Inconvenient Truths


Recently in the UK, a man died. He was in his eighties and revered as a celebrity who “gave something back” through his “tireless” work for  disadvantaged and sick children. He was often to be seen in his Rolls Royce beaming at the world in his canny way, and latterly celebrating the knighthood he received for his years of charitable endeavours.

Not long after his death, and with him no longer able to protect himself, stories began to circulate and appear in the press. With amazing speed he was exposed as a serial abuser who had molested victims with  impunity of a period of more than thirty years.

His victims numbered in the hundreds and yet, during his life, their voices remained unheard . If not unheard, then certainly discounted. In hindsight the whole episode leaves you feeling ill but sadly not surprised. So often it is the case that being right, or telling the truth is not enough. You also have to have  the power to make yourself heard. We talk of Karma, as used in its western sense, but I’m not sure how it applies in this case.

Before this  sad story came to light I used to think about Stalin and Mao Tse-tung  both dying snugly in their beds after a lifetime of inflicting misery on the populations they controlled and  my optimism is challenged by these histories.  In  the world’s operated by these two fine and upstanding individuals, “doing  the right thing”, and “standing tall among a tribe of moral pygmies” might not hold the secret to your longevity.

In the corporate world, as  we have been reminded so forcibly by the crash of 2008, there is a strong and virulent seam of corrupt and self-serving practices which are often at odds with an individual’s wish to lead a moral and simple life. Given the need to pay the mortgage standing up against these practises  is much easier said than done. Sometimes I muse about some decent, largely unnoticed,  junior official in the German Home Office at the time of the Third Reich. He suggests in 1937 that the way they are instructed to treat certain sections of the population might not be in the best  interests of the Republic. We know he is right, and would be proved to be so in the long-term, but at the time of his statement he was out of kilter with the department.

At best, he would be shuffled off to some side room where his eccentric and unwelcome opinions could do no damage . At worst he might suffer an unrequested adjustment to his health. Such scenarios, less obviously, are played out in buildings across the world, often influenced by spin doctors and short-term strategists who place little weight on the consequences of their master’s opinions and look to profit from them before the error of these opinions has become too apparent. It is not  a comfortable area of reflection, for which I apologise.

Given these realities, how do I maintain my joy of life. The answer is in the private glances of couples who cherish each other. In the simple joy of a new birth in the family. The remorseless and inspiring progress of the seasons . In the remnants of wildlife who still move or exist without reference to mankind’s convenience.  In the sound of music inspired by these events. In the beauty of a moment made more urgent by its passing, In the dignity and stoicism of those whose only strategy is to cope. In the simple timeless customs of those remaining tribes who survived the ethnic cleansing carried out on several continents by my British ancestors and other European’s in the name Christianity, freedom and any other value which might serve their purpose. In the  compassion one man can show another without agenda or thought of personal gain. In  the way a man can rebuild his character some time after others give him up for lost. In the tenderness we can show each other which often really does pass all understanding.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, community, creative writing, Environment, faith, Life, life2 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Inconvenient Truths

  1. Abby says:

    And by connecting with the people who see things the same way that we do. It can be easy to lose faith–very easy, actually–and to decide that the world’s full of crap. In some ways it actually is, but finding one or two things to bring us back to our values and those who share in our sense of community can help to restore some hope…I think, or hope so.

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  2. Actually you couldn’t be more right. Connecting with people like yourself who see the world in similar ways to mine, and with whom I can share ideas regardless of geography and time difference is a major source of hope to me. I think this earns me the “Oops” award for not stating the obvious.

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  3. There is certainly much wrong in this world but I agree with you. We need to not lose sight of the wonders and to continue to cherish them wherever we find them.

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  4. People I’ve met on here come under that category for me. Always nice to see a comment from yourself

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  5. Shonnie says:

    Great musing–you just left out one group of crusaders who are still actively and on the public stage wiping out those who do not agree with them. Your words beautifully express my concerns for our world. We still have to see the beauty and you do. Thanks

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  6. I find it both interesting and appalling that individuals labeled as respectable citizens are given such different treatment than those already labeled as deviant. Priests, successful business people, philanthropists, etc. commit heinous acts against innocent children and we (society) shake our heads and conjecture about how they must be “ill” or need “help” or maybe we even turn a blind eye. But those who we’ve deemed unworthy of our forgiveness for other reasons already, well, look out! Our punishment of your acts of depravity will be swift and harsh.

    I see no difference. People who prey on children should be handled in the same way, regardless of social standing. But that’s not how “justice” works.

    Does this make me a pessimistic person? No. It just makes me a person aware and willing to advocate for change in the way that I can. People create the the society and the rules. People can change them.

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    • WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

      I agree very much with Lorna’s Voice on this. I can’t see it any other way. People CAN change the society & the rules.

      Great post, CountingDucks.

