Poverty
An exchange with Lukas Pairon, founder of NewOp

The following is a private e-mail response to an e-mail received from Lukas Pairon.

Lukas, I am particularly appreciative of your wise comments. We are primarily concentrated on getting from one footstep to the next, and have had no time to try to comprehend on how we managed to get to this point and where we may go from here. As it is, the jingoistic flag-waving, acts of war rhetoric and vengeful anger, although understandable, are no substitute for considered foreign policy carried out by those who are supposed to know what they are doing.

You should keep in mind that America itself has been suffering under anti-liberal regimes - check out the recent "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich for an honest portrayal of the ignored underclass here in the US. The coming depression is not going to be fun for anyone.

The twentieth century lesson, repeated several times, that rationalized belief systems can lead to mass suicide, mass genocide and terrorism, cannot be blamed on poverty alone. Rich opportunists like Falwell, Haider, Hitler and Bin Laden, to name just a few, fuel this hatred for their own purposes. With religion and nationalism stirred into the mix, this is an aspect of the human condition that redistribution of wealth, alone, will not fix.

Since all of this starts with denial of another's basic humanity (typically in both directions between the aggriever and aggrieved), all I can do as a creator of music-theater is try to promote listening. You'd be amazed, after all these years, how many people are asking "What is the Taliban?" and "What does Bin Laden actually say?" - and you'd be amazed by how many more people don't want to know, they just want the government to take care of the "problem." I fear that voices such as mine and yours are overwhelmed by simplistic slogans, labels and knee-jerk instincts.

Barry

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Last Updated: September 12, 2007