Lesson 106 on Learning from contrast
Living between two cultures is odd. Things that are taken for granted in one are unacceptable in the other.
I was thinking about this today, as I was stuck in an hour long queue at Gatwick passport control. I had come from an airport where the border police just looked at the holiday making families with little children and the old age pensioners fussing over where they had put their travel documents, and waved them through.
I was thinking about LB too, as we reach the 107th day.
In my second culture, corruption amongst politicians and government officials is accepted as a matter of course. One local mayor, having been found guilty of a huge fraud involving public money, was freed on bail pending an appeal. He retained his passport. The local paper reported without a hint of irony that that the judge considered this no risk, because “he was a person of integrity!”
As an innocent brought up in Dixon of Dock Green Britain, it is an eye-opener to experience a society that shrugs its collective shoulders and recognises that bad things happen because people who should be honest and committed to the service of others, are corrupt.
It hit me again that what is so hugely hurtful in the struggle for Justice for LB is the bland corporate pretence that their hands are clean, that everything is fine and dandy, that anyone who protests or thinks otherwise must be misguided, stupid or unhinged.
It is this Alice in Wonderland situation which is so appalling and cruel.
The fury that has pulled so many different people into LB’s campaign, springs from the conviction that what happened was just so glaringly wrong. That a system that tries to pass it off as merely “unfortunate” is deeply corrupt.
We can’t countenance the sham of a flawed organisation protecting its interests by picking on the victims of its negligence.
In the heart-felt words of all my fondly remembered pupils
“It isn’t fair!”