Editor, The Nelson Daily:
Congratulations to the MIR Peace Lecture series for bringing in Chris Hedges for his extraordinary talk last Friday, February 28th.
Hedges covered a huge landscape of the world today in a little over an hour. He centered much of his message around the imagery of the novel Moby Dick. The author, Herman Melville, was a prophet of our present times he said.
A key chunk of his analysis was that the narrator in the novel, Ishmael, went along with the madness of the ship’s Captain Ahab, though he knew it was deeply wrong and catastrophic. Chris Hedges says Melville forecast the future for America: the pillaging of the natural world, and the massive denial we live in today.
It was a large crowd listening to Hedges at the Brilliant Cultural Centre. He gave us all a hard head shake, and challenged us to go past our denial. And, surprisingly, the audience gave him a standing ovation for inflicting his painful truth on us.
Hedges won a Pulitizer Prize as a New York Times war correspondent. He described some of the shattering things he’d seen in the Middle East and Africa. And he cried a bit as he described some of the pain and suffering he had witnessed.
That gave us all some insight into his personal mission, to loudly stand and bear witness to what he sees. And that was, I think, his key message: to be truly human and free, is to speak out against the wrong, to act for a better world.
His detailed and scholarly talk brilliantly outlined the triple threat of insanities we face: environmental collapse, economic collapse, and the rise of corporate fascist surveillance and violent control.
He explained clearly how corporate capitalism cannot change course. It is unable and unwilling to stop it’s relentless exploitation of the natural world and of people.
Hedges was deeply involved in the Occupy movement in New York and he told about marching to the massive Goldman Sachs office tower and getting arrested there. He told us how the wealthy investors and analysts inside the glass walled tower laughed and snapped photos of the protestors. They are completely unable to see outside the lure of money and extreme privilege.
They cannot be dissuaded from their business, which, Hedges says, is a forced march to planetary death.
Chris Hedges made it clear we may not succeed in saving the planet from our devastation, but he also made it clear that the only real and honest choice is to try.
We were spellbound listening to his compelling and detailed analysis. It may sound like it was a complete downer, a depressing and glum view of humanity and our world. But in the end, it actually wasn’t.
Because in explaining a bit of his mission, of what makes him tick, Hedges gave us a view of how to find meaning, purpose and even hope.
Keith Wiley, Nelson, BC