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Bonzer Words!: Opening Salvo

...It is contemporary Politics that have been the last straw: I cannot make head or tail or of what is going on in the world...

Betty Collins expresses the views of millions of sane, sensible and bemused citizens.

Betty writes for Bonzer! magazine. Please visit www.bonzer.org.au

I must at the outset deny that I was always a little bit that way: but having become more so (barking mad, that is) in recent times, let that be my excuse for charging in blindfold and slashing out Left and Right and Middle (all with Capital letters), and let the chips fall where they may.

It is contemporary Politics that have been the last straw: I cannot make head or tail or of what is going on in the world—let alone our own country—and this column is just an excuse to persuade you to explain things to me. I did try to give up 'Politics' at the age of fourteen (about the same time I gave up sugar in my tea—for Lent—and never went back to it).

But people keep asking me what I think. And the truth is, I do not know what I think.

How can one make sense of a world in which so much Power is held by Companies, Corporations, Governments, Banks, and other Golums—the most notable characteristic of which is that, unlike ordinary human beings, they have no moral law and no moral obligation. As a result, no one is to Blame, and it is no single person's responsibility that more than half of the world's people suffer in poverty and die of hunger and disease: while some of the other people in the world waste, squander, and die, literally, of over-eating. We all know of the starving millions in Africa—and some of us even get a nice little tax rebate by contributing $30 a month: but do we choose to know that just up the road in Bali there are people living on a subsistence diet of a handful of rice once a day.

Naturally, none of it is anyone's fault. No one's fault that it is possible for the average Australian to go to Bali on holiday at cut-throat airline prices—taking with them empty suitcases which they bring back full of hand-made articles bought for a miserable amount of dollars 'because the rupiyah is worth nothing'. Ever thought of how many hours of toil that the hand-made articles you buy took to make? And how little the rupiyahs thus earned can buy in terms of world trade? And that is not even mentioning the 'middle-man': that is, the many (Australian) traders and shop owners who own businesses in Bali, buy for next to nothing from the primary producers, and employ some of them at a pittance to run the shops.

Aren't 'Terrorists' 'Terrorists' only as long as they are Powerless? Has everyone forgotten that Nelson Mandela, now a hero, was at one time a real, dyed-in-the-wool Terrorist. Is not 'Terrorism' the only weapon of the oppressed weak—and what hope have they against established armies? Is it not time that we found out what is causing the desperation that leads people to sacrifice their lives for what they believe are heroic causes?

Why do we believe that there is a profound difference between 'good' human beings, and 'bad' human beings—even among those whose tenets of moral and spirtitual belief stem from precisely the same roots?

It really is all too much for me.

It's OK to make it 'law' to act beyond 'law'; to have detention without Trial. It is too easy for 14 days to become 21 days, 30 days 90 days, indefinite. And then the accidental deaths of 'natural causes' happen in custody: people 'fall down steps' and out of ninth storey windows while being 'interviewed'. And action provokes reaction. It is a slippery slope we are going down here.

And who is making money out of all these charities? In the country that I used to live in, millions of pounds, dollars, francs, whatever currency were donated to the 'cause' by worthy people: and most of it was pocketed by the 'leaders of the people'—or to buy weapons. I doubt one hungry child got a single crust of bread.

Does anybody really believe that $30 a month (tax-deductible) can cover the cost of care of a young Child—let alone food, clothing, schooling, medical care etc., especially after the administration and advertising costs of the charitable institution concerned have been covered.

Let's lift up our grey heads and trembling voices and make 'em listen. Who's for us? .

© Betty Collins


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