Remember this from last month?
“‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Tennyson wrote that. (I think!) It made me reflect on what resolve my family and other loved ones wish that I had. But what could they see of it when Will alone is not reversing the treachery that is M.E?
I am not terribly eloquent, so you’ll have to excuse my musings tonight.
I’m sorry that it seems to you that I’ve given up. I know no other way to keep the symptoms at bay – I am literally trapped in my own body that betrays me at every hurdle.
Sometimes, I see no way out from myself.
Despite my best efforts.
The physical pain is unbearable and I have borne it. The exhaustion is inexhaustible and I’m exhausted by that fact.
Being ceases to ‘be’ in any meaningful sense sometimes, yet I have no choice but to exist, awaiting its passage from me. At least in this world.
Often this seems the most pragmatic. But it lets me reflect on the blessing that it is to ‘be’ at all.
You claim my bed sucks me into an abyss, sometimes you see in me no more than my physically debilitated self. You identify me with this bed.
The bed that I despise. Or, as I once heard said, I try to unshackle myself from her bondage, yet the symptoms Amplify and I’m filled with anxiety.
Your Will clouds your Vision. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though; what right have I to ask you of anything else – you persist in feeding and sheltering me despite your Will for me? How dare I?
Life speeds on ahead at thundering pace, and is leaving me behind, and holding you back as you care for me whilst I lay, almost always limp, yet tense, in my bed.
I fear sometimes that your comments hold a great deal of Truth. Yet the relentless illness, that strikes with such caprice in her manifested symptoms, are the only kernel to which I cling that convince me of what is Real. Or at the very least, what seems Real to me.
Though the fear of the Next Life haunts me – did I really fail to do my best to rid myself of this state?
Often I wonder what His Will holds for me; and what vision I can manufacture of it. It’s hard to know the Mind of God.
Tell me what choices I have, and I will tell you that you have freed me.
I thought I’d share an excellent video by Giles Meehan – speaking about the condition from which I suffer severely.
Yes, it’s a downer. But it is so important for other people to understand…because the last fifty years of clinical abuse, misunderstanding and mismanagement, have devastated and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of us. This needs to change.
Please watch, and share in a bit of the experience of what it is like to live with this treachery, truly a ‘Modern Plague,’ that is M.E.
With thanks, and love,
Here is my rant for this morning… long awaited I’m sure. My condition is a little treacherous – I had this massive surge of adrenaline and so my ears are ringing furiously, my vision is blurred and the lights seem to be getting brighter all around me, though I’m sitting in near-darkness!
But that makes it a great time to vent over the last two days. I am a Muslim. I am British. I despise these salafist jihadists with every fibre of my being. Yet I will not be subject to simplistic discourses about Muslims being the enemy.
What an incredible distortion of history.
This man has utter contempt for fact.
Funnily, in two days, he has clearly seen no ‘condemnation’ coming from the community (though Mehdi Hasan seems to have been published in every possible outlet, and the now the near-legendary MCB statement is ubiquitous)… one must wonder why on earth this man seeks to absolve himself from any moral agency in terms of what his government is responsible for. Please remember this, if nothing else… our enemies…well they have families too, you know. You kill one…you devastate an entire family also.
One wonders…what about the things that he, dear Tommy Robinson, is responsible for? He speaks of the “Sunni v Shia” fury raging in Iraq…does he not realise that there was not one suicide attack in Iraq prior to his glorious troops’ invasion (yes, they were coerced…that is the nature of the military…they go where they’re sent…and yes, Saddam was a tyrant)… or the so-called ‘liberation’ of the Muslims in Bosnia only came long after Western complicity in massacres… the fact that Syrians are crying out for Western troops comes, to large degree, because of his own country’s warmongering in the region at-large, and the support of fanatic jihadists receiving material from his noble country’s government…driving the war into immeasurable depths.
