In the main I consider myself an affable bloke. Not given to deep political opinions and largely distrustful of politicians or people who think they have the secret of curing the earth’s woes: physical or human. Occasionally an individual pops up out of the mass like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi or Mother Theresa whose approach to life seems so outstanding, that I am lost in admiration for them: they seem to be an undiluted force for good. I have no doubt that someone could step forward and tell me that young Nelson was an habitual shoplifter or that Mother Theresa used to get drunk all the time in nightclubs under her pseudo name”Freelance Annie”, but even then I would cling to my image of them. Just to make it clear I am not suggesting that either of those people did that: it’s just an example.
In the same way, for reasons which are lost deep in my psyche I like people in the main and sometimes grow to admire them. There are people I have “met” in Blogsville whom I would be honoured to consider as friends. I am not suggesting this is mutual, and if it is not I applaud your good taste, but there it is. In general I write about the small things of life far from the world of controversy but occasionally I can drift towards subjects which create a response far from that which I originally imagined.
Yesterday I talked of the riots, which are sadly continuing in parts of this country and got some responses which surprised me. I was never talking about the personalities of the looters or whether they deserved punishment, be it the death penalty or being made to stand in the corner for a month. I was wondering why it is that, in urban societies people can become so dislocated that a significant number of looters can rampage through the streets destroying people’s homes livelihoods and businesses without thought or regret. I was reflecting more on their upbringing and sense of community rather than wether they deserved understanding or the full rigour of the law.
Like Caroline, I have had the good fortune to travel a lot and have seen people,tribes and cultures where the level of courtesy, good manners and hospitality put many of the those of us in the west to shame. Many of these people I met had little in the way of possessions or luxuries but their hospitality warmth and good manners was often impressive. It is not a question of being rich or poor, privileged or underprivileged. It is more my shock that so many people of such young age seem disconnected from the community or culture of the country in which they live to the degree that they can do such things. I would not be surprised if it was a few people but it is not. It is the numbers involved which make me wonder if it is a generic problem.
What I do find is that we can sometimes pick up something in a post and run off to the hills without waiting to see if we have got the full gist of whats being said. It’s far from impossible that people, including myself, express ourselves poorly and thus give the impression that our opinion is different to the one we actually hold. It can also be true that we might have been talking about something quite different from that which was perceived by the reader. That is the difference between the written word and conversation.
I’m beginning to lose myself now, so I have probably lost you some paragraphs ago but just to lurch towards my conclusion. In the main the people I have met in real life are much nicer, more caring and decent than those portrayed on the news or in films. This also applies to you lot. Many of whom leave me in awe of your approach to life and the way you have tackled its difficulties. That we disagree on some issues , or occasionally fail to understand each other s not a big issue in my mind. Now where’s my tin hat. I think a nice day in the bunker is called for