“My faith was so much stronger then. I believed in fellow men. And I was so much older then. When I was young” – E Burdon
Parents lie. My parents lied. I imagine your parents lied to you as well. And as parents, we will lie to kids. So before I get a call from my family asking why I am revealing family secrets. Let me clarify…which, by the way, is a rare thing. Clarity of thought, words and actions is not something I am known for. Actually I do not really know what I am known for – I know my students compliment me for having the shiniest head on campus. I tell them it is the Argon inside. Other than that, I am probably best known for being totally unknown. Yes, I am probably the most famous unknown person around. I enter a room and everyone notices that no one has entered. It’s a gift. If you want it, you can have it…from me…to you…
Kher, before I forget the point at which I broke off on a tangent, let me return to the issue of lies that we were fed and the lies that we will feed children. We will tell them the world is a good place. We will tell them that people are good. We will tell them that merit always wins. We will tell them that happiness comes from being a good person. We will tell them that things will be fine…yes…things will always be fine…and there is no finer lie than that.
I look around and see what a messed up, crazy, screwed up place this planet is. If you feel things are better than they have ever been, I wish you would open your eyes and see the world. I wish you would say you want a world that is good in absolute terms and not just better compared to the world in 1665 – why that year? It coincides with my birth.
If you still don’t believe me, let me give you some facts. UNICEF expects 90,000 kids to die of malnutrition in Nigeria – that is 10 kids dying of hunger every hour…in one country. There are many bad ways of dying. Hunger is probably one of the worst. According to UNHCR, 28,300 people are forced to flee their homes every day due to conflict. Many, children and adults, die while escaping persecution and some are sold into slavery. WHO estimates that 12.6 million people die every year due to unhealthy environments. And if you do not believe that man is ruining the environment…let me take a guess…you are the sort of person who avoids going for long walks cause you are scared you will fall off the edge of the Earth…and for the rest of you who are not living in 1096 and have a functioning brain, the statistics are sobering. I could go on but I think you get the point.
To be clear (clarity becoming a trend here?) the objective of giving you the facts was not to play politics here or ascribe blame or support any cause. I do not care much about politics or causes. And as far as the blame is concerned. It really doesn’t matter who is to blame for the state of the world. All that matters is where we go from here. There is much to do…and the world is not becoming a better place.
Now people often say life is not fair…we should just accept things and this inequality will never go away. Funny that most of these people are the privileged ones who will also cry and complain about their first world problems…like parking issues…Me? Never, you’ll never hear me complain about traffic or parking! If you think life being unfair is fair, tell it to the kid who’s dying of hunger or the woman suffering from disease caused by air pollution or the girl unable to go to school because of her gender or the man escaping persecution due to his race. The world is a bad place and it is not getting better fast enough to help those in pain.
So what am I saying? Start lying to children? Turn them into pessimistic cynics like ourselves? Well we have two choices. We can either continue lying and tell our children that all is well while we continue to ruin this world for them. Continue barreling down this destructive path – enjoy our First Class Cabin on the Titanic and watch it go under…glug glug glug…Oops!
Or we can agree to change things. To make this a world that our children can be proud of. Aren’t we just tired of blaming the previous generations of ruining the planet? Can we change it with our generation? But it involves making sacrifices. We need to share our abundance with those whose basic needs are not being fulfilled. Can we shed the negativity and cynicism. Can we overcome our self esteem issues and believe that can make a difference in this world. And please…please can we change our trajectory and tell our kids we really tried. That we tried and succeeded. That we made the world a beautiful reality for them. That we beat the greed and selfishness that we used to give in to. That unnecessary deaths and suffering are something they won’t have to worry about any more. That we are the generation they can be proud of. That all the children in this world are safe from hurt and pain.
Some of you may be rolling their eyes and wondering why you should change cause life is already beautiful for you. Guess what. We won’t be discouraged. We will change the world with or without you. But we will not judge you. We will not hurt you. We will not even pity you. We will love you despite you working against our objectives. We will forgive you. And in this forgiveness lies the seed of a beautiful tomorrow. Forever. Always.
I was born. I can’t remember. But I am told.
I had dreams in my childhood. Had noble goals.
But just like you, my hours I sold.
For lots of silver and a little gold.
As I got daring. I became bold.
Never caring for others as long as my place I did hold.
I took all I wanted and never did fold.
All of you, around me. We got mental mold.
And time flew by, as the years roll’d.
Now I am waking up to find myself old.
With a truckload of memories and a broken soul.
I accomplished nothing. Buried my dreams in a hole.
And waited for them to turn to diamond…but I only got coal.
Oh, I feel so cold.
I am finally opening my eyes to behold.
A world on fire. People being sold.
They tell me more money will heal me. It’ll make me whole.
“It’s not your problem. Why make it your goal?
You can never change the world. Shut up and play your social role.
Why speak for the poor. Just string them up on a pole.
But not too high. I don’t want their stench. I want it controlled.
Not bothered by their screams. I got my music set above the threshhold.”
Sadly, I have seen the next gen. Like us, they also want to be bankrolled.
There’s no hope for the poor. They will never gain a foothold.
Like their fathers, they will just die of the common cold.
And we will bury them. Make use of them as charcoal.
Enough. Stop it. Before life takes a toll.
I will change the world. Join me or I’ll do it alone.
With or without you. Forever. Always.
“Dear Father, what did you do when the world turned over. Keep spinning. Keep spinning. Send us off to sleep.” – James
These pants don’t burn-ly,