Bad dreams

21 Mar

Lucy Vauclair

Nuclear bomb

I’m prone to nightmares in periods of uneasiness. In my childhood a large snake slithering through my sheets and eventually choking me to death tormented my sleep. During my teenage years friends dressed as gorillas tended to push me off skyscrapers. My A Level period was haunted by an extremely large vanilla ice-cream cone which would land on my head, drowning me in its creamy goodness. But now I’m dreaming of the earth shaking itself so much it falls apart whilst scary fighter pilots bomb St Andrews with nuclear weapons. And I don’t think this reflects uneasiness about my upcoming graduation.

For a pretty long spell I’ve dreaded turning on the Today programme, accessing my Guardian homepage and listening to the 6 o’clock news because I just feel so disappointed by the decisions our governments are making on our behalf.

The news talks of the on-going series of revolutions in the Middle East. Firstly the Tunisian people fought and won for the right of democracy, and triumphant they stand, bidding farewell to an oppressive and violent dictatorship. Close neighbour Egypt rightly decided they also wanted a slice of democracy pie, leading to the fall of President Mubarak. Though not without civilian injury and death.

Riots in Libya

Our news seems to have forgotten these events now, they are nothing but bygone words and images lost in the dark realms of the internet. And nobody seems to mind; nobody seems to mind if democracy is being played out, as long as we, the West, get what we want out of the situation.

Which leads me to Libya. The Libyan people have a right to rebel, to host a revolution. Yes. But does that mean we should drop bombs all over the country? Does that mean we should arm the people?

The coalition says we should remain impartial….but destroying Gaddafi’s military strongholds and giving weapons to the bizarrely named ‘rebels’ seems to be sending out a pretty lucid message: Gaddafi, you’re time is up.

They say it’s to protect civilians and avoid further bloodshed; an honourable cause indeed. But is it the truth?

I am tired and disappointed by humanity. Though this may sound very “1960s”, but I wish we would just love each other a bit more. I wish we could concentrate on the things we have in common, instead of the things that separate us. I wish we could put an end to power struggles, to superior versus inferior. Most of all I wish that we would stop thinking that it’s acceptable to be so violent all the time.

Destruction similarly seems to be order of the day in our damp and gusty isle. Clegg’s sell-out and the rise of tuition fees makes me fuse. Harsh cuts, despite what Mr Cameron maintains, are leaving the vulnerable the hardest hit. We are all going to have to work for longer for less pay. And that’s if we even get a job. Supposing we are one of the lucky few, we’re expected to dedicate ourselves to the Big Society, a project which assumes we don’t understand the concept of charity work and that we have endless pots of energy, given we have to work longer to make ends meet.

Flooding in Queensland, Australia

As if all this isn’t enough, nature is having a go. Storms devastate an area the size of France and Germany together in Australia. An earthquake destabilizes New Zealand; And Japan is hit by a mammoth earthquake and deadly tsunami. The images of destruction leave me speechless, feeling helpless… and empty. What to say to a country that has suffered such a great tragedy? Nothing.

But there is something we can say about the nuclear problem: look, look at the bad side of it! Look at how it is making an unthinkable situation even worse. Let us learn from this mistake. No, let’s not build a new Sellafield, Mr Berlusconi don’t build 8-10 new plants in your beautiful country. Let’s wake up and find a new, green, solution to our energy requirements.

Do we hear about Japan in the news anymore? Yes we do, but not to hear about the relief effort, to mourn the dead. We hear about Japan to hear about minute amounts of radiation, because they might harm us. What about them?

My words have hardly been a pool of positive inspiration, but that’s because I don’t see our future as being particularly bright. I am sad. And scared. And disappointed. I want to dream of glittering fairies, singing in a harmonious chorus as they drink fennel tea and eat egg sandwiches. But I just don’t think it’s going to happen, at least not any time soon.

Nuclear is not the answer

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