It’s December 2nd 2019. There’s a young boy - Cameron, on the television. He’s starving. “We try not to eat a lot in one day, even though most of us are really hungry” he says. He’s pallid and wafer thin. His sisters are the same. They talk at length about the food bank they visit with their parents to make sure they have something to eat. They live in the sixth biggest economy in the world and yet here they are, on television, starving.
It’s been four years and somehow, things have only gotten worse.
It’s Autumn 2023 and there’s a man on the television. He’s starving. He’s 57 years old, and lives in Weston Super Mare, Somerset. The day before the only meal he had was fish fingers and beans. The other meals? “Oh I fill up with tea” he tells the reporter. He too lives in the sixth biggest economy in the world, and, like Cameron and millions of others, he too is starving.
Elsewhere on the news, horrifying details of the devastation of one in 500 year floods in the north are filtering out, just 16 years after the last one. One man talks of finding his disabled mother dead, floating in floodwater inside her home - unable to get herself up the stairs. Smiling portraits of those swept away in those same floodwaters flash up briefly on news publications before being replaced by new horrors. In Mexico, the strongest hurricane to ever(?) make landfall has ripped through the tourist resort of Acapulco - it’s one million residents directly in the path of the category 5 storm.
From Palestine, images of dead babies being pulled from the pulverised remains of their homes are broadcast around the world. Israeli bombs continue to make light work of UN schools, bakeries, residential blocks and more. In Ukraine, the death toll from Putin’s brutal invasion continues to rise and more and more weapons pour into the area. Devastating and brutal war in Yemen, in Sudan, mounting tensions in Azerbaijan and more barely make an impact on the global news cycle.
Across the planet the far right is on the rise, with brutal suppression of hard won rights. The rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer as the world burns. Every direction you turn, every tab you open, every page you leaf through it’s hard to escape the feeling that we are doomed.
It’s easy to give up hope. To open up your phone in the morning, see another round of horrors spelled out in 240 characters and roll back over. To give up on each day and stay cocooned in a little duvet world. It’s understandable that many feel beaten down, burnt out and broken. Forced out of a national and international conversation left to languish on the fringe as the machinations of capital continue to ravage all in their path.
At Huck we’ve always been committed to telling stories from the fringes. To expose, celebrate and illuminate that which others will not. To concern ourselves with the people coming together to fight. To create. To imagine. It’s in this vein that the Peace & Justice Project was started. To create a space and an avenue for the millions across the country energised by the real change offered by the Corbyn years. To encourage connection and organisation. To offer a beacon of hope, even in the darkest of times.
It’s why, as another dark, foreboding winter rolls around, we’ve come together to do just that. In our new joint editorial series, the Season of Hope, we’ll highlight stories of struggle and change. Driven by the Peace & Justice Project’s 5 Demands, we’ll look at those organising and fighting for the promise of a better tomorrow. From now until Christmas we’ll travel the breadth of the country to bring you stories to inspire. To keep you going until our spring comes.
As Howard Zinn once said, “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we only see the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.”
In these dark times, we choose to emphasize the good. To highlight the people choosing to behave magnificently. Bravely. Selflessly. With integrity, grit and imagination to send our spinning top world in a better direction.
We start our collaboration with photos from the historic mobilisation which saw half a million people on the streets of London this weekend calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. We’re also running a piece on the inspiring young people coming together online to resist censorship and demonstrate for justice for Palestine. Later in the month we’ll have a piece from the Unionise Samworth Brothers campaign, following inspiring food workers who are fed up with settling for just the crumbs whilst their bosses take home record profits.
We hope this series brings you light in amongst the darkness and inspires you to get involved. To find out more visit the Peace & Justice Project.
Samuel Sweek is the Peace & Justice Project’s Media Co-ordinator.
Ben Smoke is Huck’s Digital Editor.
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