The thing that I will agree with him about is our rampant support for kingdoms such as Saudi Arabia, which has promoted fanatical Takfiri and Jihadi culture/theology…and my suspicions are that most of these atrocities are carried out by people that adopt such world views. Whether they’re blowing themselves up in Iraq or in Afghanistan, or whether they’re promoting Jihad in Syria whilst ignoring the plights of their brethren in Gaza, Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar… Funny that…where’s their Jihad in Israel? Anjem Choudary was recently asked… the fact that he couldn’t answer coherently is very telling about the nature of these mercenaries and barbarians. For that is what they are. A bunch of paid lunatics…sold to the highest bidder. Only we forget that we actually own them, often. Until they go their own way and then we need to fight them again to remove the weapons from their hands, the ones that we gave them in the first place. As was said…you create the monster…and then act surprised when he behaves like one! Have a memory longer than twelve seconds, people!
But I will not be taught morality by a man who believes a government mercilessly sent troops to liberate people from a dictator, when In fact a war was started on false premises that was never supposed to overthrow him in the first place (the former was merely an excuse to justify our further adventurism, quite frankly), and not when his own government provided the aforementioned dictator the wherewithal to construct chemical weaponry to massacre his own population…when his glorious government was part of a system that led to the death of a million Iraqi children in the ’90s.
Do I support the troops? I can’t say I’m a fan of avid or avowed nationalism, or a military culture that glorifies potential death. As it stands, until there is a shift in our political culture, that “Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious” applies desperately to those that govern us. And we are fools for letting them dominate our discourse.
I don’t glorify death and I don’t like the culture of death. Because then the human body becomes an expendable biological commodity to fight someone else’s war. For me, the preservation of life is a sacred duty. But I support honour. I support the fact that the men and women entering the armed forces are convinced that they are doing so for noble causes, and their families sacrifice much when they are active.
I support them because I believe that to a a large degree, they are pawns being moved about a chessboard by an oligarchy that could not care less whether they lived or they died. They deserve life, because we all deserve life. I do not support their unnecessary deaths, including the one we saw a couple of days ago.
To say I value the life of a British soldier does not go far enough…because my moral responsibility rests on the fact that I am complicit in allowing a soldier to fight an unrighteous, morally bankrupt and illegitimate war, invariably resulting in someone else’s death… because his death could be avoided, because he deserves a chance at life, just like that of the soldier. The only thing is, the soldier goes in prepared to die…what of the innocent children being mercilessly killed by drones operated somewhere in Nevada…and now Waddington…?
What of the civilians blown-up to pieces by multiple-tonne bombs that we fire at densely populated cities…what about the infrastructural damage we committed when we broke up the entire Iraqi medical enterprise because we were afraid of Ba’athists taking over them… what about the thousands of doctors that have had to flee that country invariably causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis….
What about the hundred-thousand people in Pakistan who will now not get Polio vaccinations because the UN has had to withdraw their agents responsible for it, because American irresponsibility in capturing OBL…
I’m not saying a beheading in London was justified… don’t get me wrong. But do you find it shocking when people complain about the deaths caused by the West in the Islamic world? Maybe you fear a religious affinity – we here seem to take exception to deaths on our own soil…when “one of our own” is killed here…yet why do we not so actively condemn the deaths that we are involved in thousands of miles away… we become surprised because of the fact that these “nutters” seem to sympathise with those people so far away… maybe if we practised that sort of charity we wouldn’t need them to do it.
Because in a state of need, I’d rather have your sympathy than that of those “nutters”, for they are no friends of mine.
But don’t trade your morality so that they can fill that moral vacuum.
Yes…as the equally nuttish fellow above says…the war “is with Islam” he declares proudly – we “need to name the enemy” and so forth. So because of my metaphysical beliefs, I’m somehow an enemy of the state? Incredible.
Please share, ‘like’, tweet this piece if you can.
It’s about that time again in the year where for a few days I try to inform you about M.E, or just to promote some awareness of the illness that has devastated my life, and decimated six years of good health from it. The journey continues, and though there have been some improvements for me, I’m still predominantly bedridden conserving the energy so I can leave the house periodically, or walk a few metres…so that I can eat two meals a day at a table with my family…so that I can plan trips to the bathroom…so that I can go on living as normally as I can.
But this goes so far beyond just ‘me’, M.E has devastated the lives of millions the world over; the trouble is that they live in a world where they are met with disbelief, resentment, hostility from medical professionals, family members, society-at-large, institutions that are supposed to protect the vulnerable. I, too, never understood such conditions, until I fell ill with it in December 2007; I never realised how severe it could become because of mismanagement and a lack of medical knowledge, until I became overwhelmingly bedbound in May 2011… a state that I am still trying to overcome every day.
