The Satchel Review - Saturday 21 July, 2012

This week, as with most weeks, you would be forgiven for thinking the world is in a sick and sorry condition, its constituents doing their utmost to make life here even more unpleasant for each other. 

As unwitting cinema-goers settled in for a midnight screening of Batman The Dark Night Rises at the Century Aurora film complex in Denver, Colarado, a 24-year-old man appeared at the front, released a gas cylinder and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding at least 50 others.

"As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family," said US President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the real-life horror story.

"All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends and neighbours, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come."

As the life stories of the victims lost in the senseless attack proliferate media, so too will the sordid, sorry story of their murderer, James Holmes. Perhaps time to reflect, momentarily, on some ideas about reporting on such events sensitively and the human propensity to inflict untamed anger on innocents.

In Syria, a suicide bomber killed members of President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle, including his brother-in-law (who was also his deputy), his national security chief, and his defence minister, as fighting continued in the capital, Damascus. Formerly, most of the fighting had been concentrated in Homs.  

Activists said more than 300 people were killed on Thursday, making it the bloodiest day since insurgents took up weapons in the fight against Assad's regime in March 2011. According to the Syrian Revolution Martyr Database, 19,980 people have been killed since the Syrian civil war broke out 16 months ago.

The UN's refugee agency has received reports of 8,500 to 30,000 people fleeing across the border into Lebanon, while the Free Syrian Army has taken control of the borders crossing into Turkey and Iraq. Used to be that Syria was a safe-haven for Iraqui refugees, including its Christians.

Crisis talks have been held by the UN in Russia and China urging the countries to cooperate with the implementation of sanctions, measures which have been described as toothless in the face of the slaughter.

While it's expected the authoritarian, take-no-prisoners Assad government will fall, as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, regime change (particularly that enforced by the West) never comes easily. As with Burma and Libya, real change has to be led from within. And though we'd like it to happen within a 24-hour social media-led news cycle, it may not occur even in our lifetime.

As we see the implications of the Barclays demise unfold throughout the London financial world and beyond, it's quite clear that self-interest and illegal practises can incubate and flourish just about anywhere when accountability and decency is subverted by the power hungry and gross negligence.

Putting things right out to be on the agenda when all the world is awry... we cannot anticipate who will be caught in the cross-fire. 

Girl With a Satchel


universe93 said...

The name of the film is "The Dark Knight Rises" thank you.