Jody Vance

Learning from history – by Jody


Getty Images: Anadolu Agency

Anyone else feeling stalled?

I could rattle off a long list of things that stall me, currently: parenting proactively, absorbing mid-life, accepting the realities of aging parents….the state of broadcast today…..I could continue…

What is truly stalling me, once again, takes me back to my childhood and my grandparents.  My grandfather (Jedo, Yugoslav) was rather obsessed with documentaries about WWII. (for the record he also loved All Star Wrestling.) I loved him more than anyone in the world for the first 18 years of my life — and he was a bit of a tough nut — so if there was something to “do” with him, I did it.  I learned a lot about “The War” sitting with Jedo.  He was an historian about Hitler.  He would tell me tales of “that time” — he lived it. He was a soldier. He felt every story and had bullet scars to prove it.

We would talk of genocide – when I was too young to even know what that was – and I’m glad that he didn’t edit or sugar-coat.  Why? Because of him, and his lack of kid-a-fying, I’m now writing this with the question: What are we doing, or more importantly NOT doing?

This is not about Donald Trump. This is not about politics at all — this is about watching as horrific events happen in our world. This is about Syria.  This is about Alepo.

Have you seen the before and after photos?  They keep me awake at night with an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.  This city reminds me of Vancouver in the “before” and then in the after it’s war-torn-fill-in-the-blank.  It’s horror.

As North Americans — democratic society rooted in public safety — should we not be questioning our world leaders? Why isn’t it a world-wide priority to end the suffering of our fellow humans.  Hospitals being bombed to bits? Innocent civilians pounded by ISIS — it reminds me of the programs I watched wiz by in black and white while sitting safely in Jedo’s lap.

Are we debating whether to “let” these refugees into our land? Are you kidding me? What if it were you? What if this was a world your child lived in and no one did anything? I often wondered “where the rest of the world was?” when Hitler was sending millions upon millions to camps and gas chambers.

Now that I’ve given it context, and opinion, it should be noted that I have done NOTHING.  I am ashamed of that. What I need is for a trusted leader to give me a call to action.  Someone to tell me a tangible way we can help.

Like so many I don’t trust the “give us your money and we will help people” ad on Facebook, sorry. This isn’t something that should be left to sort itself out, or to allow to continue even longer than it already has.

This shouldn’t be allowed to stall…..

Any advice as to how to actually help — is welcome.

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  • Reply Jessica November 22, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Amazing commentary on something that a lot of us feel. The helplessness.
    Looking forward to hearing what we can indeed do…something needs to be done.

  • Reply Charlotte Phillips Voice and Creative Services November 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm Hi Jody, This site on Foreign Policy seems to have a balanced and basic informative approach to explaining what is going on in the world of conflicts and what is being done on a world leader – UN scale to “solve” the problems. It puts a few things into perspective and at the very least, answers some of the questions the average citizen of the world might have on these “hotbeds”. What we (moms, etc.) can do is educate ourselves, teach our children to be kind and benevolent, and contribute what we can to make a better world. None of us can solve everything, but each of us can do a small part to solving anything.

    • Reply Jody Vance November 22, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Thank you Charlotte, I appreciate the information. My son and I consume news together (as I did with my Jedo) and discuss exactly what you suggest. It’s a wonderful reminder that we are, in some way, doing SOMETHING. I guess my wish is that we, as a civilization, could do more for those moms on today’s news footage grabbing their pre-mature babies out of incubators…crying… as the last hospital in Aleppo is destroyed.

  • Reply William Prettie November 23, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Well, Exxon is never going to ask me what they should do, Also, all levels of our politicians are captured by the systems and institutions that control our society. Yet, they are, theoretically susceptible to pressure from the electorate. Therefore, I suggest we begin telling each other and our politicos all the thoughts that come up which we think will help change the basics of our currently unjust unfair systems. And I mean all of them incessantly. How about immigration for example? How about starting right now, Canada sets up a system to accept all the climate refugees world-wide this year. Yikes you say! Yes, that would entail a lot of planning building training and logistics money and resources and would stretch every skill set we currently possess. It would also of course, provide Canada with an enormous population of new citizens clamouring for productive work and a meaningful life. Yes, yes I know, I can hear the fat-cats harrumphing about how would it all get to be paid for. Well, guess what? It will never be done in the economic clown show we live under right now. In the meantime though, I would simply switch all the subsidies from big oil to the refugee emergency. Then, I would begin eyeing up all the other subsidies we pay ad nauseum to our corporate overlords. Then too, we would need to overcome our deeply implanted fears of “THE OTHER”. Those people who do not have our “values”. Personally I look at “us” and would welcome a different perspective. Ghandi was once asked what he thought of western civilation and replied that he thought it would be a good idea. Oh and by the way, if we don’t begin to do this now, what will we do when the Greenland ice sheet slips into the Atlantic and the refugees become a billion or more? Machine gun them in the water? As despicable as that sounds I would just like to point out that it is “our” western military machine that is currently “droning” 7 countries who have resources we want. So don’t think that if we just ignore it, well, it will all work out. History remember, includes everything up to this moment so we know it can get much worse. Does all this sound like a scream in the dark to you? All my thinking about how to do it well. How to be fair reasonable and moral is being countered by institutions peopled by the most indoctrinated terrified citizens the world has ever known who believe that to be safe while shopping they must openly carry automatic weaponry. It is definitely time to try something different. Radically different!

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