Sitting on the train, the station around me dilapidated, the renovations yet to progress this far along the platforms. A 1960’s relic, concrete and steel, smoked glass and fifty years of grime and dirt at the centre of the busy, industrious city. A landmark, an iconic structure once, now being reclad in mirrored silver sheets, reflecting the city and its occupants to themselves, one side reflecting the new shopping mall, a monument to conspicuous consumption, the other side revealing the rotting corpse of a city in decline, its industrial heritage lost so long ago now that very few remember it. Above all, overwhelming the polished mirror finish, the dull, flat grey of the overcast sky, the suns warming rays barely penetrating the gloomy pall, the new clothes dressing the fading building mirroring the dark mood at the heart of am area where the divide between the have and have nots is so sharply brought into focus. The high streets of the city centre once homes to the better class of department store now alternating between betting shops, second hand stores, loan companies and the ubiquitous cheap and very definitely nasty food retailers. The denizens shell suited and permed, fake tanned and dripping with fake bling. The contrast to the clean floors and sweeping curves of the redeveloped end of town. The denizens there no better in their attitude or compassion, no better in their hearts or minds, but disguising their ugliness as the buildings they move between mask their true nature with a veneer of respectability. The shiny suit, the polished shoes, the expensive watches and jewellery and in the multi-storey carparks, the flash cars.
It doesn’t have to be like this, a straight choice between have and have not, a World defined and categorised by greed and wealth, humanities nature subsumed by an all consuming hatred each man for all others. There is a better way, and as I sit on the train, feeling the movement as my journey begins a tear forms in the corner of my eye as I think how easy it would be to step back from it all, to withdraw, to retreat to the safety of work, of mundane conversation about what was on TV last night, to stop thinking about all that is wrong with the World and the people in it. To stop caring….
….But that isn’t the way. That isn’t how this game is played. There is no rest, no cease from this battle that we should fight every day, with every ounce of strength we have, no mercy, no compassion, no relent from the fight against the forces that have brought humanity to this point, because every time another pair of eyes shuts, every time another voice is silenced, every time another of us turns their back and walks away the World moves one step closer to the edge….. and that will never do, because it’s a long war we’re fighting against ourselves….