Ok, so for whatever reason, PBS’ embed code doesn’t seem to be working, so I’ll try to get an actual video link for this article in a few days. Until then, you can scope out the Frontline doc A Class Divided here.
I share the opinion of the teacher who created this experiment – hopefully, one day it will be a thoroughly useless experiment, as the dangers of discrimination are understood as a fundamental evil in our society. Until that day, I would hope that every parent and teacher out there watches this and uses it to rid our world of this unimaginable evil.
As I said to my 8th great physical sciences teacher, a bit of a cranky old guy from St. Lucia, way back in the day – our blood is the same colour. All of humanity’s differences are merely skin deep, and we are but one people living on a small planet hurtling through space at the edge of our galaxy.
There may be as many as 500 million potentially habitable planets – another 500 million Earths, within our galaxy alone.
If we don’t figure out how to live together soon, we have no hope of ever establishing contact with those who assuredly live beyond the Sun. This is an evolutionary step, and we cannot afford to miss it.
Now is the time to fight. Like never before in recent memory have the constructive capabilities of mass communication enabled the world to inform and react to our shared crises like it can today. Whatâ€™s more, we are most definitely still at the very beginning of our journey to finally make the world a Global Village, with all the expected responsibilities, and for those reasons the persons and peoples of the world must chart a careful and conscious course of action. The world is aflame today; any well-informed individual living in the first or second world is likely quite aware of the numerous overlapping conflicts and crises currently affecting the planet. We, for the most part, have unrestricted access to all pertinent data, and as recent events in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, North Africa, Japan, the Arabian Peninsula & Persian Gulf and even the Mid-West indicate, the people of the planet have an incredible power â€“ to mobilize themselves, exchange vast quantities of information, and best of all, to support each other with global micro-philanthropy. As Western powers attempt to control information, they are attacked by anonymous individuals whose only credo is to maintain the full democratization of information and global communications. Try and stop Wikileaks, try to suspend donations for Bradley Manningâ€™s defence fund â€“ your business will suffer, your ability to communicate will be paralyzed. The children of the peaceful, democratic, industrialized world of the `70s, `80s and `90s were cultivated in a era of heretofore unknown interconnectivity, integration and, most importantly, they have largely been educated to believe in core progressive values, such as acceptance, cosmopolitanism, multilingualism and social-democracy. These ideals exist fundamentally in a great number of people, especially if you grew up in Canada during this time, and must be protected and promoted if the human species is to ever evolve our way off this planet and into the great hereafter. The progressives and the fascists spent most of the 20th century slugging it out in an international cluster-fuck of death, depravity and destruction. Today, March 25th 2011, we witness the end game of a Kleptocracy â€“ Qaddafiâ€™s reign is over, and it was the much-loathed Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who made this statement in clear English but a few days ago; today a Canadian is slated to take-over command of the NATO mission. Itâ€™s been an odd week for the Harper Government. No spin, no jive, straight talk Steve Harper at his most remarkable when he declared regime change to be the end goal; today he and his merry band of pugilistic liars lost the confidence of the Parliament â€“ for the third time in five years. I detest this man with every ounce of my being for what he has done to my nation, but at this point I doubt his government will survive this round of screaming, spiteful democracy. If the last thing the Harper Government ever did was to declare Canadaâ€™s intention to wipe-out the homicidal regime of the Lunatic Qaddafi, then I will know the man did at least one just, right thing during his time in office. It doesnâ€™t say much about him as a leader, but it speaks to something that I hope is fundamental to Canadians. We have a responsibility to the world, as all first nations do, to repay our debt to the peoples of the world who do not yet live in the comparative luxury and peace we experience and take for granted. Therefore, it is our responsibility (and only our responsibility) to seek out the means and allies necessary to affect regime changes the world over.
The 21st century belongs to the Global Village â€“ we must destroy all vestiges of despotic regimes in the second and third world now while we can, and secure for all peoples of the world a life free of human bondage. Make no mistake the decadent West enslaves the poorest of the world; weâ€™ve built our economy largely on exploitation. Yes, we are responsible for many of the crises that have defined our times â€“ be it the economic collapse, the deteriorating environment or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the peoples of the nations responsible are awakening, and despite all the chaos, I see love in the hearts of so many fellow citizens. I see the unknown youth of the West taking responsibility for the free-flow of information. I see a youth that cannot be swayed by so much Fox News idiocy. I see progressives rising up and demanding and end to the abuses at home and the abusers abroad.
