Guest Editorial by Mark Ulyseas
Mark Ulyseas has served time in advertising as copywriter and creative director selling people things they didn’t need, a ghost writer for some years, columnist of a newspaper, a freelance journalist and photographer. In 2009 he created Live Encounters Magazine, in Bali, Indonesia. It is a not for profit (adfree) free online magazine featuring leading academics, writers, poets, activists of all hues etc. from around the world. March 2016 saw the launch of its sister publication Live Encounters Poetry, which was relaunched as Live Encounters Poetry & Writing in March 2017. In February 2019 the third publication was launched, LE Children Poetry & Writing (now renamed Live Encounters Young Poets & Writers). He has edited, designed and produced all of Live Encounters’ 167 publications till date (October 2019). Mark’s philosophy is that knowledge must be free and shared freely to empower all towards enlightenment. https://liveencounters.net/mark-ulyseas/ He is the author of three books: RAINY – My friend & Philosopher, Seductive Avatars of Maya – Anthology of Dystopian Lives and In Gethsemane: Transcripts of a Journey. www.amazon.com/markulyseas
This year is grinding to a close and then hope will begin for the New Year.
So what will it be?
More wars for religious or commercial purposes?
Child abuse? Human slavery? Beheadings?
Another Mass Extinction?
New insidious revelations that expose the all-pervasive criminality of governments, international politics and sections of the Media?
Is the UN still a coffee shop for the rich and powerful to hang out and where honour exists among thieves?
And are the medusa-like social media barons new lords of the manor? Do they control our hearts and minds? And is this the age of artificial intelligence?
And is tourism fast becoming another avatar of terrorism?
There is so much to choose from. It’s like a supermarket out there with all kinds of man-made disasters available on the shelves, one has simply to reach out and grab one. 2019 is ending on a note of negotiated delusions with the Climate Change Conference. What happened to the good old days when we used a blanket instead of a heater? All this talk of saving the world is pointless. Everything is done half-heartedly. Let’s make a resolution for the New Year to decimate the planet. Destroy all our natural resources, pollute the rivers and farm the seas to extinction. At least we would be doing one thing properly.
On one hand we talk of peace, love and no war. On the other hand we bomb, rape, pillage, annex and subdue nations with money, military power and retarded religiosity.
For instance, let’s take a quick look at Afghanistan. The British couldn’t control the tribes in the 19th century, the Russians failed miserably and the Americans with their assorted comrades in arms, poor souls, are being killed along with thousands of faceless unarmed Afghan civilians. I suppose life is cheaper by the dozen. Hasn’t anyone got a clue as to what the Afghans want?
What about certain parts of the Middle East, areas that have become mass open air abattoirs for the mindless slaughter of innocent people? Do you think they will run out of people considering the number of killings that are taking place? Education there is history – like the death of a six year old killed by a bullet deliberately fired at close range. It stems from the barrel of a gun. The pen is for signing death certificates.
Statistics are essential in war zones. They can always be rearranged to suit one’s perceived objectives. The little numbers represent people; mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, relatives and friends. A neat way to manage these numbers is to write in pencil so that an eraser can be used judiciously. And as the death toll in war ravaged countries rises, a hysterical caucus threatens a host of other countries for deviating from the ‘acceptable norms of international behaviour’ like illegally invading countries on trumped up charges and bombing innocent folk back to the stone age… while deliberately turning a blind eye to China, a country that continues to violently dismantle the vibrant ancient Uyghurs culture, brainwashing and incarcerating the Uyghurs in re-education camps.
Incidentally, these very countries vie for commercial and ‘military’ space in the South China Sea while using China as a manufacturing base and its banks for financing projects. And when they don’t get their way, sanctions of all hues are applied in the name of nationalism regardless of the impact on domestic industry and jobs.
Africa, the Dark Continent, what can one say about its peoples and their ancient civilizations that have slowly been corrupted by large corporations and foreign governments meddling in the affairs of the states: Buying and selling governments on mammoth proportions? Oh for the days of the Rwandan blood bath. Everything is quiet now, no excitement and drama except for bloody popular uprisings, theft of natural resources and other inconsequential happenings like the sudden spread of highly infectious diseases and mass kidnapping of school children for forced marriage and conversion…and the continuing practice of female genital mutilation, which appears to be a thriving business across the world where doting parents in western countries take their little girls on ‘vacation’ cuts while their governments lecture Africans on the scourge of female genital mutilation.
