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The News

The news hurts to hear, doesn't it? Like the tsunami in Japan, it rushes in at us, towers over us. And, in many cases, it hurts twice. There is the news, and the causes behind the news.

The nuclear plant in Japan was designed to be shut down more than a decade ago. The rest of the world has left Gaddafi to his own devices, to clamp down on Libya year-by-year, and to spiral into the twisted, angled universe of mental illness.

Why did Tokyo Electric continue using the outdated nuclear plant? Was it playing the odds in order to save money?

How is it that the United States invaded Iraq, causing some of the same kinds of destruction Gaddafi's forces have inflicted on his own people--and that was allowed? How is it that the U.S. and its allies sit by, while we continue to hear the most gut-wrenching stories about Libyans and immigrants who simply want to peacefully survive? Who are these mercenaries that kill simply for money? Why has no Arab government made a clear statement on this or made an effort to negotiate with Gaddafi?  Maybe they have, privately.

Maybe they haven't, knowing that one does not negotiate with a megalomaniac. One appeases him, obeys him, adores him for what one may still be able to get from him ...but one does not negotiate. Don't get me wrong:  it would be terrible for the U.S. to "attack" Libya--as wrong as it was to invade Iraq. Yet--how can the world watch this, get all this news, and watch the "rebels" go to their deaths? There is something that feels inherently wrong

Why wouldn't the King of Bahrain want a constitutional monarchy instead of the battles he now has on his hands?  What would have been so wrong with providing equality between Sunni and Shiite Muslims?  What would have been lost?

Couldn't leaders understand that seeing to the basic comfort, health, and economic equality of the people they "rule" is good for their own power, could even help them keep it?  Fear is not the only way to hold power over others. Perhaps, though, fear is an inherent part of holding power--especially unbalanced, dictatorial power.  It's not courage that sends the planes over the heads of Libyan families; it's fear.  It wasn't courage that kept an outdated nuclear plant running; it was most likely fear of losing money.

I think of power in three ways: power to serve, power to manage, power to control.  The power to serve is sacred. The power to manage is useful and necessary. The power to control ultimately becomes the power to break--and be broken.

I watch the news, acutely aware of my human impotence, and hope fervently that  the power of many prayers said round the world will float above the disaster and destruction that have so radically altered the lives of people in lands that are not my own on this planet we all share.


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