are there? How many more atrocities can France bear?
How many more men, women and children will have to leave everything they hold dear behind and run for their lives? Nearer home, what will Brexit mean for the poor in our own society?
Dear World, could we please stop now and start again?