It's funny what a word can do - Weinstein, Trump, Iraq, Euthanasia, Abortion .... Headline words that immediately generate tremendous passion in so many people - and dare I also say, stupidity, ill directed venom and outright hate. But I'll leave the philosophers and social engineers to mull through all that.
The reality is that 99.99% of us will never encounter any of these people/issues yet they continue to suck the oxygen out of the airwaves and cyberspace, whilst in our own families, in our own workplace, in our own neighbourhoods, our own families, our own friends and our own neighbours need our friendship, our time and our love.
I'm working for a couple of weeks in an area called the Pilbara in the NW of our great country of Australia.
Here's a few photos to give you an impression of the place - it's ain't New York and it's a long way from Paris!
The challenges in this part of the world are unique to the area, just as any area has it's own unique set of challenges.
Our first Australians who have lived here for 40 to 50,000 years are a displaced people in their own country. Whislt things are slowly improving with education and improving health delivery, these first peoples continue to die far too young of diseases that have been brought about by the western lifestyle. They fill the local prisons and their level of domestic violence is horrendous with alcohol frequently at the root source.
But the newer occupants of the Pilbara face their own challenges. These fine young folk came here to seek jobs and they've found them aplenty during the boom and bust cycles that inevitably follow the mining industry. But for the young Mums with young children who followed their partners here, isolation and the lack of family support have created levels of anxiety and depression that are totally unacceptably as well. Whilst amongst the young men, booze continues to be the bad guy, rapidly followed by Crystal Meth and other recreational drugs.
I paint a morbid scene and yet this is a wonderful community in a beautiful part of the world.
The first Australians are an incredible group of people with astonishing stories to be shared. All our young folk came here full of enthusiasm, and that has largely been fulfilled, but so much more needs to be done.
In future years, I believe that this area will be the centre of great things but we need to recognise the dignity of the people who are already here and help them develop a sense of worth by encouraging support programs focussed on alleviating their sense of isolation, of not being listened to, of not having token institutions built and then underfunded.
In many ways not much has changed over the past millennia. Back then it was plague and poor sanitation, but at least they had the spiritual support of a belief structure. Now we have depression, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse whilst faith has been superseded by cyberspace!
My first book, Mr Dickens, is about changing peoples hearts and minds by caring enough. The Butcher's Boy will be the first in the Renaissance Brothers series and deals with suffering, hope and redemption. Captain Scully follows the real life story of an early settler in Australia and showcases colonial attitudes and racism and how the individual makes the real difference - not Parliaments or Governors.
There ..... I've got that off my chest. The sun is sinking in the West and I feel thirsty. Maybe it's time to take out a good book and have a read. Maybe you might like to do the same? I know a really good author ;)