If ‘Omelas’ shows us that people can act in wilful ignorance of inequity, it also shows us that people are entirely capable of forgetting inequity altogether. Further still, it suggests that those conscious of the child in the tower are morally capable of calculating its impact upon the world and proceeding anyway. By personifying this calculation of human life, Le Guin shows us that injustice is often a product of a system of justice.
And these passengers, along with the driver, will be unhappy, both as a result of the time you’ve wasted fumbling at the scanner with your bus pass and because of the smell emanating from your long, matted hair, which they’ll have to endure for the rest of your trip. They’ll whisper among themselves as they glare at you and make mock retching gestures.
Australia is a country with no constitutionally enshrined freedom of speech, necessitating case-by-case precedents to set the limits of public disclosure. This year is shaping up to be a defining moment in whether Australia sees itself as a country that rewards people speaking out against wrongdoing, or one that censors free speech to save government embarrassment and in which, in the words of David McBride, ‘only truth-tellers get punished’.
To consider my turn to Get Ready With me videos as a coping mechanism during a time of crisis is to explore my relationship to the future. Against the backdrop of an uncertain future, I view it as a nihilistic impulse – a deeply gendered way of negotiating crisis and break in belief or enthusiasm for alternative futures.
The rulers of global capitalism chose Genoa to use mass violence to break the anti-capitalist movement. They failed. In the face of police terror, a common chant arose: ‘They make misery, we make history.’ Most importantly, however, the Battle of Genoa demonstrated to many that the state is not neutral.