Last night I had a bad nightmare. It has to be bad for me to remember it (mostly I sleep like a little zen baby) and last night I woke up sweating. It was borne very much of recent events in America. I dreamt the white supremacy marches in Charlottesville spread over the country and Trump took on further powers as a measure to ‘protect democracy’. Country-wide measures were then put in place to separate societies and cultures in order to ‘function peacefully’ – but most knew that what we were looking at was a totalitarian agenda with associative long term goals. Some accepted things, and some protested. A lot of people died and a lot of people did nothing.
Two things kicked this shitty shitty dream off. Yesterday I saw footage of 20-year-old Deandre Harris being beaten by a number of men, with poles, for essentially being black and having a voice. It’s all over the internet and I don’t want to link to it here because I don’t want to see it ever again. It’s worth considering that Deandre is 20. He’s pretty much still a boy, I mean, I didn’t consider myself a woman at 20. You’ve barely pulled your socks up at that age. Men circled him, a boy. They kicked his body and hit him with poles until he was so badly injured that he had to be hospitalised. The second thing that slipped into my dreaming unconscious was a tweet that I retweeted late January when Trump was continuing to fuck things up. It’s a list of Facism hallmarks. Read it. Everything (about Trump + gang) applies. He’s made attempts to condemn the Charlottesville violence, but they go about as far as “it was my dog’s fault, he ate my homework”. His attempts were meant with all the personal sincerity of a globby bit of spit on the pavement.
When through the week, the president has set off the alarm bells at the Anne Frank Centre, devoted to promoting Anne’s dream of no prejudice and peace, it tells you something. Things are going very very badly wrong. The leader of the free world is a man that moves us into this arena of hate and separation, his cronies push, he suppresses truthful and honest media, labelling it ‘fake’. He pitches the extreme and our response in the UK (because we have to cosy-up to the US for trade deals now that Brexit has fucked us…) “Donald Trump’s words are a matter for him”. We condemned it, sure. But we didn’t criticise Trump’s administration for their lack of intervention, we didn’t go far enough. To steal directly from Elie Wiesel:
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”
So why am I loading this abhorrence and my worry about international affairs into a blog about cancer? Two reasons.
1 – I am working (as much as it’s within my actual power (which it isn’t that much)) to stay alive. Across the World think of all the people that could be trying to stay alive right now, that aren’t fine, but are working just to be here. Working for a chance or a shot at seeing some semblance of a future. What is the collective future that we’re all working so hard for going to look like, if the reigns on Trump’s America aren’t addressed and things get worse? The global scene just makes me want to give up right now, because I don’t know whether I can happily live in a world where we treat fellow humans so terribly, just because of who they are. It stands against everything that I was ever taught or believe.
2 – My treatment involves a lot of places. The GPs, the hospital; the radiology suite, the surgical table, the chemo room, the psychologist’s chair, my oncologists terrifying office (you can never what news an appointment will bring). Within these spaces, humans have treated me, carried my hopes, addressed my physical and mental states. This team of people that help me along come from a multitude of different ethnic diversities, backgrounds, whatever. They/we/I – all are the same. The team have given nothing but love, care and attention, and to think that in the US some are actively working to try and separate people on grounds of any kind of hierarchical system based upon who they are is beyond ludicrous. My cancer team are humans and they give human love – it’s that simple. Globally, the situation is exactly the same – we’re all human regardless of where/who we were born of.
So here’s to calling out the haters that drag us all down, because tomorrow deserves better. It really does.
** a short update on other things **
I’m doing ok. Pain is up a bit, I’m tired a lot and I’m about to go in for another round of radiation next week coupled with chemo which is going to leave me feeling
a bit meh effing terrible. If I’m honest, I’m scared about the second round of radiotherapy treatment. I feel weaker, but there’s nothing else for it. These are the realities of treatment and this is the course.