14th November

Gated Communities

‘Nobody here can feel satisfied that we have come to this: to a growing need among us to live behind walls and fences, with rising and falling barriers and sometimes even security guards in sentry-boxes beside those barriers. Have we really lost our faith in the idea of a shared humanity, a common society where all, rich and poor, haves and have-nots, can live together? Must the fortunate be so fearful, so protective, so exclusive, that they come and go in cars with the windows firmly shut, the air-conditioning on, and choose not to see or communicate, let alone to touch?

‘Ladies and gentlemen, the answer is yes. I am sorry to have to speak such an unpalatable truth. Yet I do not accept that we should surrender the world to fear. I reject the idea that the protection of our loved ones and of our carefully nurtured assets, and the exclusion of envy, theft and violence, are unnatural. Equally I reject the idea that it is we who must suffer because we make such choices. Why should we relinquish the world? Who are these people who would take it from us? They are, we are told, the poor, the dispossessed. Who made them poor, if indeed they are poor? If they have no possessions, who dispossessed them? It was not I. It was not you. We did only what we believed was right. We worked for our wealth, our homes, our families. Yet we are the ones who are losing the greater part of the Earth.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe that there are good, hard-working, ethically acceptable people out there. They too are oppressed by the so-called dispossessed. Let us make alliance with them. Let us redefine what we mean by a “gated community”. Let the thieves and muggers be gated. Let us reclaim the Earth and fence them in. Let us make them carry passes and papers and let them change their behaviour and their desires, that they may be considered worthy of sharing in that shared humanity, that common society in which we all believe.

We are the dispossessed. They have dispossessed us of the Earth! We must reclaim it!’

Reader: Charlie West
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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