When the ringing stops.

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There are some things we are not meant to know; things ‘they’ don’t want us to know; things that ‘they’ go to great lengths to ensure we never find out.

It wasn’t always thus, though. In earlier days, the people in power; the politicians, the religious leaders and the leaders of major corporations acted in the interests of the population. I’m including in that those responsible for forming or directing opinion: the so-called media barons who own and run the information sources; the newspapers, television stations and social platforms.

It all changed when a new breed of … I can’t use the word leader, though that’s how they think of themselves … appeared. Instead of telling us what we needed to hear, what we deserved to hear, what we were meant to hear, these people started telling us what they thought, or decided, we wanted to hear.

But it didn’t start there. Oh, no. Their first move was to condition us to want to hear what they needed us to want to hear. We wanted to hear that our nation was pulling its weight in granting safety to those fleeing war, famine or persecution. They wanted us to prefer to hear that our fair land was being invaded, to our detriment, by hordes of freeloaders. That way, they could come to our rescue by making it difficult for anyone to arrive safely and along an ‘approved’ route and deal harshly with those who dared to try.

We wanted to know that if we, as a people, felt strongly about something, we could attend a peaceful demonstration or protest, and that the powers-that-be would see and take notice. They preferred that we believed that so-called protests were no more than orchestrated anarchy designed to prevent normal peaceful people going about their normal peaceful business. That way, they could come to our rescue by making it illegal to gather and make any noise and deal harshly with those who dared to try.

Do you see where this is going?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines populism as a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.

And yet populism is espoused, directed and promoted by those very established elite groups against whom populism is supposed to be a counter.

But I digress. Let me go back to the beginning. There are some things we are not meant to know; things ‘they’ don’t want us to know; things that ‘they’ go to great lengths to ensure we never find out. One of the chief amongst these is this: what exactly is in the blackness beyond the second arch?

I’d been watching it for several hours; not, in itself, an unpleasant task – the surroundings are nice, the weather most pleasant and the little restaurant around the corner does a panna cotta with raspberry jus that is to die for.

During the time I’d been watching the place, I had seen no less than fifty-three people enter the darkness, but none leave. I checked the chart on the wall – you know, the one that has a big arrow pointing to the words ‘you are here’ – but there’s no indication on it of a one way system and, worryingly, the map doesn’t go beyond the second arch. I asked a few of the staff in the café – the one that does a panna cotta with raspberry jus that is to die for – but they all changed the subject in a very hasty manner, so I was none the wiser.

I suppose there’s only one way I can find out what’s beyond that arch, what exactly is in the darkness, and that’s to venture through it myself.

Here goes, then. I’m approaching the first archway. I’m keeping a firm grip on my bag as there’s always a risk of pickpockets and their like. A family of four is passing into the darkness now. I’ll give them a couple of seconds to clear whatever it is and then I’ll follow in their steps.

It’s eerie. There are a lot of sounds behind me. I can make out the hubbub of the café, the calls of the shopkeepers and street traders, keeping their shops and trading their streets. I can hear the calls of gulls and the songs of other birds. And children. Some shouting in excitement, other crying in frustration. In front of me, I can hear nothing. As I enter the darkness, all I can hear is the familiar screeching of the tinnitus that has been my constant companion for so many years that if it were to stop now, I’d probably miss it.

It just stopped…


This was written in response to Kreative Kue 369 published on this site earlier this week.

 

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