I have an unquenchable desire to say ‘What if?’
Perpetual discontent with the state of affairs means I like to think up scenarios where the world would have taken a different turn.
The likelihood of a DeLorean or police telephone box appearing is almost zero (I say almost, because a part of me still holds out hope that it’s possible), and yet I torture myself with the long lists of where to start’s and I would change this; the, in hindsight statements that don’t help anyone, except show how easily something could have been avoided, where we did nothing. So in preparation to my own time travel, I have created my world saving itinerary.
First stop 1996-Orange, NSW Australia- kick Kirraleigh McGregor in the stomach for stealing my KitKat and forever changing a happy go lucky child into a bitter insomniac. Doesn’t really help the world but makes me feel better.
Next 1948-Nagasaki Port, Japan- search each American soldier’s bag to stop the influx of Japanese flip-flops entering popular culture and thereby never having to see someone wearing socks with thongs ever again. You’re welcome world.
Now that the easy jobs of kicking 5 year olds and making sure jandal’s never existed has been completed, the tougher decisions still need to be made.
1916- 27th February, Petrograd, Russia – Rip up the Asia Minor Agreement before it is approved by French, British and Russian diplomats, ending the war in the Middle East before it even began; saving over 700,000 civilians and soldiers in Iraq, 4.7 million Palestinian and Israeli deaths and displacements, 100,000 Lebanese deaths in a single year and 70,000 Syrians in two.
1963- 22nd November, Dallas, Texas- Yell “Duck!” at precisely 12:30pm.
1789- 7th February, Botany Bay, New Holland- Convince Governor Phillip that sending female convicts to the New South Wales colony is a bad idea. Instead, insisting the men marry women from the Torres Strait or the Indigenous population as was his original idea; self-affirming the Indigenous population as citizens, avoiding years of neglect, abuse, assimilation and racism.
The fact that these simple measures may have changed the world is not often lingered on. As many notable figures have rightly contested, “the past is the past”.
That, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take heed on our future endeavours, what’s the point of making so many mistakes if we are too pigheaded to learn from them. Take the Gulf War for example, we learnt that tying other non related countries involvement in fictional threats that did or did not have weapons of mass destruction does not have a good result, and should not be emulated… by the very same leaders son, a decade after… Ok we didn’t learn from that.
What about the invasion of another country, by arming rebels to fight against an oppressive leader, to only find that they have a fundamentalist manifesto, which includes oppression of its citizens. Exactly what happened in Afghanistan… and what is happening in Syria, and Mali and the Central African Republic.
If history is set to continually repeat itself, in some sort of a diabolical mobius strip, I can at least feel some form of content with the rehashing of successful revolutions. Take the 1789 French revolution, for example, it might have appeared to only take place in one country, but really it quickly transformed the entire North Atlantic world so profoundly that a mere 20 years later, ideas that had previously been considered lunatic fringe – that social change was good, that governments existed to manage social change, that governments drew their legitimacy from an entity known as the people – had been propelled so deeply into common sense that even the stodgiest conservative had to at least pay lip service to them. In 1848 revolutions broke out almost simultaneously in 50 different countries from Wallachia to Brazil. In no country did the revolutionaries succeed in taking power, but afterwards, institutions inspired by the French revolution – universal education systems, for instance – were created pretty much everywhere.
Now that is something to emulate, take on the powerful leaders, through protest and sit ins, re-establish the rights of the people or the 99%… maybe control a large centre where business is conducted… like Wall Street…