ND – Grey, Wet, Very Very Blue
If you come to my blog to read about photography then Thank You. If you come here to just read, then Thank You also. The following post has nothing really to do with photography, unless you believe that photography begat film, and film begat television, and television was disrupted by the ‘net and all of these mediums are visual and can convey a message with ever greater effectiveness and timeliness, as well as ease.
If you don’t want to read about photography, then read on.
When i was…
…growing up, there was an idea that people remembered exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard that President John F Kennedy was assassinated. I don’t, i wasn’t even a twinkle at that point, but i can tell you exactly where i was and what i was doing on 11th September 2001.
I had spent a month in New York in late 2000, had marvelled at this vertical city, made friends, and, yes, visited the World Trade Centre on a number of occasions. I remembered the amazing peaceful almost-silence bar the wind from the top of Tower 2, with only the occasional distant blast of a fire truck siren below to remind me that I was in the heart of one of the world’s busiest metropolises.
Hearing a helicopter, failing to find it, then looking down to spot it way below me will be a long memory.
And so it was fresh with memories that the realisation of the story unfolding nearly a year later as i sat in a car showroom, wondering where the staff had gone, dawned on me.
Something about a plane hitting a building.
I’m a pilot. I fly small single engined, and zero engined aircraft. A plane / story larger than that didn’t compute at that point. A B52 had once hit the Empire State Building, but the staff were still gone and one eventually emerged from the television in the back office to say that a second plane had hit another building. They wrapped me up and sent me on my way.
An hour later I was back in the office and it was quiet. I was going to add an obvious adjective to “quiet” here, but it doesn’t seem morally appropriate today.
Walking back into my building, looking down the length of a long corridor, I saw everyone huddled in a group around a single television set, smoke billowing from the downtown icons.
I told them to all go home. Some drifted, others sat transfixed in horror and their own private loneliness.
Here’s a truth…
…most people in our world are good. We’re innocent as babies, slowly shaped and moulded by the cultures and ideologies we’re exposed to, but some take that shaping too far. Some of the strong indoctrinate too successfully some of the weak.
But most people are good.
That applies to all sides too. Except there should not be sides, because we are all fundamentally in this thing called life together. But man divides globally and locally alike, and those differences cause friction.
All of these problems are created by Man.
Don’t get me wrong, difference is great, difference stops the world being boring, difference is essential for human progression because difference produces new ideas, ways of living, technology. Difference gives us benefits that a closed, herded and identical society never could.
The story today…
…spread by those technologies begat by photography, is that of Pastor Terry Jones, the “leader” of a very small following who announced that he wanted to burn the Qur’an in order to “remind the world” on his self-styled “international burn the Qur’an day”.
His understanding and foresight of his actions are shockingly poor. As a pastor does he not want peace? With an almost decade-long war raging still in parts of the middle-east does he think we still need reminding of anything? Almost every day I watch the news to see troops return home dead or seriously injured. So what “reminding” do we need from an individualist with limited followers who has chosen an inflammatory and anti-peace act as a hook to hang his bigotry and insensitivity on?
Pastor Jones adds nothing to the debate; he merely stokes the fire that the world would benefit from extinguishing.
To extinguish is not achieved by lighting a fuse, real or metaphorical.
If the sun is out tomorrow…
…I may wander up a quiet Birmingham canal with a camera to see what images I can make. The biggest hardship I will face is deciding on how to post-process some of them afterwards whilst sitting in my warm comfortable home. I can switch the news off.
That’s my world. Or, at least, that can be my world, if I choose. Because I’m lucky.
Those others that are lucky should hold out a hand of friendship and help, and where help is in vain, then a hand of sympathy and comfort.
…Pastor Jones peace as I wish peace to those I watched protesting and burning American flags at his actions. And I hope that the greatest achievement of the 21st Century is that we come out of it having forgotten about all the fights and conflicts we’ve had before and look to the future as one single yet gloriously diverse world.