Alongside a desire for broader social change, counterculturalists longed for community and connection with like-minded people in ways that challenged traditional forms of social sustenance and conventional lifestyles. This history is still alive in how we imagine and experience the urban space today.
Robert Fisk understood that war was not a natural state of affairs and would prompt his readers to challenge official narratives and to ignore the Hollywood myth of ‘… victory and defeat, heroism and cowardice … War is primarily about the total failure of the human spirit.’ His respect and empathy for the victims of war made him fervent and indignant, and caused him to side with them.
Galea’s recent alleged embrace of Christianity and nonviolence may be a healthier response to his incarceration than might otherwise be expected, but the rampant paranoia and resentment that fuelled his actions remains widespread among his ilk on the outside. The constant platforming of racist and xenophobic propagandists, both on the fringe and in the mainstream, will only reinforce these reactionary tendencies. As such, and if US politics is anything to go by, it seems likely that there will be more Galeas in future.
From Georgetown, Guyana to London, England, sugar and ideas have long circulated. But the history of the Booker prize is itself imperial, its funding originating from agribusiness conglomerate that has its routes in the nineteenth century sugar trade. Where many are aware that Cecil Rhodes owned large swathes of what is now Zimbabwe, fewer recall the Booker’s reliance on slavery in Guyana.
Over and over again, this pandemic has offered a simple lesson that we have refused to absorb: that precarious work with low pay and few, if any, protections is a blight on individuals and societies. Like our punitive welfare system, it distorts and dehumanises, makes individuals acutely vulnerable to health and financial stressors of all kinds, and is a disease vector.