Anyone who pays attention to anything I say might have noticed my commenting and general presence have been a little light over the past few days; whether at work or at home, I have barely been at my desk or at my house over the period. Last week was a killer, and I just could not spend the time on the blog I would like to. As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, I don’t do this for a living, but for fun. I’m aware that the huge queue of comments bogs things down and makes the page run slow – sometimes even crashing the browser (which is funny when you think about it, because so far I have used only 4.14 MB of my allowable space, which barely moves the needle, for the whole blog. How long does it normally take your computer to crunch up 4 MB? Typically not very long), but I can’t seem to get posts out any faster, and I am loathe to discourage free-thinking comments because the Russia-watcher blogosphere agrees we have hands-down the best comment section on the web: I am in awe of the amount of great information, thought and discussion generated by you guys.
Very much in that spirit comes this post, by Johan Meyer. A recent commenter here, Johan is a South African from Saskatchewan – a little like a griffin in a garage in that the two seem to have little in common but a shared first letter – and I think we have quickly learned to respect his intellect and be intrigued by his thinking and analysis. In this post, Johan articulates the need for volunteerism to change the narrative and the direction in North America – a very timely point to make, as I have frequently said it is easy to criticize but much harder to propose solutions. See what you think. Johan?
“In prosperous times migration, outside of work responsibility and vacation, is a rite of old age – one’s responsibilities are taken care of, and one seeks to visit the places that stirred one’s imagination in youth. A few move early, and adopt new homes, but mostly, people go through life in the regions of their birth.
Entire continents are in migration. People flee poverty, disease, and -often foreign-sponsored – political regimes. Others flee with the loot. Neither group is very welcome with their hosts, whether within their native continents, or in ‘the west’.
The host societies grow loath to provide further training and employment of the migrants and their descendants, leading variously to crime – migrants are often housed, with the native underclass, in dilapidated older structures with lead paint, or near freeways, where they may breath the leaded exhaust fumes – now more remaining exhaust fallout, and the arriving generation is often from high lead poisoning countries; riots – crime and unemployment lead to contempt from the police; terrorism – a new generation finds meaning in instrumental yet fringe ideologies addressed mainly to them, such that they become others’ soldiers. The lucky ones end up in ethnic mafias, or employed in dead-end service jobs. By fleeing, their parents failed to escape. Continue reading