I promise you, at whatever severity, M.E is an unrelenting, gruelling, and even treacherous opponent – don’t underestimate how difficult it can be to live with, at whatever severity; M.E also devastates the lives of families and carers who are left to pick up the pieces after medical mismanagement and relapses… relationships are severed, lives are put on hold, friends are lost, income-streams are broken indefinitely.
So I ask you to please read and share some of the links I will be posting in the coming few days, and perhaps we can begin to change the way M.E is understood. The following is a piece called ‘Silent Screams’ which I wrote last year for M.E Awareness Week, and perhaps it’s worth sharing this again. These are personal accounts but maybe they can provide some insight to you.
“As I lie here, wishing and hoping and simply trying to survive, I (and the thousands like me – severe ME is not rare) should at least have the comfort of knowing that there are many, many well-funded scientists and doctors who are pulling out all the stops in the quest to find a treatment which may restore my health and that the NHS is doing all possible to care for me as I need to be cared for – but I don’t. This wretched, ugly disease is made all the more so through the scandalous lack of research into its most severe form and the lack of necessary, appropriate support for those suffering from it. This is something that must change.”
(From Emily’s Appeal).
When does a life lived become a life lost? This isn’t an attempt at being clever nor rhetorical, for I am neither. However, as I write this, my heart – and those of countless others – beats and in between those beats resonates almost nothingness.
The plight of those afflicted is beyond words, not because it is indescribable but because the level of empathy required to appreciate its severity and extent goes beyond ordinary human capacity. Yet on the rare occasion when one is afforded such dignity in the form of the understanding of her physician or specialist, there is not much that can be done.
How unrelenting are the nights, or how treacherous are the days? How many countless lives go hidden, and forgotten, except when they reach out, demanding to be heard through ‘silent screams’ because their ears cannot bear to hear the owners’ own voices, or when a cry for help results in countless hours of physical pain and suffering?
There are many reasons for which I write this piece. I warn you now that to a great extent, I intend it to be a piece of activism for a condition that, though well-known in the UK, has had a negative press, separating the condition from the sufferer. I have no major expectations for this article; I can merely hope that, by helping to inform some of today’s youth (who overwhelmingly seem to use social media) and tomorrow’s leaders, the discourse would be made more flexible, and that something would consequently be done about M.E.
This week is M.E- Awareness Week; a period intended to bring to the public consciousness the plight of the two-hundred and fifty-thousand (or plus) sufferers in the UK, of a condition whose origins and causes remain unknown, whose experience is very subjective, and whose reality can be terribly cruel.
I often think of it as a selfish disease because it is a very inwardly affecting condition; contained within the body is (for want of a better word) an ‘entity’ which can mar every aspect of one’s life, [from communication, cognition, movement, mood, to the sensory perception of the world]. I’m sure fellow sufferers would agree that their bodies, for much of the time, can turn into cruel prisons. And this isn’t an attempt at rhetorical flourish. A prison, in my view, is a peculiar social institution; far more restrictive, regimented and self-contained, entailing entrapment of the inmate’s ability to do the smallest of things, for which s/he is at the mercy of the guards.
Those guards, or symptoms, which are often present in many cases include extreme fatigue – far beyond any fatigue imaginable, to extreme cognitive impairment, ‘brainfog’ – where speaking, planning and executing of the smallest tasks becomes a gruelling battle of will against oneself; and very disturbed sleep or insomnia, or hypersomnia. Pain, which in many cases can affect the joints, muscles (and sometimes) skin, makes physical contact, exertion and movement very limited. Sensitivities are heightened – (though I don’t drink) I imagine it as having a perpetual hangover; one can become so sensitive that even the dimmest of lights and sounds can send me and others howling with pain, although really, the screams in this case might be silent as sometimes even our own voices can be too much to handle.
