So I have a big problem with the daily diet of violence and brutality that's served up by the media. I find the endless reports of wars and repression and bigotry so disturbing, but there's no simple way to deal with them.
There's little or nothing I can do to reduce the violence, since it's other people who are responsible. I'm left feeling helpless and hopeless, just passively looking on at the carnage. There's such a constant deluge of violence that I become slightly numbed to it, only half-aware of the full horror and misery. It becomes almost like watching a film, and I have to keep reminding myself that these are real people and real sufferings, not just something hammed up for the cameras.
I could try to ignore the media altogether, so I'm not exposed to all the violence and the tangled emotions it stirs up in me. But it's important to know what's going on in the world, what's happening to other people. I can't just put my head in the sand as if nobody else exists. In any case, the media is now so ubiquitous, so far-reaching, that it's virtually impossible to get away from it. The latest atrocity is beamed instantly into every departure lounge and every health centre.
I could throw myself into all the public protest - signing petitions, going to rallies, talking to my MP, writing to the papers. If I'm feeling exceptionally troubled by something, I'll do that, but at the end of the day, governments usually go their own sweet way and ignore public opinion if it suits them. And no public protest will have any effect on all the unaccountable terrorists, freedom fighters, religious zealots and assorted militants who are pursuing their own notions of justice and adding to the savagery.
Sometimes I think of that old slogan "Stop the world, I want to get off...."
Pic: a woman injured at a rally in Athens over a 15 year old student murdered by police