What about the sub-continent, India? Do they still abort female fetuses or do they bury them alive, now? Burn women who don’t bring enough dowry? Is rape intrinsic to the culture? Do they continue to decimate wildlife? Persevere in the destruction of the environment? And do millions still exist on the threshold of life and death? And is the arrogant Indian Middle Class growing to newer levels self-indulgence? And are the subsistence farmers still committing suicide due to failure of crops and rising debt? And is protection of the holy cow more important than feeding hundreds of millions of people living below the poverty line? And are politicians continuing to feed off the socio-economic-religious insecurities of its people? And are sections of its media turning into manic performing artists, deliberately taking sides in political dramas and creating news for ratings.
Forgive me, I missed that little country to the west of India, the homeland of terrorists and an illicit nuclear arsenal – Pakistan. Poor chaps they’ve had such a tiresome year with the constant ebb and flow of political violence and religious fundamentalism peppered with suicide bombers that probably the common folk want to migrate to the West… can’t really blame them. Their new government is its armed forces’ ventriloquist doll. The common folk’s only desire is to live in peace to pray, work and procreate. Meanwhile their government has switched debtors from the West to China, which has commercially colonised this country bleeding it by a thousand loans.
And to the east of the Indian sub-continent is a country that follows the religion of non-violence in word not deed…as millions of people of another religion are chased out of the country, their homes burnt, women raped and men exterminated like vermin.
Now let’s see who is left on the black board? Hmmm…the indigenous people of the Amazon are still fighting a losing battle with the powers that be to stop the plunder of their home, the rain forest, the green lung of mother earth, which is on fire. South America appears to be lost in translation. We never seem to get a lot of news from there except for soccer, drug lords, plunder of the marine world and the continued exploitation of the poor and defenceless by rapacious governments sponsored by those from the North and elsewhere. It has become the battle ground of powerful countries that use the common folk as cannon fodder.
Let’s leave all this violence for some tuna, shark fin, whale, and dolphin meat. The Japanese and an assortment of other ‘civilised’ countries, Norway in particular, are so considerate to the world at large. For countries that pride themselves on rejecting nuclear weapons they have a rather odd way of showing their respect for the environment. I am referring to the mass killing of whales, dolphins and other sea creatures on an industrial scale. Actually you must admire their concern. Ever considered the fact that they maybe ridding the oceans of monsters that take up so much space and are a serious health hazard to humanity?
I think Japan’s neighbour China has the right approach. It has dispensed with the cumbersome concept of human rights and its implementation. In its place totalitarianism with a large dose of plutocracy has been suitably installed. It uses its neighbour, a mini nuclear state, as a stick to threaten countries in the region for better trade deals and easing of sanctions. Will the festering sore of Hong Kong cure itself by violence? Or will the PLA drop in the clear the streets with troops and tanks? For now, blood, guts and broken limbs can be seen live on TV as the city moves towards becoming a Middle Eastern city in South east Asia…violence central.
There are many countries that lecture China on its human rights. Wonder who has a perfect track record? The world’s last self-proclaimed superpower? A superpower, now led by a petulant imbecile, which continues to interfere in the affairs of other nations … at times actually sending troops and bombing unarmed civilians, including hospitals and marriage parties along with perceived enemies of the State and supplying state of the art weapons to be used against civilians living a hand to mouth existence? I suppose the term ‘collateral damage’ is more palatable than the word… murder. Like a million dollar missile blasting a school bus with forty children like a meat grinder. There is money to be made in the killings but not much left to urgently help its own people devastated by natural disasters like massive fires and super storms.
Civil liberties are essential for the survival of a nation and so is the health of its people. In some areas of society where common sense has been the victim, Nature has found a way of retaliating by inventing diseases like Ebola, AIDS, Swine Flu and Zika, infecting millions and helping to keep the population in check: Of course, with a little assistance from humankind’s scientific community who often test drugs on unsuspecting illiterate folk in the holy name of finding new cures to make a profit. Meanwhile humanity is susceptible to dangerous new strains of super bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
As 2019 downs its shutters the price of a human body has gone up. Human trafficking and organ trafficking around the world, including in the civilised nations, is now second only to drug peddling in revenue. Profiteers forecast a higher income in 2020, thanks to war and growing poverty.
And once again, as we have done in the past, this Christmas and New Year we shall all sit down to sumptuous meals, drink whatever fancies our taste buds, shop till we drop and pamper our overweight children and pets. It’s the season of happiness, love and family especially for the homeless, injured and maimed children of wars, missing people in Afghanistan, Syria, Xinjiang Uyghur Region, Tibet, Yemen, Hong Kong and elsewhere, asylum seekers, political detainees and the fringe folk of the planet. They will surely be very happy and content with what they see, hear, feel and touch this festive season.
From genocide to environmental disasters it has been a roller coaster ride through many countries and peoples and cultures and religions. This journey will end only when we truly comprehend the reason as to why we have been put on this planet by a power far greater than we can ever imagine.
Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year to you.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
© Mark Ulyseas