Other symptoms can include nausea, muscle weakness, cardiac problems, vertigo, depression, inefficient thermal regulation, abdominal pains and irritable bowels, compromised immune systems, post-exertional fatigue lasting for days, weeks, even months. Perhaps most would agree with me that in whatever way it manifests, one can’t help but to actually feel very ill almost all the time. According to some, there are over sixty symptoms recognised in this condition. Of course, merely listing the symptoms doesn’t begin to do justice to the actual experience of them.
Quite likely is that you have passed someone who lives with this condition; although you might not always recognise that this person is unwell, that (more often) her body is undergoing immense strain, that she is feeling so physically sick that it taints her every experience. Around three-quarters to four-fifths of sufferers experience ME in a mild to moderate capacity, where they may experience some degree of many of the symptoms, and even then, it can have dramatic consequences on the quality of their lives.
And quite likely is it that in their position, they couldn’t (quite justifiably) perceive that their experience could get any worse. Not just in terms of living with and in a body that reacts horrifically at the slightest exertion, but getting support from doctors, social services, benefits agencies, simply because they don’t ‘look’ unwell, or because there aren’t any tests which categorically can diagnose this condition.
You would be quite within the mainstream (and possibly very logically so) if you thought that by this point, M. E. sounds a ridiculous or made-up illness; and unless you had experienced such a plight or similar, or seen it first-hand, you could not understand what a toll this disease, often (flippantly in my view) called ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’, has on a person. I, along with many, would (probably) long for a day when this ‘fatigue’, as defined in the general lexicon, was our only barrier to leading an ‘ordinary’ life. But for most, the reality is much grimmer. To most, the sensation of feeling so incredibly sick, as if [one was running a gruelling marathon whilst suffering the worst flu of their life], is in many cases, something which consumes most of one’s daily life.
Only that they’re not running a marathon; instead this feeling of dis-ease would be brought on by simply preparing or consuming a meal, getting dressed, brushing one’s teeth, reading a few sentences – all of life’s mundane activities that need doing somehow – become a battle of physical, mental and emotional resources.
Yet at its worst, M.E might feel like not merely a prison, but a slave-labour camp where cruel torture is executed on the inmates, often without logic and with extreme prejudice. Again, no flourish intended. Some fifty-thousand sufferers in the UK are predominantly housebound or even bedridden totally, for years; leaving their houses rarely, but always in wheelchairs or on stretchers. The symptoms can include transient or even long-term paralysis, (often extreme) jerking of the body, seizures and unholy pain for which morphine is often not enough.
At its worst, sufferers are confined to their beds, not able to sit up, are fed through tubes going through their noses or directly into their stomachs; they can even often become temporarily blind and mute, and without necessary cause. Unable to bear the slightest light or sound, these patients are denied the luxury that is mere conversation for even a minute, constantly needing to reside in a dark and silent room to stop the body from experiencing even worse pain and overreacting to the slightest stimulus, and the (feeling of) suffering which, to the untrained eye, is incomprehensible, but to the sufferer, is incomprehensibly real.
What is scandalous is that the trained eyes, for example, doctors and other healthcare workers, often refuse to believe, let alone acknowledge, that the suffering exists. This applies to all cases of M.E., mild or otherwise. Governmental funding is extremely limited, despite the condition’s relative frequency, and even larger than we know, as many cases are misdiagnosed, or dismissed by doctors altogether. Many fall into the cracks of a rather broken system.
It is a well-known fact, at least within the M.E. community, that much of the funding goes to psychiatric interventions, or graded exercise in the form of physiotherapy, which, though helpful to some, have made others more ill due to forced rapid overexertion.
I for one, am confined to bed for about 21-22 hours a day; I spend most of the day reclining or propped up, either with my eyes covered or wearing specially made darkened sunglasses in a room with blacked out windows, as far away from the noise of the house as possible, yet still often having to wear earplugs. I have ongoing experience of the seizures, the (thankfully very transient in my case) paralysis and extreme pain for which five painkillers (including morphine) doesn’t always suffice. As a student, I have twice dropped out of university, due to ill health, and experienced times where reading a couple of sentences resulted in my falling asleep on the floor of the university library floor for hours.
