Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Once there was a way... 

I'm buying Abbey Road as my comfort album:

Golden Slumbers

Once there was a way to get back homeward.
Once there was a way to get back home.
Sleep pretty darling do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby.
Golden Slumbers fill your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise.
Sleep pretty darling do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby.
Carry That Weight

Boy – you’re gonna carry that weight,
Carry that weight a long time.
I never give you my pillow,
I only send you invitations,
And in the middle of the celebrations I break down.

The End

Oh yeah alright, are you gonna be in my dreams tonight?
And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.
Ah –

I'm delerious. One hour of sleep. Today was one of the most difficult days of my life. Surreal and unreal. Looking at things from a perspective I've never viewed before. It was the end of my innocence regarding this "democracy" we live in. I'll be revising my views accordingly. In the meantime, I'll let someone else do the talking for me:

A brilliant article by Arundhati Roy. Read it.


This is an edited extract from the 2004 Sydney Peace Prize lecture delivered by Arundhati Roy at the Seymour Center last night.

Sometimes there's truth in old cliches. There can be no real peace without justice. And without resistance there will be no justice. Today, it is not merely justice itself, but the idea of justice that is under attack.

The assault on vulnerable, fragile sections of society is so complete, so cruel and so clever that its sheer audacity has eroded our definition of justice. It has forced us to lower our sights, and curtail our expectations. Even among the well-intentioned, the magnificent concept of justice is gradually being substituted with the reduced, far more fragile discourse of "human rights".

This is an alarming shift. The difference is that notions of equality, of parity, have been pried loose and eased out of the equation. It's a process of attrition. Almost unconsciously, we begin to think of justice for the rich and human rights for the poor. Justice for the corporate world, human rights for its victims. Justice for Americans, human rights for Afghans and Iraqis. Justice for the Indian upper castes, human rights for Dalits and Adivasis (if that.) Justice for white Australians, human rights for Aborigines and immigrants (most times, not even that.)

It is becoming more than clear that violating human rights is an inherent and necessary part of the process of implementing a coercive and unjust political and economic structure on the world. Increasingly, human rights violations are being portrayed as the unfortunate, almost accidental, fallout of an otherwise acceptable political and economic system. As though they are a small problem that can be mopped up with a little extra attention from some non-government organisation.

This is why in areas of heightened conflict - in Kashmir and in Iraq for example - human rights professionals are regarded with a degree of suspicion. Many resistance movements in poor countries which are fighting huge injustice and questioning the underlying principles of what constitutes "liberation" and "development" view human rights non-government organisations as modern-day missionaries who have come to take the ugly edge off imperialism - to defuse political anger and to maintain the status quo."