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TRIAGE

I am in an angry and sad place right now. I’m sad that R Murray Schafer has died. He was 88 and has done a lot of good work so it’s a tempered sadness as I work on gazhals prompted by his string quartets. I am sad that Dave Barber has died. He is my age and has done a lot of good work so I am sad on a personal scale for having lost him as a friend and colleague when at work for the Winnipeg Film Group, and for the loss of his programming expertise for Cinematheque.

Image by Allan Harding MacKay.

Mostly I am angry and sad about what’s happening in Afghanistan. This could easily have been and probably was predicted by advisers to Dis United States administration. I agree with the general sentiment that it’s time that the USA stopped being the policeman of the world, or building empires. I am however sad that the United Nations has not come back into the country when Dis United States departed leaving the country to the Taliban.

The Taliban took Afghanistan so quickly it could only have been agreed to before hand with many of the local population tired of the corruption common in this so called attempt to bring democracy to Afghanistan. It’s a law and order government that’ll happen, it will subjugate women almost certainly.

At the moment there is a promise that women will be able to educate women just like midwives are women and are allowed to touch women in childbirth but male doctors are not which still means that there is more death in childbirth and high infant mortality rates higher then in many or most countries. Wait and see.

I know I know killing to support  human rights doesn’t make any logical sense. “But if I had a rocket launcher…” Or life is unfair and we should just accept it as such. I am a lucky man. This is where I run into my problem. Under the Taliban the rights of women to free speech, freedom of movement, freedom to be educated will be wiped out within months.

Yes I know I know that was already happening. I think the best suggestion I heard about this was to arm the women. And see what happens, it can’t be any worse. Teaching them to grow food has not stopped the collapse of human rights, which could never ever even be mentioned when I was there in 2008.

And that’s the essential conundrum in Afghanistan explained to me. It’s a choice between bad and worse. It’s not a choice between good and bad it’s a choice between bad and worse. At the time when I was in Afghanistan in 2008 that meant the occupation was bad, but the Taliban is worse. Yes that’s now present tense, but we’re told this is Taliban 2.0. speaking Urdu not Pashto. Educated, and from Pakistan who will be the new occupiers. Pakistan? Likely they’ve negotiated an end to drone strikes there as well.

So Prime Minister how will you bring 20,000 vulnerable Afghans to Canada now, in the middle of an election, a pandemic and wildfires? Triage.

I can’t watch; and start thinking how to raise money to help educate girls and women wherever in the world they are not treated as human equal to men. This means in our Canada too, where Indigenous girls and boys too often do not have equal opportunities for clean water, housing or an education.

Today I do not feel up to the challenge, happy the lives of my granddaughters will be better than my mother’s, and better than the girls’ in Afghanistan. I am sad and angry about racism in our Canada, about the need of clean water, housing and education for Indigenous peoples. In Canada I can see a bit of hope now and then, there has been some movement towards improvement, however slow. In Afghanistan life will fall back,  likely moored in teaching of the uncleanliness of women, and the superiority of men.

So we teach our Canadian children human rights and reading,  and support others risking their lives to teach girls and women around the world, teachers under threat of death and dismemberment. Triage.

My manual wheelchair disintegrated under  my butt, and our handicapped equipped van broke down likely for the last time. The left channel on my amplifier is gone and there are too many passwords keeping me from my work as a writer and as a consumer. My puny sorrows. I am a lucky man.

Covid-19 infections are way up in our valley as wildfires torch the surrounding forests. Hurrah for the front line workers, the firefighters, the paramedics!  Our house is safe and insured. Triage.

And then there are the ruins of capitalism observed in tin cocoons by billionaires circling the earth life is good they say life is good. Triage.

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