But others aren’t so lucky as I. I can have fairly lengthy conversations (for which I often suffer immensely afterwards), or can be propped up by pillows and cushions for some time. Once or twice a month, I can have friends over for short visits, sometimes longer ones. I have the luxury of being able to go for a short wheelchair ride out of the house, given adequate preparation and rest beforehand. I can eat a meal because my nausea can be controlled by three different medications. Other luxuries include being able to watch the odd TV programme if the light and sound sensitivities subside. To sit unsupported for 25 minutes at a time. To hold up a mug most days. To use cutlery. To wash my face or hold up a toothbrush to my mouth. But, like I said, others aren’t so lucky.
The recent death of activist and campaigner Emily Collingridge, piece (whose death was only covered by the Guardian here) who died earlier this year at age 30, after her 20 plus year battle with severe M.E, goes to show how horrific and tragic M.E can be. Her appeal to the world can be found here, which I urge you to read; from which I drew much inspiration for this piece.
I am in no position to say that mild or moderate M.E., is less significant in terms of the sufferer’s plight, as compared to that of the severely affected patient, because I have been there and at the time found it unimaginable to get any more sick; but I hope I can do some justice to those more severely affected than me who have simply been whitewashed out of the public discourse, whose ‘silent screams’ (as a fellow sufferer Chlay put it in her charity single for the ME Association, Silently) whose silent screams, go unheard, because, conveniently, they are unheard.
Countless cases exist where patients have been denied access to benefits, care (even from unbelieving family members), support from their doctors who could often dismiss them as being ‘depressed’, and thus, due to forced overexertion became far more ill than they might have been, had they received the correct support early on. Patients are left self-doubting of their illness, often forcing themselves to simply ‘snap’ out of it, trying to push themselves further in the hope that what ails them would simply disappear. But this often results in is relapse, an exacerbation of all of the previous and new symptoms, rendering them worse-off than before, plunging them into new, unimaginable levels of M.E.
As yet, there is no cure nor a known cause for M.E, and in a way, one might wonder as to how an illness can exist, if the miracles if modern medicine and science don’t know what it is. Some moderate cases, even severe ones can make full or significant recoveries, though a combination of very strict pacing, some graded exercise (**though this can be counterproductive or even damaging if not done very, very gently, and under proper guidance**), nutrition, and luck.
But even so, its grim reality is one that sufferers have to accept, and sometimes, it is by virtue of having to accept its grim reality very fast that is the only way of coping and adapting to this often relentless, sometimes remitting, and always uncompromising and volatile condition, which we include in the folds of the definition of our lives, because it is so pervasive.
We find comfort and hope in the idea that one day, our bodies might rally, as they occasionally do; or in the friends we have; or the activities that we can manage without too much difficulty, because life, even ours, is a precious commodity. It’s such a shame, it can often pass us by. Looking out of one’s window at life, for now, has to suffice in many cases.
Lives stand still, yet the world outside continues to speed ahead with almighty force. It’s not as if we live in isolated bubbles; for those whose eyes can actually bear to see light or have not been blinded by this awful condition – and many of us spend most of, if not all, our lives behind blackout-blinds or thick curtains or lenses of sunglasses in our bedrooms – the seasons and climates change, flowers bloom and die, families grow up and expand around us. All observable, all certain. There is no quest for eternity here, no hidden agenda that the sick continue to cry out for more than what life owes them, no unreasonable demands are asked.
But what life does owe them, aside from certain death, is life itself. And in order for us to die, to have lived would be all that was asked. They would, as I’m sure they’d tell you if they could, those who were not rendered mute or forced to speak in whispers, look forward to death after having lived.
Again this is no attempt at rhetoric. In fact, rhetoric is what serves to undermine the cause, to strip us of our dignity to actually just be ill. The rhetoric of arrogant psychiatrists, unsympathetic relatives, cruel friends and, harsh realities of social institutions designed precisely to protect the vulnerable. To change those things, even without an imminent cure lining the horizon, could make a world of difference.
– Emily’s Appeal (can make for very hard reading. But please read it if you can find the will).
– Chlay’s Chrity Single for the ME Association – Silently
– A great M.E-Awareness video from last year’s appeal by a sufferer, Daisy. Please share via Facebook, Twitter etc.
