For some reason, I completely missed the fact that we are about to hit a New Years milestone. It took being surrounded by year end lists, when i realized a whole decade had scampered by. Could that be? Has it really been 10 years since we all fretted over a massive Y2K meltdown that was supposed to trample over the wires and ways of computer technology? I guess so. Gee, I still had a little one in diapers back then, and now he's out of my arms, having travelled to Costa Rica to attend a month long international village for 11 and 12 year olds! I also had a little girl who rarely left my side and clung to me like a baby Koala. Now, she's juggling work and school and her network of friends.
I've been driving backwards since I learned that we're about to stamp this decade as complete, allowing the events which will define it to filter up. And the more I thought about it, the more I could see how easily this collection of 10 years could easily be labelled "the fear and loathing decade......" Events beyond our control, were foisted upon us and thrown into our lexicon and lives so radically that we are still reeling and dealing with them, the most obvious being the events of September 11, 2001. Though terrorism was not a new concept, it truly became a personalized one as the fear factor ratcheded up to hyperventilation mode. All of a sudden, it felt like we plummeted into a global cat and mouse, hide and seek game with evil. We watched our leaders puff out their chests and make pronouncements about catching Bin Laden and his boys...... to eradicate Islamic fundamentalism, to target underground cells of disenfranchised Muslims through brute force.
Bin Laden still rules the game of hide and seek.
We have grown in awareness and weariness as the decade tick tocked away. Afghanistan, Iraq, bombings in Indonesia, Bali, Spain, London, weapons of mass destruction were never ever found. War children, extreme poverty, natural disasters where thousands perished despite the ability to prevent it through early detection. Our anger increased as we learned of serious hot spots around the globe where violence and brutality against other religions, children and women. Patriotism was used shamefully to guilt many who expressed their opinions against the violent retaliatons. Politicians continued to stumble and sputter while we became more aware of the smoke and mirrors they held up.
Sadly, Islamic terrorism reared its head again on Christmas day sending the airline industry into a tailspin. Airports are full of weary angry people desparately trying to get on a plane to seek escape. Flying will never, ever be the same again. Our sense of safety will never be the same again.
SARS, Swine, Bird......FLU!!!! We became paralyzingly fearful of the pandemics which reared their gut wrenching illnesses which spread as fast as a sneeze in flight. Warnings became the order of the day. Toronto became a pariah. It took years for that city to regain its reputation as a tourist town. We take this fear and loathing issue as well into the next decade, though many of us are now innoculated. For the time being. Don't you wish you owned stocks in hand sanitizer and face mask making companies?
Politics has also added to the brewing fear and loathing felt in the pits of our collective guts. Has any politician maintained their full integrity? Leadership tanked globally. Lets hope it was just a bad gene pool??
Walls went up........a barbed wire prison the size of a city was the "answer" to an eternal war of hatred. Piracy off the coast of Somalia. AIDS killed. Warlords maimed. We became consumed by raging talking heads........on the left and on the right who believe in their own brilliance as they rant on and on and on throughout the mainstream media and in our newer forms of sharing news and editorials. Most of the best known blogs are lightening rods for nasty loathing and skin crawling opinions. Scandals, fraudulent business schemes and blatant conflicts of interest ran rampant during this decade. If the 70's was the ME Decade, then the first decade of the 21rst century has to be called the ME ME ME decade.....
It's a sad, sad state of affairs we are pulling into the next decade. Reading about the background of the latest terrorist, who came from a well respected, well off family........ who was schooled in International schools, I was struck by a gut wrenching fear that on most days I can keep some control over. Why? Because despite the fact Bin Laden and his boys have targetted disenfranchised humans in war torn African countries and in poverty stricken neighbourhoods filled with angry young men with no future, it was a privileged radical fundamentalist who had chosen that direction, who had consumed the hatred, who tried to blow up the plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit. It made me realize just how doomed we really are, and how we are basically held hostage to their sneaky tactics to kill. No one is safe.
Fear and loathing............sadly, it will continue long after we put this decade to bed.
Tomorrow, I will take on another angle......... Because as much as it has been an emotionally heaving 10 years, in a negative sense, it also was one that has beautiful blooms too. It was bad, but not all bad.