|Picture by Andrew Corbett|
We all heard the announcement this afternoon that Osama bin Laden has officially been declared dead. There is a sort of "Wizard of Oz" feeling surrounding this announcement, and I half expect to see news footage of a couple of sandal clad legs sticking out from under a stone house on the television. It has made a lot of people happy, and also made people think and talk about the place of Capital Punishment in the world. Miss Holly over at Good Golly Miss Holly summed up my thoughts in her blog post today, so I won't reiterate those thoughts, just direct you over to her blog for a read... War brings out the worst in people, that's for sure, it causes people to feel justified in their own violent thoughts and feelings.
Then I had the opportunity to check out a preview of an hour and fifty minutes of the documentary called The Other Side of the Glass which is up for a short time at vimeo. The documentary is about birth, in hospitals and at home, and yes, it does juxtapose these position and comes to the conclusion that the medical model infringes human rights (the rights of the parents and the child). It looks particularly at the how men are treated in the birth arena, which is often overlooked, but it also looks at how many practices both in the medical and home model impact on the neonate.
One interesting point this documentary made was on how much war-language is used throughout our society, and also in relation to issues surrounding birth choices. Elsewhere in the documentary there was talk of how in times of war, elders in communities are inclined to want to "toughen children up"; to prepare them to fight, and part of this process often includes separating the young infant from his mother and father to break the fragile empathy bond which begins to form in the first moments after birth (when the mother and father shower their helpless baby in unconditional love, and thus teach their child the first lesson of unconditional love-giving). Someone suggests that elders do this almost instinctively.
And so I found myself making the connection between the constant state of war our globe has been in since the end of 1950s, and how at the same time, the medicalisation of birth as grown in that period, possibly undermining the global development of empathy (as a core intuitive emotion, instead of one we must learn to summon because we know intellectually that it is better to try and understand where the other side is coming from). People used to talk about the coming of World War III, but I believe it is here, and has been here since global media brought every conflict in the world into our lounge rooms. So, our children are routinely separated from us at birth (unless home-born) and then grow up seeing war everywhere, and hearing war-language everywhere (the war on aids, eradicating disease, combating obesity), and when they then come home from school and say, "Osama bin Laden was killed today and my teacher said it was a good thing." How do we convince them that war only begets more war, and there is no justifiable reason to kill another person, no matter what they did to however many other people?
This has given me a lot to think about.