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  7. You are right on the money there Lorna. Thank you for that

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  8. Christine says:

    I think it’s brave and beautiful to write about all sides of life, thank you for taking on and sharing your views on all kinds of subjects. You words feed my soul … “In the remnants of wildlife who still move or exist without reference to mankind’s convenience.” I’m off to commune with the wildlife 🙂

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  9. I new you’d agree with me about the wildlife.

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  10. If you were to spend 10 minutes watching the nightly news anywhere, it’s easy to come away thinking that the world has gone to the pits. There is a lot of crazy, destructive stuff that happens for sure, but there is so much to marvel and love about the world and people as well. All depends which side of the coin we place more emphasis on.

    The beauty of the moment can always be found x

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  11. babs50nfab says:

    I’m a bit of a news junkie, must admit, and it’s often difficult to square that with my total faith in humankind. I suppose it keeps me from being a bubble headed pollyanna with no grip on reality, while still desperately believing good trumps evil.
    You wrote this with just the right amount of all that, Peter.
    b

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  12. renxkyoko says:

    What you say is quite relevant to what’s happening here in the US, with the powerful and rich protecting their own.

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  13. judithhb says:

    Certainly interacting with like minded caring people keeps me believing there is more good in this wonderful world than if we only ever watch the nightly news. So many people looking out only for themselves but so many more usually unsung looking out for others. Thanks for a thought provoking post Peter.

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    • I so agree with this. Ordinary folk going about their “ordinary” lives are often so much nicer than the image of humanity portrayed in the news, but a significant number of greedy and self-serving individuals can also do more harm over a period of time, than would have been thought possible. However saintly the servant, it is the character of his master which marks the household

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  14. backonmyown says:

    Very thought-provoking, Ducks. I shall focus on your last paragraph as I go through my day.

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  15. Al says:

    Maintaining our equilibrium amid the sordid affairs of the human condition is a challenge indeed. It’s for that reason that good sense of humor is paramount. You have one as do I and most bloggers. We’d never make it through otherwise. A group from your country called Monty Python took that to new heights, but by exposing man’s folly so hilariously, it went far in condemning it.

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  16. I find it a conflict … because I believe that awareness of what goes on beyond the borders of my own personal environment and affairs is very important to have. I have seen how some ‘bury their heads’ in the sand because they must get on with their own ambitions or don’t want to be made sad or would rather not think about such things. Because of the connectiveness of the world, its people, their actions (or in-actions) and environment we cannot escape the consequences of what happens to others and especially to nature. Saying that, I do believe we have to have a small perspective, too – your last paragraph so beautifully captures how we must acknowledge ‘the beauty of a moment made more urgent by its passing’. Perhaps it is about working from within out … with empathy, compassion, gratefulness, and heartfelt searching. Thank you again for such a thoughtful and caring post.

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  17. nelle says:

    Too true. Sometimes speaking up creates all manner of outside pressure for silence. The first in anything usually finds a well aimed populace launching things his or her way. I think on the injustices experienced for things of our own creation, even little things evident in my childhood – pregnant and not married? For shame! I’d watch people busy themselves counting the months backwards for new parents not long married, just to see if they had the grand audacity to love one another in an intimate way before someone declared them fit for life together.

    Until relatively recently, one did not speak of incest, of domestic violence, paedophilia/child rape, of sexual assault. These things one held close and bore without recourse. Their world, hell on earth, and to speak up…seemed an even worse fate.

    When it comes to country scale, none of us shine, none of us can wave a resplendent history in the faces of others and claim ourselves above reproach. I can’t on an individual level as you well know, and this particular country ran roughshod over African-Americans and Native Americans, and there is the modern branch of aberrant conduct evident in impositions around the world.

    We can speak up, we can do, but each of us decides when and where our time of enough has come.

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  18. Aurora HSP says:

    Beautiful… just beautiful. Left me teary with gratitude for your humanity and compassion for others not to mention the understanding for voices often silenced by the polar opposite. Beautiful xo

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  19. –I have come to realize that SILENCE is a Murderer…So that means, we must be the VOICE for the silent, the demeaned, the disrespected, the forgotten, the abused, the hated, the unknown….etc.

    Peter, you. are. one. of. those. VOICES.

    Xxx Kiss from Minnesota.

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  20. Lafemmeroar says:

    You write with such finesse, intelligence and clarity of thought. I’m with Kim … “SILENCE is a Murderer.” And those without a voice need to be heard … freedom is in revealing the injustice. And yes, the facts you have just written about do challenge my optimism, but as with you I do remain steadfast in my belief that while humanity has it’s tragic malfunctions … we have hope and we take joy in the “function” of the simple things …. love, family, friendship, kindness and in the voices of people such as you who write about the truth and existence with such dignity. You are an inspiration!

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  21. Writerlious says:

    So lovely. I think it’s one of the wonderful things about the human spirit, man’s ability to feel empathy for his fellow man. It is what sets us apart.

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  22. eof737 says:

    What made it even more outrageous is that many in power knew and said nothing… the police too. Just dreadful!!! 😦

    Like

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