Occupy Wall street? What on earth for? This was my thought when I heard about this event. What does this event mean to me? Very little in reality. Bearing in mind that when this occurred I was still living in Perth, Western Australia. The most isolated capital city in the world. I’d just returned from a holiday in Bali and was still very much at a low point in my life.
I’d seen articles mentioning Occupy, and when this weeks challenge was posted I admit I had to google to find out what it was all about. As with many articles written I am still very confused in regards to why it became such a big thing. In terms of the event itself, I admit that I do not listen to the news. If anything really noteworthy happens I will hear about it through the proverbial grapevine.
What caught my attention when googling was the base premise around the event. That of inequality. And here is something I do have a very strong opinion on. And were I more of an activist in my middle years, I would probably have taken more interest. I always was rather a socialist, conservationist tho never bra burning late hippie. Perhaps I have learnt to just live life in my middle years.
Inequality however; the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer, the widening gap between the two extremes I am fully aware of. I am an Indigenous Australian working in Indigenous health, trying my best to contribute in Closing the Gap in the inequality of health status for my people. Although perhaps ‘well assimilated’ and part of middle class society, I am not so much ‘in need’ as many of my people are. This I credit to parents and grandparents expressing a very strong view of making ones own way in life and not relying on government handouts. I grew up with the fear of my grandmother rolling in her grave should I ever do such a thing. I am also a product of the strong white Anglo-Saxon working class mentality. We work for our living.
Growing up with minimal material possessions added to the drive to better myself. To support my family. To use the skills, knowledge and capabilities inherent in me. As a child we learnt to make do with what we had. Though of course as any child does I challenged my parents often enough. Growing up in the church with a father ministering and an Aboriginal mother meant that I learnt many strong values early in life. And I learnt to appreciate that which I do have.
This is not the case however for many of my people. Living in a first world country, a lucky country, a wealthy and happy country in all respects, Indigenous Australians health and social wellbeing is that of a third and even fourth world country. How shameful is this in the 21st century. How wide is this gap in Australia. In many ways our culture is as much at the mercy of the now dominant culture as Native American Indians in the USA. Whilst I would love to sidetrack on my thoughts of the political machinations of the USA here is not the place.
What is important is the madness consuming our world. Corporate conglomerates gone wild. They are everywhere. All in the name of business and profits. A never-ending greed for wealth and power and control. No consideration for human kind and in many cases questionable ethics and legalities. Do not get me started on the multinational pharmaceuticals controlling our access to health and medicine. Perhaps as one gets bigger, and the head swells, so does the feeling of growing important and omnipotence that fosters an attitude of ‘I am better than you’. Do these boys at the top wear the t-shirt with the slogan “he who dies with the most toys wins?” It certainly seems that way.
What’s interesting is to look at who controls the wealth worldwide. Such a tiny, miniscule number of people. Perhaps less than 100, tho more likely closer to 20 in my mind. And no I have no figures and data, for data is always distorted when given to the unsuspecting public. Yes I have read of conspiracy theories. But behind every theory is an element of truth.
However in saying all this, perhaps we need to put this in perspective. History is full of the same theme. The inequality and wide gap is nothing new. From emperors and kings, conquerors and megalomaniacs, dictators and tyrants, the history of our planet is full of the same greed in mankind. The darkest part of our souls. Mongolians invading Europe. Celts and Vikings invading neighboring tribes. Rome invading Europe and Britain, England invading the Americas and Pacific, India and Africa. These just to name the most well-known but not the totality. Dynasties and empires. Rising and falling. The theme is the same. The small elite using their wealth as a source of power to control and invade and change view points, cultures and societies. The masses rising up against tyranny. Is it really any different in the 21st century? Perhaps it is just a different way and name.
In a world gone mad on the lust of power and wealth, it is no wonder that movements such as Occupy Wall street occur. For in the end, the majority have a say, a vote, a strength purely in numbers. As with the 100th monkey philosophy, perhaps sooner, rather than later, mankind will open its eyes to the reality destroying our world. Ah, this reminds me of the Star Trek episode introducing the ‘Q’ sitting in judgement on mankind. In defense of mankind, despite all the grief and suffering, and to quote from ‘Desiderata’ “with all it’s sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”