Why reading the Sunday papers depresses me

Je Suis Charlie signs outside the Hotel De Ville in dijon this week

Je Suis Charlie signs outside the Hotel De Ville in Dijon this week

Living in Chalon, it’s difficult and expensive to find newspapers in English so I signed up to get the Sunday Times on line. After reading my first edition last Sunday I felt depressed. Why?

The Tabac at the Pont St Laurence gets one copy of the Financial Times each day and I have been fighting with some unknown adversary as to which one of us gets there first to buy it. After losing out a number of times I gave up and purchased an on line subscription. As I have not read the paper in English on a regularly basis for almost a year my eyes are fresh.

First the ongoing stories about the shooting in Paris at Charlie Hebdo and two days later at a Jewish Supermarket and 17 people died. This leaves all Western Europeans feeling very vulnerable and afraid. What is the real answer as to why we have these apparently random attacks? How could people that are citizens of France turn on their fellow countrymen and kill them? Is it that they were never made fully welcome in the country and feel that it rejected them? It must be that they feel their real home is being attacked by us and it them against us. We have all got into thinking that force is the only way to solve our problems, instead of finding ways to share the Earth. Mankind has killed each other throughout history. We need to make a bigger effort to help them. At the same time I fully accept they also have to see that force is not in their interest either. We saw that appeasment of  Hitler in the 1930’s led to the devistating WW2.

Then I read about Lake Chad in Africa. This lake has dried up over the last 50 years, due to climate change. 30 million people have lost their lively hood and are starving as they used to fish on the lake or use the water to irrigate their lands to grow crops. This manmade disaster is now blamed for the rise in power of Boko Harem, an Islamic Jihadist group who are trying to carve out an Islamic Caliphate in Northeast Nigeria as they have fed of the despair and misery of the people. A proposal has been made to build a canal across Africa to take water back to the lake to restore it but nobody can agree who will pay the cost. So nothing is happening. Then I read that the MPs in Westminster spent over a million pounds doing up their personal gym.

Aground on Oise River- Getting rescued by barge- no charge glad to help

Aground on Oise River- Getting rescued by barge- no charge glad to help

When I contrast this to our Gap Year, I get depressed. We have had a wonderful successful year. It was made all the more special and safe by the help and friendship of the people we met. We have had to depend on the generosity of strangers many times. I hope we in turn gave friendship, understanding and help to those we met.

The lesson I have learned on the Gap Year is that helping others is fun and good for you and makes a rewarding winning experience for all. We can make life hard or easy for each other by our responses and actions.

Invited to New Year Party in Chalon when our plans to go to England were dashed

Invited to New Year Party in Chalon when our plans to go to England were dashed

So why has the world not learned that we are all connected and when we take from another we all lose. So the people around Lake Chad lose because we won’t take steps to correct the damage we are doing to the environment as it is impacting them before us. Boko Harem might make the connection for us by attacking us.

It’s the same problem with IIAS,  do they feel they have no alternative but to kill us as we are not working to solve why their lives are getting worse.

Group of friends about our boat in Meaux

Group of friends aboard our boat in Meaux

It seems that when we connect on a one to one basis our built in kindness and concern for our fellow man kicks in and we help each other. However, when we are dealing with people on a larger more remote level, we don’t make the same connection or apply the same values. As our mastery of technology grows, so does our ability to do good or harm increases exponentially. We need to realise this now.

We need to find a new way of managing our world so we work for the good of all and help solve the problems like those of the people around Lake Chad and Iraq and Syria. This can only be done at governmental and international level not individual.

Peter and Denni Pringle who told us about Chalon

Peter and Denni Pringle who told us about Chalon

But we as individuals make up our governments so therefore it’s our responsibility. We have to realise if one part of the world prospers and the rest lose, then we are all losers. The answers are not easy, the problems are complex. I for one was not even aware that the Lake Chad was disappearing. Hitler’s rise in power was linked to the depression in Germany caused by paying war damages to France after WW1.  I don’t know yet how I can play my part. I am going to try to find ways to repeat the Gap Year experience in my life.

the dover delivery team who helped me get the boat to France

The dover delivery team who helped me get the boat to France

This entry was posted in Comments on Social Economic Lifestyle in France, People We have Meet on the Gap Year, People who have helped us on our way, Reflections on Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why reading the Sunday papers depresses me

  1. Jo Mason says:

    Adrian,as your looking for a job, how about going into politics? Just reading your last entry on the blog combined with Greece’s internal politics which we have had in double doses recently,has made me wish for someone in power anywhere ( or anyone with any influence) to say it just like that. Warning bells should be ringing everywhere by now but until the scale of greed and corruption that is rife throughout the’civilised’ world is recognized and admitted, none of these issues will be addressed never mind resolved…..anyway- you’ve got my vote in advance! Don’t suppose you could pop over here first and bang a few heads together?!
    Still enjoying the blog , thanks
    Jo and Tom xx


    • agclontarf says:

      Hi Jo great to hear from you. You are right about the greed and corrruption. Its not doing any of us any good. Not sure if politics can sort it as very slow entry process – Adrian


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