The title picture was published in The Nation newspaper on May 28, 2001. A very interesting board is installed below the broken window in the city of Oldham, England during the unrest due to fights between Asian youths and white English people.
My View Of The Picture:
Broken windows and unrest of less magnitude are not usually the big issues where two different ethnicities live together in one city or in considerable numbers in one area. However, the interesting and meaningful thing is the board placed below the window.
The motto of “Live and Let Live” sounds very sweet to everyone who is non-violent. But does this sentence really apply in our world? Does it also sound pleasing to those who have the ability to profit from a disturbed world? If such a motto were applied 100% of the time, it would mean we are living in a Utopia but actually we are living in the real world, which implies that the motto is neither in practice nor has any importance.
It’s my analysis, right or wrong, that the believers in this motto are those who mostly work from 9 to 5 whereas, those against it, purposefully or accidently, are those who are giants in the capitalist arena of this world. I would like to name here the sectors in this last group and these are; governments, arms sellers, media, banks etc. Though they themselves want to live, by their actions they don’t want others to live. Unrest is their fuel whereas unrest can mean death for a common person.
The motto could be interpreted to mean that we should tolerate what others are saying and doing, that we should accept other’s behaviours and practices. In reality, much of the world does not live by the motto used in the featured image. In practice, it lives by the motto ‘live and not let live’.
Starting with the sector of government, everybody knows what many governments do to their own people. I use the word sector because much of government is now being run as enterprise. Corporate giants and politicians themselves invest at the run up to elections and afterwards they reap the profits of their investment and applied efforts in the shape of huge benefits from the corporate sector of government. During this process ‘not’ is shamelessly added before the ‘let live’.
How can arms dealers show profits in their financial statements? By selling more arms, of course!! So how can people who practice the motto “live and let live” sell arms? Yes you’ve got it. I know my readers are intelligent. You just need to put “not” before “let live” in the caption. Here, ‘not ’ is the code for spreading hate and unrest as far as possible. Bingo! our sales graph is going up! Keep it up boys! The hot example is Syria.
Now we turn to media, especially news media. Media is also an interesting tool to add ‘not’ in our motto. The code words here are ‘Opinion’, ‘story’ etc. So, for example, one day the nukes of Pakistan become most dangerous whereas after a few days you read that they are safe. One day you read Saddam is the greatest dictator and has WMD and after some years you read “oops we are sorry!” So here is another way to add ‘not’. Bingo! our ratings are now sky high. Keep it up boys!
Now it’s time to turn to the banks. My readers might be wondering how on earth the banks are the culprits. I think ‘not let live’ does not only mean to kill; it also means to screw you to the extent that you feel that life’s not worth living. So, actually behind the lethal corporate structures I’ve aready mentioned, banks are there to support whatever they do. At the same time, the banks also provide credit facilities to common people for almost every purpose. They introduce lucrative credit schemes which mostly remain lucrative to their fullest extent. From all sides they grab their non-corporate users and knit them in their web and play with them until they die or their lives are not worth living. I still remember the debacle of the early 2000s in the banking sector and how badly it affected people, especially ordinary people of America. They left their homes because the value of their homes was less than the mortgage value and they had nothing to pay. Though here I am touching the boundaries of one of the greatest debates of the world i.e. for and against Capitalism, I will discuss this some other time for sure.
Though it’s very easy to say ‘live and let live’, believe me, it’s a hell of a difficult thing to practice. Because we are humans, we like to be right and to prefer our point of view. We try to persuade others, sometimes forcefully, to accept and agree with what we are saying. Personally, I feel that we can only practice “live and let live” if first we give up believing in another idiom: ‘might is right’.
So what can we do as an individual to live and allow others to live? Though there is no guarantee of course, I am hopeful that if we let others live, we increase the chances that we would also live more. Even though we know that conditions in the world are bleak in places still our individual responsibility is to not lose hope. We should point out the problems and take small steps in the right direction. The first step in the right direction could be to ponder that if we consider “the other” as wrong and do not allow him to live, what happens if “the other” thinks the same about us? A second step could be to study and realize the pain when you become a victim of ‘not let live’. If it’s painful to you then try not to give this pain to others. Thirdly, realize that most personal beliefs don’t develop suddenly. Similarly they can’t be changed suddenly. A true change cannot be made by force. It takes a long process and I am hopeful that small steps could become bigger ones if we keep practicing and spreading these anti-hate sentiments: live and let live!!