Monday, 7 April 2014
A WAKE UP CALL FROM HISTORY
A Student Federation poster from Chile in 1920 echoes down the years to warn a Jersey public who fail to stand up to those who hijack the democratic process…
I was fascinated in reading about a man, Salvador Allende, who is not only a personal political hero but also without doubt one of the most important champions of democracy of the 20th Century to stumble across details of a 1920’s poster issued by the then FECH Chilean students’ federation newspaper ‘Claridad’ (Clarity). Indeed, given two highly symbolic events of the past seven days here in Jersey the message contained really could not resonate as being any more relevant:
Firstly, the final launch of the Committee of Inquiry into the decades of horrific child abuse concealed from Jersey’s ordinary people by years of corrupt Establishment politicians, ‘law lords’ and media sycophants. And equally, of course, the final ‘heads-in-the-sand’ decision to commit us to the huge burden of a Financial District that within twenty years will be as redundant as the crumbling ‘Off-Shore’ tax evasion industry on which it is based.
For the poster (the words of which I reproduce below) sums up in language as adroit as it is blunt the cost of what happens both individually and as a community when, as Plato so famously highlighted, the ordinary populace fail to engage in the political process or look beyond the lies and motives of those who would tell you theirs’ is the best and only way.
Indeed, replace the names of the Chilean newspapers of the 1920’s quoted within the poster with the Jersey Evening Post, Channel ITV and the local BBC and the words of 94 years ago could have been written specifically about the Jersey of 2014.
The words sum up not just Haut de la Garenne and so many other horrors which were allowed to happen by this failure of humanity but also how the victims/survivors, the two brave police officers who finally set out to drag out the truth; and, indeed, the handful of Leftist politicians and bloggers who stood tall alongside them were then trashed by the Establishment and their lackeys to protect the guilty.
Just as it sheds light on how so many ordinary people continue to be sleep-walked down the crumbling, neo-liberal capitalist road to a moral less Nowhere by the same ‘leaders’ when the evidence of what lies ahead are all around to be seen if only one brave enough to look and see. Read the words of the poster; open your eyes and take heed.
As for Salvador Allende, a great leader whose democratically elected government was destroyed by the mass-murdering fascist General Augusto Pinochet at the behest of equally corrupt US President Richard Nixon – if only we in Jersey had a leader of his stature, vision and commitment to social justice to lead us away from the edge of the Abyss today! As we haven’t I guess it is up to us to save ourselves...
Chilean students’ federation newspaper ‘Claridad’ (Clarity) poster of December 1920
‘You are a coward. Yes a complete coward. And don’t think that we are saying this to attract you to this poster. No. Quite simply, you, whoever you are that is reading this, have you noticed how you live? What is it that you do every day? You are silent when convenient. You always ingratiate yourself with the more powerful. You opine like everyone else. When have you ever raised your voice against the scandalous infamy around you? When? Tomorrow or maybe the day after you may die and what purpose have you served? Do you know what the society we live in is, this capitalist society? Do you know what the society is that we push for and that you try to delay? No doubt you think the same as ‘El Mercurio’, ’La Nacion’ ‘El Diario Illustrado’ etcetera, the same as the newspaper you read every day. Learn for yourself man. Don’t be a puppet. Have some shame. Use your own head, that’s what it’s there for. Find out. Investigate. Don’t be fearful. And don’t leave calmly after reading this. In vain you try to be deaf. You are a coward, at the mercy of he who pays you best, or shouts at you loudest. Don’t fool yourself. When have you ever said anything that could jeopardise you? Because of docile individuals like you the world is unliveable with swine.’
Do you want to be on the easy side or on the side of what is right? I personally am proud to say that no matter the cost I have always stood – and will continue to stand – on the latter.
Keep the Faith.