Thus, this youth of the Global Village must now pool their resources and abilities and declare war on the regressives, the tyrants, and those who seek to abuse us. We, who only dream of a world working as a well-oiled machine, lubricated by the Progressive Meritocracy. We, who were born with love in our hearts, who knew from our earliest days the world was an inherently good place, where love, courage and righteousness always toppled the evil and corrupt. I know Iâ€™m not that different from most middle-class Canadians who grew up in the suburbs. As a child my parents, family and teachers showed me a world of endless possibilities. As a child I was taught to love all as I would love myself, and to create and dream to my heartâ€™s desire. And when my parents were working to provide for our family, a well-imagined network of services ensured I would be raised right. A multilingual, multicultural preschool; an excellent public school with a devoted staff of experience educators, backed up by an even more exemplary Home & School Association of volunteer parents. And then the after-school daycares, the after-school Hebrew lessons and Communion classes. And if that wasnâ€™t enough we also had media specially dedicated to us; Mr. Dressup, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Bob Ross, Passe-Partout and the Umbrella Tree â€“ all those lovely people on TV reaching out and telling me I was good, I was loved and all the world was mine to explore. And now this much-loved and adored generation of hipsters, rappers, freaks and geeks must declare war on that which would deny us the peace, progress and prosperity we were promised in our youth. Our progeny will not live in fear, our kin will not suffer, our clans will be united for once and for all and this Village we truly exist in will finally become self-aware; if attaining the complete and thorough state of global peace and satisfaction is not our universal end-goal, then what is?
Regime change seems to be the battle cry of the 21st century, for better or for worse. Unfortunately it is actually difficult to tell whether this world is better with or without Saddam Hussein, and its too early to tell what will become of Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya â€“ weâ€™ll be in a better position to judge once the World Powers realize their long-term responsibility to effect a lasting global democracy, a world where war, chaos and despotism can be neutralized in a matter of hours or days. Think of all the places in the world where the people live in one kind of bondage or terrorism or another. Realize these nations are armed with old, ineffective equipment, and canâ€™t do much more than abuse their own people with them. Only the democratic, internationalist powers can remove this threat wherever it exists. And once this happens, the Powers must then destroy their own means to annihilate mankind and inflict genocide. In short, now is the time for responsible military intervention, peacekeeping and peacemaking on a heretofore-unknown scale. And while the Conservative elements in our society beef up their machismo by systematically neutralizing all the despots, all the juntas, terrorists etc â€“ the Progressives will rise, get elected into power while government attention is elsewhere, and ensure a just society at home, before turning their efforts to stimulating a globally just civilization with our allies. Poverty, disease, famine, genocide, civil war, economic imbalance â€“ all of this can be eliminated if the world were to finally act as one and pledge itself to democracy, diplomacy, philanthropy and the scientific method. With all these sources of suffering and human bondage removed from the face of the Earth, our singular people will finally conquer the skies above, and solve far greater mysteries than so merely why we happen to inhabit this planet. The grandeur of the Cosmos is ours to discover, yet we spend our time killing for profit and turning our eyes blind to so much death and depravity â€“ abroad and at home. Worse still, we have the gall to believe these problems are unsolvable, and that idealism is misguided or naÃ¯ve.
I used to think this way. But when I look up at the night sky or see a picture like the one above, of the eternal dance of the galaxies, I cannot help but realize these global problems were meant to be conquered, and that this constitutes the next major step in human evolution. We are changing as I write this, and the pace will not slow down. And if you can free yourself to look deep into whatever amount of the universe you can see at night, and spend some contemplating all those stars above, consider the wise words of another man with the initials SH. Stephen Hawking warned members of SETI of the potential dangers in actively trying to contact Extraterrestrial Life (which it seems a great number of people in the scientific community have already taken for granted, realizing that the probability of human beings being alone in our universe is likely impossible). Hawking drew a comparison between human beings in our current state and the Aboriginal Americans at the point of contact â€“ in other words, if weâ€™re not ready for ET, if weâ€™re not mentally and sociologically prepared for contact, weâ€™ll be doomed.
A more serious problem shared by all of humanity I canâ€™t imagine. On the plus side, weâ€™re at the far edge of our galaxy, and havenâ€™t been generating nearly enough inter-stellar noise to flag down our nearest neighbour. In other words, weâ€™re safe for now, but if we donâ€™t start tackling the major problems we all face, we may one day wake up and realize itâ€™s simply too late. Weâ€™ll wake up and realize weâ€™re not alone; and then what?