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Stan’s Stuff

The scariest photo I have seen this millennium

The picture went around the world. They knew it would. Vladimir Putin, the ruler of Russia, embracing Kim Jong Un, the supreme ruler of North Korean.
 |  Stan Stewart  | 

Friends of convenience and power embrace each other for the world to see.

In doing this they were giving the finger to the West, in fact to every country in the rest of the world. Through their photo, I hear them smugly saying, “If you’re not on our side you are on the wrong side of history.”

Anyone who reads or watches documentaries will know that North Korea is a terrible country – probably the worst in the world, when it comes to human rights.

It is a one-party state cut off from the rest of the world. The elite, a small portion of the population, are window dressing for large events such as Putin’s visit. The rest of the population exist in very difficult, oppressive circumstances.

Over the years many have risked their lives attempting to escape from this regime.

For two days this month, Putin visited North Korea. He was feted by Kim Jong Un. His picture on huge banners adorned the main thoroughfares.

They signed mutual defense pacts and vowed lasting friendship and co-operation. They hugged and beamed for the cameras. The principal motivation for this encounter was that Putin needs arms and munitions for his war in the Ukraine, and Kim needs two things: 1. International recognition and, 2. Russian rubles.

Why was I scared?

The world already knew Putin is driven to achieve his goals, no matter what. Over the last two years, his oligarch friends (?) Have got his message(fatal) – “Cease your good life in the West or you might just jump out of the window of a multi-story hotel or succumb to an ailment you didn’t know you had.”

The message is, don’t stand in the way of Putin’s ambitions and Putin’s ambitions are boundless. He is clearly saying, “Nothing will stand in the way of my achieving my goals. Nothing!”

The picture of his embracing Kim Jong Un says it all.

To what can I compare this? Imagine if you can visualise Greta Thunberg being crowned Miss Queensland and feted in huge parades. I know my Queensland coal miner and rancher friends would boil with irritation at the thought. Greta and coal rich Queensland and the beef growing capital of Australia just won’t fit.  This combination doesn’t work.

Putin’s ‘bromance’ with Kim Jong Un was just as unlikely but power and convenience made it work.

In my mind I add into all this confusion the almost unbelievable spectacle of the up-coming election in the US.

I feel like we are entering a time of great instability. To say I feel like we are standing on the edge of a precipice is not to stretch things too far.

What am I to do about this? Nothing! I’ve lived most of my life span. I may have been buffeted a bit by global developments but compared with storms that are brewing, I’ve had a great ride. Talk about a good life, in human history none have had it better, easier, more peaceful than my generation in Australia and New Zealand.

However, I am thinking of people who are now in their prime, and today’s young people and children.

With Putin and Kim Jung Un holding hands, the up-coming US elections and sea levels rising, I sense there is trouble ahead.

What am I to do about it? What can I do about it? Nothing! All life asks of me now is to bow out gracefully, with as little fuss as possible and make sure the funeral expenses are paid. That may make sense, but it doesn’t feel satisfying – at least not to me.

I do feel a responsibility to do something to help those who will inevitably move into the coming storms.

Helping young people is a good idea but it’s not as easy as it seems.

For many of us, family are far away. What about the young people around us here and now? They walk our streets to school, they serve us in supermarkets and cafes. But, try to show friendly interest in a young person, especially young women and their defenses rise.

Their service-training teaches them to be courteous. Wider life, their phones, the internet and TV tend to make them suspicious.

Older men making friendly advances may have other motives.

I like the saying “Keep calm and carry on. From my experience of life’s ups and downs, I have found that perseverance and trustworthy friendships are powerful coping tools.

Putin and Kim Jon Un obviously have their dreams and schemes. I will try and encourage the young people around me to have their own dreams and goals. I know they can be courageous. Maybe I can help with that.

“Cease your good life in the West or you might just jump out of the window of a multi-story hotel or succumb to an ailment you didn’t know you had.”