Saturday, November 05, 2016


A world away from the looming US election, the last days have seen a lot of snow here in Umeå. I make some illy coffee and a sandwich to eat outside while the kids are playing. More than usual, I am struck by how much all of this is an alternative reality, a middle-class fantasy in which the bombing of hospitals in Aleppo or the worsening effects of climate change are just words and images on a tablet screen. When I lived in Hong Kong, I could somehow breathe the Anthropocene with all its great perils and hopes. Here, it is all so virtual, the outside world is only visible in short blips when I am asked by a student if “Russia Today” can be trusted as a news source or when I try to put my own thoughts into another abstract on energy futures. But of course I am worried about all this, about how the liberal world is slowly being grinded down into conspiracy theories and mistrust. We need each other and the world more than ever, there simply must be an end to this backsliding and polarizing identity politics. And as for Tuesday, let’s just hope that the words often (although most likely incorrectly) ascribed to Winston Churchill still hold true: “the Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all other possibilities”.


Post a Comment

<< Home