Letter: Stop the powerful

How did we get here? What can be done?

Stop the powerful

I am writing to express sympathy and solidarity with the people of Ukraine, who are the latest to be targeted by greed, self-interest and the violent intentions of powerful men who live, apparently, without compassion or compunction. Lest we take comfort in knowing the ‘bad guys’ are safely contained in Russia, let us not forget the hundreds of thousands of others who’ve lost everything to the empire of the west. People in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, most of South and Central America, Africa and South East Asia have lost all they have at the hands of Western ‘investors’ who are ably and forcefully supported by the armies of the west. Including, regrettably, our own.

I can offer the witness of my own experiences in Israel and Palestine, where the once vibrant dream of an egalitarian society founded in the communal efforts of the Kibbutz has shattered on the rocks of avarice, greed and fear.

Whatever happened to movements for peace? There was a time when the appetites of powerful men, whether eastern or western were met by protests and refusals to participate. When Apartheid was opposed by ordinary people and armed acts of aggression in Vietnam, Mongolia, Poland and Czechoslovakia saw thousands and hundreds of thousands take to the streets while refusing to ship goods to the aggressors.

In our time the wielders of power and wealth are so out of control that their harvests reach deep into our own communities. Housing is unobtainable; men, women and children die in an epidemic of profit driven overdose and victims of unknowable trauma are left to dwindle on street corners. Our climate is disrupted, the last remaining ancient forests traded away for a pittance, oceans are plasticized and the sixth great extinction is upon us. How did we get here? What can be done?

Lots, actually. Beyond taking to the streets in protest, signing petitions and calling for change, we can participate effectively in our institutions and refuse to participate in the ongoing decimation of our world. Support one another, instead of the destructive forces that continue to consume every element of our living world. Get involved in community actions for peace and justice.

Stop the powerful, for they cannot stop themselves.

Thanks for your time.

Keith Simmonds



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