Wednesday, 1 September 2021

September thoughts. Difficult places to live in.

It’s the first of September (already!?!) and there’s a decided chill in the air.  I know that if the cloud cover shifts to let the sun through then the temperature will go up nicely but that is all academic. The fact of the matter is that is that it feels chilly and I may feel obliged to put the heating on. Does the first of September signify the start of autumn? It’s  not just the days but the very seasons that are going by too fast. 

Nonetheless I had a pleasant cycle ride to Uppermill, where the fruit and veg man at the market has the first of his Bramley’s baking apples for the season. No coxes orange pippins eating apples yet though. So autumn is not properly here yet then. 

Life could be worse though.

On a television news report last night I saw footage of the area around New Orleans damaged by Hurricane Ida. Apparently the city itself has not fared too badly. Some of the defences set up after Katrina to protect the city have worked. But in the surrounding area roads have become rivers as the hurricane lifted water out of a lake. People are being rescued by boat. The water surrounding the houses is filthy so anyone with injuries is warned not to get that water onto their wounds because of infection risk. The electricity supply is out because power lines have been damaged and may not be repaired for weeks. And it’s hot, 40+ degrees, and even those who do not need evacuating because of damage have no way to keep their houses cool or to store food and keep it fresh. 

And to cap it all, there are alligators! They know there are alligators. Their presence is not a new thing. This is swamp territory. As a rule though the alligators stay in the swamp but with the road and the housing estates flooded they are venturing further afield. One woman is reported to have tried unsuccessfully to save her husband from an alligator attack.  Not only could she not save him but his body was dragged away. Quite horrific! 

It seems to me that between hurricanes, floods and fires there are parts of the USA that are rapidly becoming uninhabitable. I should stop complaining about weather here in the Northwest of England.

Then this morning I read that while we have brought a lot of refugees from Afghanistan to the UK not all of them have guaranteed settled status. Those who worked for the British military and UK government are able to move to the UK permanently and work under the Arap (Afghan relocations and assistance policy), the Home Office has announced. But the fate of the rest remains to be seen. So our government is caught in a cleft stick between resistance to immigration and the desire to help the refugees. They are calling the whole process “Operation Warm Welcome” I hear. I hope it manages to be as warm as its optimistic name.

Film maker and photographer Wim Wenders was interviewed in the Guardian. He grew up in the ruins of postwar West Germany, and was haunted by dreams of towers falling. After 9/11 he had the chance to take some striking photos of Ground Zero.  That was twenty years ago now. Like a number of people, he is concerned that vows to seek vengeance will not help the situation in the Afghanistan of today: 

“We are discussing his work in the week the Taliban retake Afghanistan, a chilling new chapter in what 9/11 set into motion. Wenders shares the general sentiment that this development is “absolutely horrifying” – but believes there was a brief window when the attacks could have taken history down a different path, away from the endless cycle of war, imperialism and self-interest. “I attended some services in which all the world religions took part,” he says. “It seemed for a while that this event could have an amazing cathartic effect. Bush could have made such a name for himself as a peacekeeper by not reacting with that old and worst reaction, which is revenge.”

The world could have been a very different place. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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