Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

My friend William sparked off the idea of fear as a blog.

He reckons that today fears, or at least concerns, centre round Brexit, Bacteria, Paedophiles,
Foreigners, Poor people, Food, Tap water and Pollution. In years gone by William’s list would have included Hunger, Disease, War and Moral shame (That’s an interesting one !)

Most of ‘God’s’ creatures have predators, other creatures that want to make a meal of them. We haven’t had many hungry predators since we stopped being hunter gatherers. Before then it must have been a constant background fear.

I started thinking of how our fears have changed over the years. In the 16th. and 17th centuries enslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who lived along the shores of places like Italy, France, Spain and even as far north as England and Iceland.

Pirates (called corsairs) from cities along the Barbary Coast in north Africa would raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside villages to capture men, women and children. The impact of these attacks were devastating – France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships. Through most of the 17th century the English lost at least 400 sailors a year to the slavers and long stretches of the coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. At its peak, the destruction and de-population of some areas probably exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African interior. That must have been another fear to occupy your mind..

Fear seems to be mostly a personal thing and is, for me, in two forms. First there is the sharp electric shock of fear when you are confronted with some dangerous situation, then are the gnawing fears that are lodged somewhere in the back of your mind.
Atom bomb

Being old I can remember fear of the Nazis in WW2, then the cold war and fear of Nuclear Holocaust. The main concern which is lodged deep in the subconscious is the fear of a destructive, violent, cruel predator. One which kills human beings by the million. Paradoxically the predator and the victim is YOU.

There were approximately 17,000 murders in the USA in 2017. In South Africa a total of 21,022 people were murdered between April 2018 and March 2019. Those are what I would call Personal deaths but what happens when our leaders decide that we have an enemy we should destroy. An exact count of the number of casualties is unavailable, but it is estimated that between 70 million and 85 million people died as a result of WWII, killed by the most violent and destructive creature on Earth - human beings. This creature that can turn out great works of art, can send ships to distant planets, build magnificent cathedrals and cure many diseases has an in-built destructive gene. It wipes out entire species, practices ethnic cleansing where people with different beliefs to our own are killed by the million. Our television programmes, films and computer games glorify death and destruction.

That frightens me.

Violent man

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