A lot has happened since the last time I checked out the social climate of the world. In a whirlwind month of November, Friday the 13th became a day known worldwide for terrorist attacks against the people and values of France. Terrorism has been going on for some time now and there seems to be no end in sight for the barrage of hatred, violence and terror – from people who desire to make your life one of dread, worry and insecurity. Distrust, hatred, anger, violence and loss of commonalities that bind people together seem to be what the current social climate reflects today.
Back in the day, veterans will recall that the wars in Europe started in much the same manner. An ideology grew into a reality, which grew into a social blight of perfectionism, which we all know cannot survive in the world’s natural orders of life. Nothing can be perfect unless it can be appreciated as such, and fortunately the world didn’t care for Hitler’s version of perfectionism. Peace came with a heavy price and it has always been like this with warring nations. However, it is the recognition that war is useless when waged for social disregard to the global community via the Internet.
Then the Cold War turned us into paranoiacs who believed that the world would be blown into oblivion 30 times over if an equally paranoid world leader with the passwords to launch weapons of mass destruction just because he had a bad hair day…. I could go on, but I’m glad that now we don’t have to worry about instant kablooey or a drawn-out death through radiation exposure.
In my youth, we were told to watch out for Russian spies and submarines. Apparently the Hudson and James bays aren’t very good for listening for foreign submarines due to the contrasts of denser fresh water and lighter salt waters. This echo sonar system’s signal would actually refract, just like a prism does to a ray of light, separating the visual wavelengths into the colours of the rainbow. This sonar refraction makes it ideal for Russian subs to cruise into the Hudson and James bays unseen.
My grandparents experienced this paranoia firsthand, via the radio broadcasts from the south. Towards the end of World War II, the able men were ready to board the sailboat to take them to war, when a radio announcement declared that the conflict was over and the small island of Fort George rejoiced that their men wouldn’t be sent off to fight! Peace was nearly instant but the costs of the war had its toll on the economy right up until the early 1960s. The Cold War offered the first real feeling of fear for our people via the government-run radio networks on shortwave. Peace was now stable – except for the issue of pushing the red button – and everything was cool for a while.
One night, my grandmother went to check out her old house across the street. It was late evening and a flashlight was needed. My grandmother, with her little niece for backup, finished her look around and was ready to leave, when she felt a tug on her sleeve. At that very moment, her flashlight went out. She screamed for help and my grandfather came running. She screamed that the Russian spy had her, but it turned out to be nothing more than the nail used to tie the door shut had caught her sweater sleeve. Hopefully, we can return to this imaginary fear level, instead of this real threat that hovers around us today.