I Heard the News Today (24th March)
People are often heard saying that pollution of the world is not restricted to plastic waste or carbon emissions, the destruction of coral reefs, deforestation, but has seeped into the very fabric of society. We have been made immune to the suffering of others. Refugee children starve to death, trafficked immigrants drown and we hardly raise an eyebrow. The richest nation in the world is governed by Trump. The reader can use the Thesaurus
to find suitable adjectives to describe the man. In twenty first century Britain, people are more concerned about Meghan Markle’s negro ancestry than whether old-age pensioners are freezing to death when the beast from the East rages on.
I read today, that the heir to the British throne travels with his own mattress wherever he goes. He is a man who worries about his image on British coins
after his mother passes. It has been told already that he needs help when urinating. And the Brits are overwhelmingly for the monarchy to continue.
Assad is still gassing his own people, Putin keeps sending his people to kill his
enemies overseas, whilst oligarchs are laundering their ill-gotten cash. Berlusconi is still winning elections, and neo-fascists are winning power in countries like Hungary and even Austria. Building walls is very much spreading.
In the name of Islam, madmen (& some women) are still taking the name of God and Muhammad to carry out atrocities.
So, are people right to throw up their hands in resignation?
In this same world where so many bad things occur on a daily basis, we also have selfless acts, but these are less dramatic and do not sell as many newspapers.
In France this week, near Carcassonne, some lunatic took hostages in a supermarket, threatening to shoot them one by one unless the imprisoned terrorist Salah Abdessalam be released. Police lieutenant Beltrame arrived on
the scene and after some negotiation with, offered to take the place of someone vulnerable, Radouane Lakdim agreed, and Arnaud Beltrame became the voluntary hostage of a mad and angry armed man. He knew all the time what the risks were. Later, when the CRS went in, Arnaud was shot and died.
This week, Ms Andria Zafirakou received a $1 million prize for being the best teacher in the world for 2018. Nowhere in the western world is there a more
divisive educational system than in the great enlightened country that is Great Britain. The rich send their kids to private schools, unironically called Public Schools, and the poor have to contend with underfunded state schools. The current right-wing government have imposed a curriculum where emphasis is placed on the more academic subjects (“We need to copy what the Chinese, the Koreans and Japanese are doing.”) As a result the arts, music, drama etc… have to yield to Latin and Trigonometry. This is where Andria comes in. She is the head of Art in a deprived school in a multicultural area. One of her most striking quotes is, “I congratulate myself when my pupils show up every morning.” She did not need to add that her approach was what did this. She works a sixteen-hour day. To make her charges feel at home, she has learnt simple phrases in 45 languages spoken at their homes.
Would anybody be surprised to hear that she intends most if not all her prize, on the needs of her school, with some going to the wider community?