One of the lucky ones

My last post was rather down in the dumps. Some might even call it an exercise in self pity, and maybe it is. I do realize, though, that I am one of the lucky ones. I have a job. Many people don’t, including many people in my profession. I think of this quite often given that I teach Master’s and PhD level students in library and information science every semester, and frequently am called upon to write letters of reference for them.

In the midst of this difficult time, one of the ways I’ve been cheering myself up (sarcasm) is by learning more about historical events including the Holocaust and, more recently, the Balkan Wars. Real uplifting stuff — not. It started when a family member sent me a link to the video testimony of a Holocaust survivor. The video was almost six hours long, but in turns fascinating and horrifying. There are dozens of these testimonial videos, perhaps hundreds, and I am grateful for this publicly available witness. I have watched several more, and they give the world an indelible opportunity to understand what happened.

I have also been doing a lot of reading. A recent novel had as the main backdrop to its storyline, the wars in the former Yugoslavia. The story was truly gripping and sparked my interest in learning more about these relatively recent events. Unlike World War II, these events are ones I witnessed and lived through, but from a great distance. I really did not pay much attention to them at all, I’m ashamed to admit. Although I’ve dug up many different videos relating to these wars to watch, one particularly long video that I watched last night gave me a fairly complete sense of the intricate sequence of events that resulted in these wars, which is really helpful.

A primary and somewhat alarming realization gained from all of this is how similar these events are to the present day and how they fit like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into an overall explanatory map of why things are happening today. I do not claim to have a clear overall picture; instead, I see a lot of parallels and lessons from these events that explain or elucidate the present day political landscape. And frankly, the more I learn, the scarier things get. These events really do help to see through at least some of the deliberate political fog of the present day. I realize even more now how very dangerous the political climate is in the U.S. and what might still happen. I also see a clear pattern of devious political influence from external sources that should never be underestimated. As a general rule, Americans are grossly ignorant and self-absorbed, and we ignore world events at our peril.

In sum, this is yet another heartwarming, uplifting post for readers. (In case it isn’t clear, that is sarcasm, too.) However, I believe in the One who holds the whole world in His hands, and nothing is a surprise to Him. He knows all things, sees all things, and understands the deepest depths of our dark hearts. He loves us anyway.

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