Every now and again I stumble upon some sayings that just puts things so clearly into perspective, I’m left breathless. Something that just smashes all the lies being peddled about in the media into tiny insignificant pieces. That rubbishes all the racist claims by people whose number one motive is subjugation and exploitation…today is one of those days.
In light of what Pope Francis has said today in Congress regarding migrants and refugees, the following quotes, one from this article I found the other day, and another by strangely enough – Charlie Chaplin, are somewhat relevant.
Rapacious policies advanced by wealthy nations in the increasingly gated Global North have destabilized and fueled the very unrest that has produced the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.
It’s no coincidence that many of the refugees at Europe’s doorstep are fleeing unrest in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan — all countries the US and its allies have directly and indirectly pillaged and destabilized.
– Rania Khalek, Dispatches from the Underclass
And this, a speech from The Great Dictator” (a movie Charlie Chaplin wrote, directed and produced during the height of Adolf Hitler’s reign):
“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”
― Charles Chaplin
Just like a prophesy… it’s as if Chaplin saw what would come years later, even though at the time, the atmosphere was filled with the fear of Hitler. Indeed history does repeat itself, except this time Germany is the largest and most prosperous economy in Europe – and is due to receive 800,000 refugees who are fleeing wars and conflict. The kind of wars it had little to do with. Funny enough, those who are now ‘hating’ migrants and the other, the foreigner, the alien, those whose country’s media is full of vitriol and inhumane descriptions of migrants, whose leaders want to set dogs on migrants (some clowns among those ranks authorised use of rubber bullets recently), and are putting up barbed wire, those are the same people whose ancestors were once at the mercy of the Nazi’s; expecting others to protect them or come to their aid…fighting for the liberty of Europe, and calling on foreigners to help them defeat the Nazis….Ironic eh? Tell me about it.
People forget too quickly…!?
I’m thankful for what Pope Francis has said today. Someone sensible needed to inject some common sense into this whole debate. I’m thankful for what many other sane and decent people like him have been saying for years. Voices which have often been ignored – for the very same reasons the negative rhetoric keeps getting glorified, over and above the voices we should be listening to.
I strongly believe that if the world was more equal, and if rich countries didn’t interfere (or fan the flames of rebellion) in the internal politics of smaller countries, these kinds of crises wouldn’t happen, and many lives would have been spared.
The hate, and divisive talk filling the media in the western world these days, embodied in one form by one shameless Republican presidential candidate’s attack on mexicans – calling them rapists; or in the recent dehumanising rhetoric in across parts of Europe, of scaremongering in order to cause hostility against innocent people … that hate is exactly the root cause of all the global problems. It’s what caused all the ills from Slavery, Colonisation, to the Holocaust …Beneath all that hollow rhetoric; claims of the aryan race, of Manifest Destiny, of White Supremacy; of every tool of such division and categorisation…when you get to the very bottom of these ‘imperialist charades’, what you will find is raw selfishness that says some people are more deserving than others by virtue of where they were born, their skin colour, etc; and that those who have amassed huge amounts of wealth, often illegally, and using exploitative and atrocious means – including genocide, are free and unaccountable for their actions – and can get away with their crimes.
Fortunately, millions of sensible and discerning people, past and present can see right through this twisted fallacy…and its consequences throughout the ages.