Tuesday, February 22, 2022

The Least of Us

For most of history, it has been left to sovereign nations
To raise concern about the plight of refugees
But it was Matthew, from his gospel writer's station,
Who best reported on how to treat the least of these

The laments of note throughout history have been of the great migrations
The tales of exodus, grit, and survival that prevail in our mythmaking
Think back, if you will, to the great origin stories that take pride of place
Much less, however, is made about the fate of the internally displaced

This semantic framing glosses over the very real trauma for those others
How can it be left to insurance actuaries and international lawyers
To assess the level of pain of a wound, even psychic, in human beings?
A temporary inconvenience is their prized, arbitrary reading of things

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction
Goes the third proposition of Newtonian physics
On the human scale, and in the realm of human affairs,
The notion is couched as blowback that damns the spirit

And the counter effects are known to resound with appalling severity
That hurt fosters revenge, is the brutal lesson of cultural memory
In the good book it was written that justice is in the eye of the beholder
The ellipses will be filled, history's silent treatment is a mere placeholder

A word to the wise, discard social living at your peril
The mosquito principle teaches that man can be feral
Buyer beware, take heed of the treatment meted out to the least of us
First they came for others, but you may well be the next one deemed treasonous

There is no worse feeling than alienation, it leaves the most bitter residue
To walk among people who actively celebrate the hurt inflicted on you
Wrath and ignorance, the mob brings out the worst aspects of our culture
As goes the proverb, try not to die when you are surrounded by vultures

A marshmallow test of sorts is posed in humanity's curriculum
About the interplay in society to gain equilibrium
Whether to exercise restraint or give in to insatiable appetites
The message from your leader: a duty of care, tolerance, and equal rights

equality rosewood park

...

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

— Devotions upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne

The Least of Us, a playlist


A soundtrack for the least of us. I'm conflicted about how to place this internal displacement, originally conceived for a covidious series as it could well fall under the banner of Social Living, do let me know what works better.

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Writing log: March 6, 2021

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