Stop the World I Want to Get Off

As the old musical said: Stop the World I Want to Get Off. It’s not possible unless you want to take out your 9mil and shoot yourself in the head, so we have to make do with what we’ve got.

Away from the daily troubles of 2023, it helps to look at the wondrous world – just as Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong once did. Having already mentioned the therapeutic effects of the dawn chorus – that’s where the go-away-birds still survive and birds living in pairs are monogamous – my expert conservationist and outdoors-loving Argentine friend and namesake Miguel Rial Shaw has this to say.

Only 9% of creatures are monogamous … and the highest percentage of those are birds. Miguel goes on: Among the most monogamous birds are penguins, cranes, pigeons, parrots, swans, geese, doves and albatrosses.

And how about this? Some monogamous unions are more monogamous than others, he says.

The human being is meant to be monogamous but all that changed over evolution. Science has shown that the more dehumanised and predatory any society becomes the least monogamous it turns out. 

Personally, I have always said history might have been different if Adam hadn’t blamed Eve for taking the apple. Here’s where everything started to go wrong.  Adam says Eve took the apple and didn’t ask for forgiveness because it wasn’t his fault. ‘I am not the one,’ as we say in Zimbabwe.

Theologians debate that God is perfect and made Adam and Eve in his own image, thus giving them his very own freedom of choice, but they made the wrong choices.

That might explain the deadly persecution within the church during the Spanish Inquisition right up to Putin’s war in Ukraine. God-given freedom of choice may offer answers to bloodshed everywhere. We choose to do it, whether in Rwanda or volatile nations of South America, the latter being how Miguel in Argentina and I became cyber friends.

In his past research, Miguel told me that one Angus Shaw was shot dead by firing squad with 40 of his fellow anarchists on December 8, 1921 in a peasant rebellion in Santa Cruz in Patagonia. It was crushed by Colonel Hector Benigno Varela’s cavalry. As many as 1,500 protesters were killed and anarchists were captured thereabouts. Like leftist and rightist volunteers who went to fight on either side in fascist Gen. Franco’s Spanish civil war, foreign and European sympathisers went to support the peasants in Argentina, Chile and Peru. Could I be distantly related to one of them?

They were known as the anarchists, or “anarcho-communist-syndicalists,” says Miguel. I have been called many things in my time, but certainly not that.  In the next life I’ll ask the executed Angus Shaw about it and whether he heard the firing squad’s shots. Unless it’s fired right up close, a bullet can travel faster than the speed of sound and I have wondered if the noisome firing squad kills you instantly, letting you die in silence. Col. Varela, who mostly favoured execution by firing squad, was assassinated by a German anarchist in Buenos Aires a little after the Santa Cruz revolt. 

However, today I saw our glorious dawn coming up, I heard the birdsong and my beautiful pairs of lourie might soon be back in the garden, monogamous or not as they may be. I’ll try to hum Satchmo.  I’ll hope for a trip to Argentina to meet Miguel in person. I’ll listen to Evita, with music by the brilliant Andrew Lloyd Webber (whom I met once, but that’s another story) and the multi-talented Madonna, as Eva Peron, doing her version of ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ in 1996. Juan and Eva Peron, of course, had the freedom of choice to be the Fascists they wanted to be.

Sometimes-illusive love, important friendships, beauty, art, orchestral music, Oscar Peterson, Procol Harum, Queen, and those who have been here – Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, UB40, Harry Belafonte who died just this past Tuesday  –  the list is endless, they are all there to help out when we can’t stop the world to jump off.

I see trees of green/ Red roses too/ I see them bloom/ For me and you/ And I think to myself/ What a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue/ And clouds of white/ The bright blessed day/ The dark sacred night/ /And I think to myself/ What a wonderful world. The colors of the rainbow/ So pretty in the sky/ Are also on the faces /Of people going by/ I see friends shaking hands/ Saying how do you do/ They’re really saying/ I love you.

I hear babies cry/ I watch them grow/ They’ll learn much more/Than I’ll ever know/ Yes, I think to myself/ What a wonderful world/ Oh, yeah/ Oh yes.




1 Response

  1. Allen Pizzey says:

    Having known you for coming up on 50 years, Goose, I’m betting the Argentine Angus is a relative

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