The Small Print of Progress: Reaction to Action

Photo: © John Stadnicki, April 2020 / Gloucestershire, UK.

In 1997, Manuel Castells published The Power of Identity warning about the danger of globalisation in a world ill-equipped to control its own expansion. Castells criticised the UN, accusing the top bureaucrats of lack of action and misunderstanding of the nature of a global society facing unprecedented human migration, multi-national production chains, competition and artificial economic stimulation.

The book discusses the practical faults within our systems which promote geo-political competition on one hand, while economies are driven by inefficient externalised production chains, on another hand. Global market fragility and profit-driven progress have become realities which are now making the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic difficult to manage.

For over two decades now, the scientific community launched repeated warning that a pandemic was inevitable, but our socio-economic systems are still taken by surprise, and are unprepared for, the current social, medical and economic challenges.

The pandemic undoubtedly offers a few lessons for us all. Lessons about what deserves to be trusted and valued, appreciated and developed in the years to come after this. The principle of ‘Après moi, le déluge’ [‘after me, the flood‘] has become a danger threatening to destabilise, if not destroy, communities. If ‘a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently a storm ravages half of Europe’ (Edward Lorenz) then we need to accept the reality that we are as safe as the weakest among us. The way out of a crisis comes when we manage to understand the basic principles which brought up our chaos.

Photo: © John Stadnicki, April 2020 / Glocestershire, UK.

Governments have been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic for five months already, and the best shot at managing it is the fierce competition between research centres to produce their own test kits and vaccines. As borders shut between countries that, not long ago, had common economic interests, contracts for protective equipment are signed electronically. The higher bidder wins. Always wins.

As the race for the next Nobel in medicine takes ground, communities struggle to make sense of what constitutes a necessary journey out in town, at a time when years of prosperity have been wiped off the economic whiteboard in a matter of days. It shows how fragile the system was in the first place, how easy it can be to undermine the stability of societies that get their priorities wrong. Across Britain, the political class has given itself another year in employment, with local elections postponed until 7 May 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The employed majority finds itself at the mercy of financial rescue packages, negotiating the small print of bureaucracy.

Unprecedented times, ‘precedented’ actions.

© Maria Stadnicka, 23 April 2020


You can also read ‘Power to the Powerful’, February 2020.

 

Gallery

World Cup Suburbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography: ©John Stadnicki, 2018

The Fragility of a Glass Statue in Front of an Angry Hammer

Behind the screen, I was putting my clothes back on
Thinking what the verdict would be in the white room
(I had been silently waiting my turn
Enjoying somehow the inevitable loss).
But then you dropped the pen,
And looked at the clean x-ray.

I took a chair and moved it back in the middle of the room.
As I sat down, my fingers just briefly touched your face.

I vaguely remember the conversation we had
But I know we said good bye
As I looked back, you waved,
Your left hand folding a notebook.

Since that day, I had been looking the word tenderness up
Just to see if you were right:
The fragility of a glass statue in front of an angry hammer.

A Sense of Duty

Hey, today I do not like apples
They remind me of lost teeth
And I do not sleep as I wait for the rain to stop.

I am ready to jump out of my skin
And say oi! come here world I’m ready to fight you.

You say not the fight is important
But the peace I will make with everything and everybody before I go
The way I love words and soap and your hands, as they quietly rest on the wooden table.

Hey, today I do not like letter ‘s’
It reminds me of separation but after all
You think without ‘s’ there would be no wide-sargasso-sea or stealth
And no serpent or sin or self regard but
A sudden absence.

And I …..keep…..quiet.
I let you start a revolution on my behalf
You the one to decide the colour of this red sea.

Unusual War Photograph

Out in the world, pushed on the battlefield like on a stage,
Without weapons
Just my heart to protect me.
I am wrapped in your heat as I would be in electric blankets
And each day in the open gets longer and longer.
The nights are slowly shrinking and the spring, at last!,
In the middle of this devastating, thick winter,
Makes me a bird.
I’m growing buds from all my skin pores
I am a huge naked flower.
The soldiers stop to have another look at me and take pictures.
I am that kind of unusual war photograph
Which surprisingly managed to survive bombs and bayonets
Despite everything.
I stop in your arms and my long tears enter your chest.
The pain vapours fill the air with salt
Not even the cold wind blow touches us
My roots are milk and honey.

20121007-135313.jpg

Mixed media: Maria Butunoi

Copiii

Ți’ai dus degetele la buze și
Mi’ai făcut semn să tac.
Shhhh!
Nu întreba ce nu poate fi răspuns.
Fii pasăre, fii piatră
Fii ce vrei numai nu
Întreba.

Așa că ți’am întors spatele
Am intrat în somn
Atât cât se poate omenește de fericit.