Ok, very very depressingÂ post here… I repeat: very…
WhoÂ hasn’t seen that old tv-movie, The Day After? I watched it, on Belgian television, when I was about twelve or thirteen years old. I don’t think my parents knew what it was about,Â and they probably weren’t paying much attention as it unfolded, because otherwise they would have yanked me away immediately. I still remember the many weeks of depression, anxiety and nightmares that followed it.
Clicking through the channels last week I stumbled upon a rerun.Â DH warned me: should you watch this? But of course I am not a kid anymore – whatever that means. He became annoyed at it because it is such a bad movie,Â but I was (again) glued to the television.
What captured me 20 year ago captured me now: the slow decline of individuals (physical, emotional, spiritual), of society and civilization in the aftermath of nuclear war. It’s a long movie, so there’s lots of time for declining. The grind of it, the slow seeping away of hope is just excruciating. And you know that that’s how it would be. Worse, even.
This time, what stood out was the scene in which farmers congregate wtih an official to be briefed onÂ how to replant the crops. The idea is that theyÂ scrape away the top layer of the topsoil that is contaminated with fall-out. The farmers nearly rebel. ThereÂ is no more gas for vehiclesÂ – there’sÂ a neat shot of a number plate being trod underfoot -Â and only some horses and carts. And what to do with the dead soil? And what is safe? And what to grow?
Someone has posted the entire movie in segments on YouTube (thanks a lot: now I can revisit my obsession endlessly!),Â andÂ you can view the scene here, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Then I read Sharon’s post, about a study that shows that the only way to avoid the critical 2 degree temperature rise is to reduce all industrial emissions worldwide by 100%.Â This post also contains a link to an earlier post of Sharon’s about what her children’s future will look like. She writes that writing this piece made her cry. So did reading it, for me.
And to top it all off, I read in the news that there was an accidental firing of a Patriot missiles in Iraq. Nice going!
Do you ever have that feeling that you’re just pretending? Pretending that it will all be ok? That it won’t be so bad? You look at your childÂ and you just can’t believe that she won’t have what we have – I’m not talking about Lego and bananas, but about water and food, health and safety.
You feel like you want to shield her from this knowledge – even if you can’t shield her from the future – and you want to let her be happy and carefree for as long asÂ possible. But you also feel like you want to prepare her. And some days, well, the future looks so bleak that no kind of preparation seems adequate…
How do you deal with this kind of hopelessness? I know, I know: you stop watching The Day After! And you tell yourself to stop it, because this kind of thinking won’t do anyone any good. But beyond all those negatives?