I may well be a simplistic idealist, but I have never understood how any government can think it is justified in using tanks and guns against unarmed civilians. 1989, as I’ve written here before, was a year which affected me deeply. Coming of age at the end of the Cold War is what has made me such an idealist. I remember feeling buoyed by a tremendous sense of hope for a better future. Those events lit a spark which has never since expired.
Power and politics are all part and parcel of human society. ‘Progress’ is a word with nuanced meaning. Good times follow bad, and bad times follow good. Tyrants only last a single lifetime (however long or short that might be). Dynasties and military juntas likewise fall or are superseded. But thankfully the one constant seems to be memory.
Modern news media can seek to channel our views. Particular governments can try to censor or erase certain references to certain events. But overall people will not forget, nor will they cease to draw their own conclusions. Often an empty space is much more noticeable than one which is let to stand by itself. Our individual acts do matter. We may well stand alone. But if we seek to know and understand for ourselves we will be stronger and wiser. And if we seek to share our knowledge and discuss our different viewpoints openly we can work better together.
My fascination for history and current affairs often disheartens me. I am confounded at how frequently ‘we’ can collectively be corralled and set up in conflicts great and small. I know I’ll never truly understand the workings of the world, nor even my own idealism perhaps, as my jumbled thoughts tumble out here and seem so inadequately and incoherently expressed. Yet, happily, I do know one thing for certain – which is that all my travels so far have only ever given me a genuine affirmation of that spark which I felt first lit in 1989. Consequently – my hopes will always remain rooted in that simple idealism.