Koos Kombuis

Imagine a World without Politicians

2011-12-02 11:28
It is with a growing sense of disbelief and horror that we are watching the slow yet seemingly inevitable implosion of the 'COP-OUT 17' talks in Durban.

Holy Moses! Are these guys really the so-called leaders of the world? How is it possible that they completely lack any sense of urgency?

Come on, you guys! This issue is more important than the fall of the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition, the Cuban missile crisis, the crisis in the Eurozone or even the death of Michael Jackson. This is the real nitty-gritty. This is the scorched earth we live on, this is all we’ve got. For, in case you haven't noticed, the closest other inhabitable planet, if any, is pretty far away. It's way further away than Australia!

There are some leaders who are actually saying, "Let’s delay all this climate shit (I am paraphrasing their words to make it sound even more ridiculous) until we’ve solved the economic crisis. Right now, we don’t have any money. We can't fix anything. What's a couple of floods and tsunamis and extreme weather and mudslides in primitive countries far away to us? Let's deal with the important stuff first…"

Well, I've got news for you, fools. THIS IS the important stuff. And basically, this is all part of the same thing. Whereas the economic crisis was caused by the so-called intelligent civilised countries living beyond their means financially, the global environment crisis was caused by the very same so-called intelligent civilised countries living beyond their means in terms of natural resources, and having done so for an absurdly long time simply because they were too busy hunting for Osama Bin Laden to do some simple arithmetic on their pocket calculators).

Mixed feelings

Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those bleeding-heart anti-capitalists who dream of a Utopian world where everyone should live in tee-pee's and wear tye-die T-shirts and ruin perfectly good suburban neighbourhoods by camping out in the streets. I must admit that, whereas I fully support the brave men and women risking their lives in those countries where the Arab spring has been playing out recently, I have terribly mixed feelings about the retro-hippies 'occupying' Wall Street and so forth. I have a deep suspicion that most of those people are sleeping outside simply because their parents kicked them out after they got tired of all the dirty ash-trays in the guest rooms. They say they're into 'sharing', but what have they got to share? Dream-catchers? Dirty laundry?

Also, I'm a little bit worried, call it a personal bias if you like, but I don't like the word 'socialism'. As columnist Sipho Hlongwane put it so nicely in his column in November's Big Issue: "I don’t fancy (communism) at all. I've never looked good in a uniform." And Douglas Kennedy's spine-chilling novel about East Berlin, The Moment is still too fresh in my memory…

Then again, is the form of capitalism as practised by those big corporations in America really a true reflection of the spirit of entrepreneurship, the free market, the invisible hand, all those things we have always believed in? I mean, do we need Nike tekkies? Do we need Coca-Cola? Do we really?

Maybe these okes camping in the street have some sort of point after all. Maybe they are just gatvol of politicians in general. And, looking at what’s happening in Durbs right now, I can't blame them, for, right now, politicians are guilty of destroying the only planet we've got.

More than four decades ago, the revolutionary anti-establishment gospel singer Larry Norman sang in his monumental tune The Great American Novel: "I wonder who would lead us if none of us would vote?"

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