Should I Get My Eyes Tested?

The French are rioting, the Spanish are turning back to the right – where the English have gone and are still in limbo, 80% more unaccompanied minors are arriving in Ireland, all the while politicians and public figures like David Attenborough are telling us that we must change our ways to save the environment and ourselves. This is the gist of some of the article content on the Irish Times website this Tuesday morning. There’s frost on the grass outside the window and sparrows perched on the hedges. What is going on?
I do not feel informed, like you’d hope to feel when reading about your national and European bubble from a reputable broadsheet. Maybe I need to get glasses. I wonder how much an eye test costs? But by the time I would have my new glasses and could read this news and maybe even understand it, there will be fist fulls of new articles online and not even my fancy specs will save me. Maybe I’ll just go blind and get on with the day.
Are all of these distinct events and movements that are in my peripheral awareness somehow connected? The French are rioting over rising oil prices, as the government attempt to reduce carbon emissions. The people apparently have to choose between the ‘End of the World’ and the ‘End of the Month’ eg. their next pay cheque. Link. Environmental crisis directly connected with working class riots in France. My eyes are sharpening up.
So how about the rise of the right thingy in Spain and England? The far right party Vox have taken 12 electoral seats in Andalucía and this is compared to the historic shift towards Brexit and Trump’s version of America. Dissatisfied people and a subsequent dangerous narrative of nationalism emerges. Is there a further dot to be joined with the events in France? People dissatisfied – yes – but this movement is unique as it was organised entirely through social media and has no political party affiliation. There is no specific French voice or political discourse guiding their actions. My eyes are blurry again.
And where is old Ireland’s story in this confused game of connect the dots? And David Attenborough? Leading the article about Ireland’s new young arrivers is a picture of the Calais refugee camp in Northern France. This is where these young people are coming from, and before arriving in Calais they came from ‘Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Syria and Ethiopia, Nigeria, Libya, Morocco, Georgia, Iran, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo’. This list of countries makes my eyes open up. What happened and is happening there? To make young people want to live in the direct provision system in Ireland and if accepted they receive €21.60 a week and cannot work in more than 60 different sectors. There must have been something very dissatisfying going on back home. Something to make them move, fight and sway their opinion like those in France and Spain. Or maybe it’s a little bit different… I don’t know… we have a pretty dissatisfying education here in Ireland when it comes to international issues!
So why are all these people so dissatisfied? Is it a flaw in their human nature? Are they lazy and looking in the wrong places? Or is there is a global systemic connection that somehow spreads this feeling? The one that makes Attenborough tell us that we’re all basically doomed.
My sight is in and out of focus. Maybe I won’t buy the glasses and I’ll use that money to move to Yemen – I never hear of dissatisfied people over there.