– The Association of Young People with ME (a charity that has helped me immensely by providing a support network, for those looking for such help):
– The Hummingbirds’ Foundation for ME (has some great articles on the subject)
– Emily Collingridge’s Website – which gives information about her book, which she wrote whilst bedbound when she was more well (and an excellent resource for patients, parents, carers, siblings, etc.), sold through AYME (see above):
– Action for M.E (“Action for M.E. is the leading UK charity for people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) and their carers.”)
If you’ve fallen prey to this awful condition, I must recommend this video to lighten your spirits! It is so tragic that there is a tremendous amount of disbelief and abuse out there in the world…but this is something that made me laugh a great deal and inspired hope in my day! And it’s just really funny, too.
There are those beings that have touched our lives in profound ways – guiding us with that torch of Hope where we only saw Darkness. Emily Collingridge was one such being…a Saint…a human manifestation of Mercy, of Patience, of Love.
Yet I had never met her – but the hope and help that she provided through her invaluable book on Severe M.E let me know, when I relapsed almost two years ago to the day, that I was not alone. When I was cast into a very dark and scary world of Severe M.E.Today marks one year since she passed away at the age of 30 – after a long-fought battle with Severe M.E – a disease which had crippled her since the age of 6. Yet in her ‘later’ years (and it is such a tragedy just to call it that), she wrote a book from her bed, over the course of a few years, even when she couldn’t physically write, to inspire both hope and pragmatism to the lives of the so many who have had to endure this vicious, crippling illness, not just because of what it does to their bodies, but the emotional trauma it causes to them, their families…and perhaps most tragically, to the strain it puts on the humanity of those who are supposed to be working in the compassionate profession.For me, Emily – through her book – provided as space of hope, of empathy, of understanding, where the medical establishment could do no such thing and shrugged their shoulders in bafflement.
I periodically post things about this condition – not only because it has contributed to making my own life extremely difficult these past six years, but because there are those whose suffering is much greater than mine. This condition has a way of ravaging almost all of your resources – where the physical act of living can be a struggle for your sanity. There are those who cannot raise their heads from their beds, who are fed through tubes, whose physical pain would be deemed unbearable if a ‘healthy’ person would experience it just for an hour.
Yet this disease is constantly mischaracterised in the press, is dismissed by much of the medical establishment, and is granted virtually no funding to help to find treatments that might take the edge off, or help to promote recovery. Please read Emily’s Appeal today, if there is one thing you can do – I am a firm believer that change will only come for this community if we start from acts of passive compassion. Just try to understand it first…be ‘aware’, pray if you can.
If you can then do more, please do so; yet if you ask many patients, the first thing they’d say is that they would just appreciate some awareness. Not because they’re martyrs – they are already living with such a plight – but because they are systematically victimised and betrayed by the institutions that are supposed to protect them, and all those that are vulnerable.
May she be at Peace, finally.Links:
An Obituary for Emily Collingridge:
M.E Awareness Video by Daisy H.:
Weber defined the State as that entity which “upholds the claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order.” I imagine that in the logic of a state, it means that it is, or ought to be, the sole claim to legitimate physical force. I mean, why shouldn’t it be? Could you imagine what the state could do to you or me with that kind of power. I say this all rhetorically, of course; however speaking as a minority in an increasingly hostile West I give it ten years before the mass-deportations begin.
Maybe I’m turning into something of a conspiracy-nut (I wonder if Webster Tarpley has a ‘collected essays’ volume…?); I, too, given my experience these last few years given up really on institutions such as conventional medicine , and have begun to wonder what else I might question. The government seems like an easy-enough target – in the wake of the blatant lies told about the WMDs in Iraq, many Americans joined the 9/11 Truther movement – after all, if 9/11 could be the pretext to an illegal war of regime change in two sovereign countries, what else might they have been lying about?
Perhaps I’m too far a Leftist to actually be able to tolerate the likes of Jones, but I honestly have a soft-spot for him (probably right over my cerebral cortex). I think he raises some very valid concerns in his theorising – I am very sceptical of psychiatric interventions, for example…or vaccinations…the economic crisis affecting us all is another; moreover the alternative media has a great way of bringing to the public attention issues which don’t get a second look at in the mainstream…so what I’m saying is, despite not agreeing with everything this fellow and his ilk have to say on various subjects, they constitute and serve a critical function which cannot be provided by the corporate media (except on the odd occasion when they let people like Jones on their shows, as you will see below!)
