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About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.
The other day, as I was making my way back from a seminar, a crowd had formed around two men. One of them was clad in a grim reaper costume, his belly hanging out, holding a Syrian flag and was chanting about Putin’s supposed innocence in the recent chemical weapons attack. The other was a man in his mid-sixties with an overarched back, pink in the face, screaming at the grim reaper wannabe about how he reeks of ISIL, for whatever that means. The crowd that gathered stood transfixed as if they were watching a gladiator battle; and admittedly it did actually look like it could be a fight to the death. With each charge, with each epithet spat at one, the other would return the same, only this time more guttural, each inflating with rage to the point where one thought that they could only burst or kiss. Eventually the romantic tension became too much, and the police had to be called to separate them.
I looked at this not with the heartiness of one being provided with entertainment but with complete deflation. For here were two men, not yet acquainted with each other, and yet so full of hatred. Now I’m not one to insist on universal love, but surely there must be a greater prerequisite to hatred for someone than them holding an opposing flag to you. The way they were just so animated, and about something that neither can claim to have full knowledge on (the very matter is shrouded in secrecy; the whole point of there being such controversy lies in the fact that both sides have dubious claims about the other), was just depressing to watch.
This scene only intensified a feeling left dormant for some while – that political apathy isn’t as bad as I first thought it to be. In my earlier teens I used to live by and greatly espouse the notion that ‘if you aren’t angry then you aren’t paying attention’. In reflection I’m now writing this with an almost incredulous grin – how did I never grasp why I was so miserable all the time? It was so obvious. I used to read the news almost insatiably, gorging myself on a diet of injustice, inequality, the lies of political rhetoric, the anger at the apathy of others, all of which just made me view the world through a grey prism. I hadn’t grasped that if you aren’t paying attention then you aren’t angry.
I’m not suggesting to completely detach yourself from politics, but to be less zealous with it. Perhaps those that aren’t paying attention aren’t doing it because they don’t care, but because they they’ve had enough, and they’ll choose when to clock in and out.
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