You probably didn’t read “Bleak House” by Dickens anytime recently (if you did, and you actually read the whole thing, congratulations!) but if you recall, there’s a rather funny line in it that I thought of this morning. Well, it isn’t an extremely funny line. Dickens was good at introducing comic relief characters who were, really, very funny. No one but a Scrooge could help laughing at Mrs. Jiggleby and her children tumbling up and down the stairs while she devotes all her attentions to helping these poor orphaned children on the bank of some obscure river in Africa. But this line I’m referring to is a little more difficult to appreciate. You’ll have to read the whole book to get the full flavor of it. But here goes, “the wind is in the east.” Funny, right? Well, you see, this line was often repeated in the book by a certain character. I can’t quite remember this character’s name, but they were one of the main players (there were only like 25 main players in Bleak House), I have a vague feeling it was some elderly and eccentric man. And whenever anything wasn’t right, a disaster was looming, bad news was announced, anything of that sort, he’d murmur, “oh, the wind is in the east.” After a while it got to be rather amusing. But I thought of it today because the wind is in the south and that means it is extremely cold in my room. I know that when the wind is in the south, I will have to wear several layers.
On another subject, December is such a frustrating month. I have all these things I need to do before Christmas so I can have a nice relaxing break, but the days just slip away and I don’t seem to be any closer to my goal. The last thing I knew it was December 1st, and now suddenly it is the 9th. What happened? I don’t know.
And related to December, I’m a Facebook fan of the page “Save Bradley Manning.” Bradley Manning was the young soldier who leaked the very revealing video of cold-blooded murder in Afghanistan…done by “our side.” This soldier has been in prison for 197 days. He will be turning 23 around Christmas. In prison. So on this Facebook page someone said something about sending holiday cards to him. And then I realized this would be a great project for my sisters and I to do together. They also encourage you to send a card to your U.S. Representative, urging them to support the release of Bradley Manning, not that they actually would, but hey, it deserves a try. It is hard sometimes for me to really lecture the girls as they aren’t interested in all this theory and abstract ideas. But to actually be doing something hands-on, I think that’d help them realize the significance of it. We’d have an opportunity to discuss whistleblowers in other eras. What happened to people who didn’t like what Hitler was doing? What happened to “traitors” under Stalin? And then we could explore the argument that says, “the soldier agreed to support the government, he was breaking his contract by releasing this information” and hopefully the girls would see that human life trumps contracts. It is more important to save human life than to keep an agreement. But I want the girls to think this out on their own and come up with their own examples. We could also talk about indefinite detention, and what it is like to be in prison, without knowing when you might be released. Without having a chance to prove yourself innocent in a fair court. As the girls and I just studied the French Revolution, we could compare this situation (in a very broad sense) to the Reign of Terror, how people were sent to prison without any sort of trial. They were just “counter-revolutionaries” and their basic human rights were not respected.
So we could talk about all of that…while making Christmas cards. It would be better than the girls just sitting still and staring at me. Sounds like a plan, eh? If you want to do it, here’s the info. I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