Friday, October 1, 2010

Be My Guest

Just three years ago, if you had told me that I would be in China listening to a Mayor give a celebratory speech in their former capital city,  I would have laughed in your face.  At that time I held the views that had still washed my brain; unable to separate politics from people, unable to separate the -isms and -ists. Yet, as I stood there, surrounded by red I took in this semi-bizarre moment as I watched 5 foreign businessmen being awarded honorary citizenship to the sound of light applause as we all held our wine glasses waiting to toast the moment.  I didn't see Communism celebrated in the room.  I saw money celebrated, jobs, self-interest, and commerce....dare I say the word...Capitalism.
As I watched the performers all play their roles, there was no difference.  The music may have been different.  The clothing of their imperial culture displayed.  However, I looked carefully at the venue, held in the purple mountain area.  I saw the haves and no have nots.  I saw the classes of power, money and academia present.  Of course jobs are always celebrated, and the flow of money, but I was struck by the odd performance.  Perhaps it was that I was comparing it to the many ceremonies and speeches I had seen in the past and finding absolutely no difference.
I had felt like I was the only one who openly noticed the show and admired it instead of treating it like wallpaper. 
And the original closing words of George Orwell's Animal Farm came to my mind,  The original ending of the book that existed before the CIA purchased it when they remade the movie.   "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

Perhaps I am one of the creatures looking in just to tell you, there is no difference.  

As Orwell also wrote, Some animals are more equal than others. 


Patricia ~ The Naked Writer said...

looks beautiful on the outside at least ;O)i was in china for day once and felt totally repressed the airport when it said that possessing any kind of drugs would lead to the death penalty...that's pretty severe!

Marilyn said...

Yes, it is a severe penalty. If you value your life, you just don't do it, because it isn't worth the risk. However I have never had a desire to any drugs of any sort. The irony is I have never felt repressed...and the shocking truth is I have actually felt more repressed in the States. How does one feel like that in a place that is supposed to be called the land of the free when all I could see were people who were enslaved by all sorts of things? So it depends on your definition of freedom. Is there free speech? Or is everyone now driven to be politically correct? Are we too busy being the thought police or are we so busy parroting memes to each other? Let's take it one step further, are we too busy being brands and icons that we forgot what it is like to be an individual?

YogaSavy said...

Looks beautiful form the outside. People in India live to survive. Those below the poverty line have no aim but to get their next meal.
Life seems to throw curve balls everyday and the day to day runnings can test one's limits.
I have more respect for those living here and dealing with the basic necessities of life.

Marilyn said...

In every country there are the haves and have nots. In every country we see the same struggle. There are no Utopian societies. Not a single one that employs all according to their abilities and provides for all when we use pyramid structures for power. All tribes have chiefs. All structures reward according to our unwritten and written perceptions of reward and punishment. If we look closely, we see there are no differences, just different names. We claim differences to separate ourselves, but the reality is I see more and more western influences around the world. Then again, it isn't really western is human nature. The daily struggle is what many face all around the world and no country is immune. Poverty doesn't discriminate...and it usually is a harbinger of war. You do what you can, whether it is to feed one or hundreds. To say it doesn't make a difference is like making an excuse to do nothing. That one person would agree.

awitchtrying said...

It would be so easy to get swept up in that beauty and forget that there are any people not represented there. I think that is a part of so many problems- if some are out of sight, they are certainly out of mind. And those in power and with so much simply do not mind. It's not their problem that others have less or nothing because somehow they feel that in giving to others, they would lose something themselves. Such a sad perception...

Marilyn said...

I was walking down a street yesterday and saw an elderly man sitting with his begging bowl and I stopped and made the effort to dig up some money to give to him. I saw a smile of joy and gratitude that I wanted to remember for payment. I was half-way down the street as a group of young Chinese men kicked over his bowl and started howling with laughter. One of the men, went back and picked up the bowl and put all of his money back in.

We are not kind to our own. Just look in your streets. We try to hide our national shame of homelessness and poverty where ever we are in the world until it is not able to be hidden anymore.

As I see pictures of celebrities, like Arnold Schwarzenegger pictured sitting on old Imperial throne replicas, I remember the importance of knowing the source of their power. It comes from us and not from a dragon.

We all have the power to change the way the world is with one act at a time. It makes a difference to the single person we touch and the people who touched our lives along the way...well, they had the courage to do so because we allowed ourselves to be touched.

My point is...we all are the same. The labels are different. We all are the same.

Marla said...

We ARE all the same. The good, the bad, the caring and the indifferent.

Love this post, Marilyn.

Marilyn said...

Thank you Marla...I think that is where it starts...admitting we are human.