I suppose that for many people politics seems something rather remote. For me, it is always close to my heart. Not that I strongly support this or that party, but because the issues are of such consequence. This is perhaps because of my early years having been passed in the Middle East where those consequences are evident in a more raw way. Over my lifetime I have watched as a pivotal region of the world has been systematically wrecked and ruined. Beautiful, cosmopolitan, multi-religious civilisation has been swept away as outside powers have exploited sectarian sentiments to turn the area into a test ground for their latest weapons. Those far away wars are not so far away for me. They, ather, provoke a sense of broken-heartedness.

There is a certain satisfaction in seeing many of the things that I have been predicting for some time coming to pass. The rift between Europe and the USA, the impossibility of America sustaining the role it has held since WWII, pro-EU election victories in France and Netherlands, the increasing role of Russia, Syria not becoming simply another "colour revolution", the realignment of Europe into a more midway position between America and the Eastern powers, and so on. At the same time, it is sad to see the decline of my own country being driven by what seems almost a wilful refusal to consider seriously either the "realpolitik" of the current world situation, or basic issues of value, meaning and direction.

Politics is not just about economic advantage, nor just about the wielding of military power. It is more fundamentally a matter of sentiment, identity and spirit. Who trusts who and why? On the surface there is always a lot of hypocrisy, but underneath forceful emotions stir, feelings powerful enough to cause peace or war. Having spent my early years every evening counting bomb explosions in the town lower down the hill on which we lived, having myself found an explosive device in the garden and taken it to my mother (to her horror) as a curiosity, having gone to school in an armoured personnel carrier, these issues do not seem so academic as they perhaps do to others. Those who have lived their whole lives in a country at peace, who think that the EU is just about money and immigrants, for whom the theatres in which today's wars are actually being fought are unknown territory, perhaps, understandably, care less.

I know there are now many people who do have such strong feelings precipitated by the ecology problem. They too see our world drifting toward disaster with closed eyes. I know that feeling - more dismay than fear. It is a bit like the experience one has when one's car has hit an unseen patch of ice on the road and slides out of control at speed and one helplessly waits to see whether it will come to rest on a grass verge or hit a tree and burst into flames.

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Comment by Jan Wizinowich on June 1, 2017 at 23:24

It seems to be more opportunities than one would want for Buddhist practice. Such a mysterious and seemingly inevitable dark force. 

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