16 Jan 2015

The Uncontacted vs. The Disconnected

I recently came across a French blog article that left me deeply perturbed. It highlighted in a few words the failings of our so-called modern civilisation in coming to terms with the precept of race equality, tolerance and acceptance of a lifestyle model that has been in place for millennia in harmony with all aspects of the natural world, from land to wildlife, and governed by indigenous cultures who are living models of sustainability, ecology, cohesion, coherence, balance, infinite wisdom and spiritual forte.

Pict source: Survival International

Here is the plea of the indigenous Guarani Tribe in Brazil, whose livelihood and survival have been increasingly severely compromised in their own land, on their home turf, on their ancestors soil. Spoliated by the biofuel industry, displaced, chased away, beaten up, broken down, belittled, condemned to make do on land cast-offs, in improvised ramshackle camps by the roadside, reduced to being treated like aliens on their homeland, as refugees deprived of their livelihood and undergoing other dehumanising treatments in the process like forced labour confining them into poverty, and alcoholism, The Guarani addressed the Brazilian government in one last ditch attempt, telling them that they would rather be killed than give up their lands.

The Guarani's livelihood is under threat, and other indigenous tribes across the globe have been going through the same pattern of habitat and lifestyle destruction, since 'modern' civilisation has started poking their noses into the jungles and cloud forests of remote lands so as to commercially extract and exploit their resources, in other words rape out anything that could be turned into cash. In a case of history repeated, we witness the death of a civilisation via the organised legalised commercial looting of its natural resources and the wreckage and pillage of its natural habitats: extensive logging, mining and monoculture farming activities, road and infrastructure building, new towns sprouting, wildlife trafficking, death threats from ranchers, loggers and farmers, and other nuisances. Pollution and the spread of diseases have made the local populations even more vulnerable.

Pict source: Survival International
What is happening is short of a legalised human and ecological holocaust in support of the modern lifestyle model, the super highways that link up the supersize malls across fields of super GMOs, to end up with the Starbucks Soy Latte we sip on the freshly-laid-out timber decking shipped from the Amazon, with the blood splatters from The Guarani coated in lashings of paint. But if corporate banking and the likes of Rio Tinto and Monsanto only care about the bottom line, why would this make us feel complicit as consumers? Because it should.

The irony is that the upwardly mobile super-connected that we believe to be are disconnected from the harsh reality of the world, especially the losing battles that are raging on in those remote forests that our mainstream media shun and block out like this is not to be cared about as long as the suburbia of America, Europe and China can carry on being supplied in decking and soy lattes.

Pict source: Survival International

Let down as always by the Brazilian government long sold out to Corporate America, 170 members of The Guarani, including 70 children, resorted to suicide. They killed themselves so that Corporate may carry on regardless its consumeristic car-crash down the capitalistic road to nowhere. A chimera!

Further Reading:

7 Jan 2015

Freedom of Speech - Forever Charlie Hebdo

Visuals are powerful and impactful means of communication. As pictures, cartoons, illustrations, graphics and other forms of visual expression, they are each conveyors of a thousand words, emotions, actions, messages, ideas, wit, humour, innuendo, controversy, that words fail to express in one instant, one shot, one swoop. A French scandal magazine by the name of Paris Match even made the tagline "Le poids des mots, le choc des photos" (weighty words and shock pictures) its trademark - with an ambiguous play on the word 'weight'. Meanwhile let's just pause for a moment and try to figure out the likes of Life magazine and National Geographic without their image stock. This is simply unfathomable.

The power of the internet has from the start capitalised on the power of images (increasingly at the dispense of words), and social media have harnessed their success based on visuals, a perfect fit to wordless transmission, culture on the go and 'live in the moment' inclination. From the advent of the printing press, satirical magazines like Punch and Le Canard Enchaîné have had a field day with cartoons, building their readership around them. Charlie Hebdo did this too, with its star cartoonists Wolinski, Cabu, Tignous, Honoré, and of course Charlie's chief editor Charb.

Charlie Hebdo (pict source)

Since day one of 1970, Charlie Hebdo has been flirting with controversy. Then again, isn't controversy the one-size-fits-all word used to describe the free-thinking members of society, defenders of Free Speech and Free Press? Charlie Hebdo shot its poison arrows in all directions though, with no affiliation to a political party or faith or creed or line of conduct, just depicting the world around us with a streak of - sometimes acute - sometimes oblique - attitude, objectivity, sarcasm, derision, mostly turning to ridicule anything that took itself too seriously and imperiled freedom at large, democracy as a whole, and republican values. This cost Charlie dearly.

With this obituary cartoon by Charlie to Charlie, La Baguette Magique herein self-proclaims to be one of Charlie's guys ("Je Suis Charlie"). By slaying on this very day 12 people at Charlie's HQ and whereabouts, the terrorist low lives that take themselves way too seriously shot our already ailing Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press but they will not sentence them (us) to silence! Meanwhile the ultra-polished, ultra-sanitised politically-biased media brigade that deliver the news should shut up instead of yet again missing the point with their silly verbiage and pretend affliction.

Charlie Hebdo (02 Nov 2011)
Charlie Hebdo (03 Sept 2013)
Charlie Hebdo (29 Apr 2014)
Charlie Hebdo (16 Sept 2014)