Without him who can speak of it? – It is our calling to be this witness. The path allows no deviation. The scenes one captures of the collective suffering, the physical and emotional pain, the loss and the hopelessness of situations stay with you. A large part of you becomes the sum of these parts. The faces and the pleas and the dying breaths of the oppressed and the cheated and the victims of the porcine and the avaricious… of the never-have-enoughs, burn inside you, smouldering for periods, raging at times; an inextinguishable fire which fuels both the journey and a honed sense of responsibility. Any journey through environmental degradation is a lonely, thankless one, bringing to light, as it most always does, the collective latent conscience of a people or peoples who have long since succumbed to ignorance in the way the terminally ill embrace morphine, allowing each to kill the pain of the present and blot out the inevitability of the darkness that awaits. Depressing to travel to these places and to feel the toxic breath on the winds. Depressing to see courageous people making the most that they can of land they can neither afford to leave, nor which allows them any chance of a healthy life. More depressing still, is to shout their stories at the top of your lungs; to expose the hypocrisy and double standards of so-called developed worlds; to dare hope to rein in apathy and instil in people some sense of empathy and compassion… a sense of solidarity with the displaced and the persecuted, only to realize that most folk neither listen nor care. Rather than stand up and challenge the status quo, we bend over and welcome the ‘security’ of Orwellian policies, passed by politicians intent on keeping malleable populations under thumb in the dark and have traded yesterday’s liberties for i-pads, reality TV and those daily doses of humiliation all in the name of counter-terrorism. It is incredibly sad to watch such a pathetic demise. – Philip Blenkinsop
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