Jessica Gregson’s blog

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Good evening! Everything is terrible!

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Well, what a fucking awful couple of weeks it’s been. There was the EU referendum and its results; there was (and indeed still is) the subsequent political turmoil in the UK: David Cameron’s resignation, the Tory orgy of bullshit and backstabbing that led to Johnson dropping out of the leadership race and Gove being eliminated and the UK being left with the unpalatable choice of May or Leadsom, but that’s OK, only members of the Conservative Party will get to vote, thus saving the rest of us from the agony of decision. The Labour Party is imploding; hate crime is increasing alarmingly; Nigel Farage made a speech mocking and insulting our European colleagues – the very people the UK will need to negotiate with regarding our post-Brexit position – and then promptly quit, again, like everyone else involved in this shameful farrago.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic: two more extrajudicial killings of African-American men by the US police (Alton Sterling; Philando Castile), and then five police shot after a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. In the immediate aftermath, an American friend commented that these tragedies can be best understood as stemming from the conflict between America’s idea of itself, its national mythology, and its current reality – and I see much of the same dynamic in post-Brexit Britain. People who are poor and disenfranchised and who feel powerless are always going to be susceptible to grand national narratives about their country’s “greatness”. It’s linked to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s warnings about “the danger of a single story”, and is partly why I am deeply wary, on a gut-and-bone level, of any discussion of national values, or indeed values at any level between the individual and the human.

And then we have the bombings in Baghdad, in Dhaka, in Istanbul; we have, as of the past two days, South Sudan seemingly returning to war. Starting with the Pulse shootings and Jo Cox’s murder, this has got to be one of the grimmest – if not the grimmest – 30-days-or-so I have ever lived through, in terms of sheer volume of incidents but also what they mean for where we are and where we’re heading. I’ve never had so many conversations with likeminded friends that end with us staring at one another in despair and disbelief: what do we do? What do we do? I don’t know what we do. I know that everything feels particularly broken and particularly hopeless at the moment. I know, also, that we don’t have the option to sit down, or to turn away, or to back off. I don’t know what comes next, and I don’t know what can be done to fix things, and I don’t know how to end this, and so.

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Written by Jess

July 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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