Sunlit Uplands?

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In the years and months leading up to December 21st 2012, we were assailed with a range of predictions that this date would be marked by apocalyptic events of different kinds. There was also a belief in some circles that it would mark the start of a period during which our world would undergo a positive spiritual transformation, but in common with a great many other people, I was highly doubtful about these prophecies and as the date in question arrived, then disappeared into history without any accompanying cataclysms, I quickly forgot about it.

Now, however, I find myself wondering if there wasn’t some grain of truth behind these prophecies after all, even if a polarised version has instead manifested itself nearly two years after the date in question. Winston Churchill once made an inspirational speech about the life of the world moving forward into “broad, sunlit uplands”, a term that came to mind with a sense of grim irony when I read this BBC feature about as many as 40,000 Yazidis being trapped on the arid slopes of Mount Sinjar in western Iraq, where it seems that these men, women and children will either die of thirst, with all the agonies such a fate entails, or else be slaughtered en masse by those who regard them as Devil worshippers.

I had long thought that these apocalyptic scenarios were confined to the visions of the mediaeval seer Nostradamus, but they’re a soul corroding physical reality in many parts of the planet we all share in the twenty-first century. For as long as any of us choose to regard any of our fellows as less than human, then it follows that we will continue to witness savage spectacles of a lesser or even greater magnitude paraded before us on our television and computer screens as we sit remote, appalled and powerless to intervene.

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