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Steel Grey Men Who Don't Blink
January 1, 2007, BelovedCommunity.info, Steel Grey Men Who Don't Blink, by Carl House.
Some things have been happening which have planted in my mind an observation. The world is dominated by "steel grey men who don't blink". All the instincts by which I grew up, which, by the way, were the same instincts that Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld grew up with, make me resonate strongly with that expression. But that sentiment gives me a limited set of options for dealing with a challenge. And, I'm thinking of all the "steel grey men who don't blink" in the the Sudan, Somalia, Washington DC, Kosovo, the Central African Republic, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Chad and Chile. We're all being the best we can be which is the same thing that the U.S. Marine Corps invited me to be. Meanwhile, I'm not thinking about people who are getting malaria because they don't have a mosquito net, or flu because the means for innoculations are not getting into Kenya or Zimbabwe or Somalia, or getting AIDS because the mentality of my culture is that men deserve access to women and women are not empowered to resist because we live in Pakistan or many of the other countries listed above. And, I'm not thinking about the fact that things won't be much different for the next generation. What chance do children there have for being different from what they see.
I'm thinking that the approach of the "steel grey men who don't blink" is not working. In America that mentality is balanced by an estrogen fed mentality that is able to see other options. Compromise is easier and being right is less important and some of us don't mind blinking . We're more ready to live into what has been taught to us by Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi, and Buddha and Jesus and Moses, I think, by Mohammed as well.
Nicholas Kristof has been telling me for several years that that balance simply does not exist in many developing countries. I'm thinking that some of us might want to stop investing in a strategy that is not working. I'm thinking that aid, mission monies, welfare payments, and all these things we're doing that are meant to make the world a better place should put as their core priority the protection of children and the empowerment of women. Let the "steel grey men who don't blink" continue to do their best. I believe they are sincere. But I want to learn more about who is helping children to grow up with less damage and who is helping women to have a voice in their own destiny and in the destiny of their cultures. I think their voice is needed.
John Nganga says there are 60 million people on the planet who have AIDS and that 25 million people have already died of AIDS and I know that a very big majority of these people are in Africa. At Christmas'06 the results of a computer simulation were announced saying that the median prediction of the number of people who will die in the next big flu epidemic is 81 million and that 96% of them will be in developing countries. These will be the most horrific devestations that have ever hit our planet. And avoiding them is entirely under our control. Behaviour changes and better health systems are all that is needed and we know how to achieve these things. All we have to do is care enough to get past graft, corruption, incompetence, greed, pride and tribalism. We are not likely to manage this in our generation, but let's start putting in place the forces that will make it possible someday. Here and there we have gotten past these things. All cultures have had at least a few people who were beyond this. I think we can learn how to have more of them.