Incident in Ottawa


Someone I know is performing in an Arthur Miller play called Incident in Vichi, which my husband and I attended on the weekend.  The setting is France during the second world war, and the entire play takes place in one room, which may or may not be a waiting room for deportation to a death camp. None of the characters have been told why they are there. They range from feeling terror because of what they already know, to confusion and complacency, to rejecting the idea that there is even a problem.

This play, which was written in the fifties about the holocaust, is striking a chord with audiences and the house is now full every night.  Parallels have been drawn between the range of responses of the characters and the political situation in the U.S.  But we do not have to look that far afield.  On the same day we attended the play, Justin Trudeau announced his decision (for all Canadians) to expand the Kinder-Morgan oil pipeline, and there are parallels in the play to what is happening right here in Canada. 

Maybe I sound like I am catastrophizing.  Nobody here is facing a gas chamber and Justin Trudeau is certainly no Hitler, but choices are being made which will lead to the extermination of fish and other ocean life, and the continuation of burning fossil fuels is contributing to the devastation of the entire planet, which will eventually include humans.  

I am aware that, as with the situation in France during WW II, there is a resistance movement.  There are also those who, like me, are fully aware of the situation but are doing little about it, and there are those who deny there is a problem.  If there is any kind of future for humankind, I don’t want to be one of those of whom it will be asked, “How could they have stood by and done nothing?”

So I am signing petitions and I am writing.  At this time, I am not willing to be arrested or have a criminal record.  But in my heart I feel I am not doing enough.