This is an hysterically-charged interview in which Jones was perhaps most effective in the first four minutes – just watch those if you can’t be bothered to watch more!
I’m not sure what 9/11 had to do with the recent spree of mass-shootings – perhaps this was an attempt to discredit the guest, and thus very unprofessional – nonetheless Jones has a pretty broad church and no-doubt his points of view will resonate with large numbers, perhaps millions of Americans (not that millions are necessarily watching CNN…) when they get to hear about it.
I can understand how Jones fears that there will come a time where the population will have to bear arms against their government – I can’t decry him for his lack of patriotism -considering that there are now armed drones flying over the US and much of the rest of the world, moreover the NDAA has essentially created a state of martial law in the States – we know how wicked the US Government can be toward those whom she captures or wants killed – GTMO, Predator Drone strikes, Bagram, Renditions are just examples of the last decade…however for some reason I cannot but feel utterly sick when I think of guns and the harm they cause.
I loathe them with every aspect of my being, and I hate the culture that has emerged surrounding them. But then, I don’t necessarily approve of the culture surrounding states generally, and in particular, military institutions today. Leo Tolstoy once said of nationalism being:
the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers
A call for a ban on assault weapons or handguns is a red-herring; I’d much prefer calling on the banning of production of armaments, and the banning of exporting guns to international markets…so that they don’t then end up back in our hands, and nor can others kill because we enabled them by not insisting that the same taxes collected from the arms trade are helping to pay for our welfare state or Health Service, or feeding the hungry though international aid be rejected outright; the stigma should be such that these corporations might pack up and go elsewhere (I’d accept that as a start, but this would of-course take concerted efforts from activist groups across the Global North; we might then consider financial aid or some other mechanism to incentivise other governments to not allow these bloody corporations from starting ip elsewhere).
Our bodies should be temples; for metaphysical reasons I cannot grasp how we can feed ourselves with, or benefit from the effects of, funds gathered through such barbarism. Gun culture isn’t enough to explain such violence, especially given that the numbers of stabbings and muggings are on the rise in states even with such bans…this goes right to the core of our souls. As much as guns themselves have the power to create culture which manifests in the world, we tacitly do the same to our souls…
Maybe the Hobbesian or Weberian conceptions of the modern states, and world, ought to be done away with in favour of a new model of governance.
Or maybe I should be a pragmatist and support Chris Rock’s idea:
On a side note here’s an extract from an interview with the always prescient and logical Noam Chomsky in 1994 found here:
Q: Advocates of free access to arms cite the Second Amendment. Do you believe
that it permits unrestricted, uncontrolled possession of guns?
It’s pretty clear that, taken literally, the Second Amendment doesn’t permit
people to have guns. But laws are never taken literally, including amendments
to the Constitution or constitutional rights. Laws permit what the tenor of
the times interprets them as permitting.
But underlying the controversy over guns are some serious questions. There’s
a feeling in the country that people are under attack. I think they’re
misidentifying the source of the attack, but they do feel under attack.
The government is the only power structure that’s even partially accountable
to the population, so naturally the business sectors want to make that the
enemy–not the corporate system, which is totally unaccountable. After decades
of intensive business propaganda, people feel that the government is some
kind of enemy and that they have to defend themselves from it.
It’s not that that doesn’t have its justifications. The government is
authoritarian and commonly hostile to much of the population. But it’s
partially influenceable–and potentially very influenceable–by the general
Many people who advocate keeping guns have fear of the government in the
back of their minds. But that’s a crazy response to a real problem.”
How tragic is it that such people, who shouldn’t be allowed to work with the vulnerable in the first place, are treated with such high esteem. I’ve heard of countless cases of patients who claimed to feel as if they were tortured under his department.
For how long are the community going to stand for this? Marginalised when we protest the inhumane treatment under the model devised by this doctor, or treated as malingerers when these treatment protocols fail to help us (as in my case – I relapsed during the process of being treated using the protocol devised and favoured by him) – what ever happened to patient-focussed medicine? Or rather, care-focussed treatment.