Sunday, November 13, 2011

Twenty Years Ago Today

As I think back on twenty years
I feel the absence of a measure
To weigh me up, to balance me out
So I probably got away with some things

There came a time I needed to shave
I bought a cheap razor that I didn't know how to use
There was an electric shaver in his left-behind debris
So that's the way I went

His passing was not terrible because of missed opportunities
The tragedy was that someone who had done so much could do no more
But there is the measure
Time flows like a river, he never let it pass him by.

P.J. McAndrew June 2, 1947 - November 14, 1991.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bankers Into Plowshares?

Listening to the radio the other day I was struck as a reporter described a sign held by an activist at an Occupy Frankfurt rally. Translated from German the sign read “[turn] bankers into plowshares”. The activist was referencing the phrase “swords into plowshares”, the image of swords, as weapons of war, being turned into plowshares, agricultural instruments. This phrase looks forward to a time when we will have no conceivable use for weapons of war. When there is permanent disarmament, and we till the earth in peace.

The activist was trying, I think, to get across the idea that without bankers society would be better – fairer and more just and peaceful. I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide their personal position on bankers and the world financial crisis, that’s not what interests me here. What caught my ear was the use of language.

This phrase comes from the Biblical prophet Isaiah, describing the world after God’s kingdom is established on earth and all things are made right. Here is the phrase in context:
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”  The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.  They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (1)
I previously wrote a piece on man’s constant urge for a better world for peace and justice, and the inability to achieve it, which you can read here. I don’t want to repeat myself, but the current wave of protests against the financial systems of the world and reference to the swords into plowshares intrigued me.