There are so many things to protest about.
- clearing forests, burning rainforest, laying waste to land
- landmines, injustice and totalitarianism
- apathy. About the real environmental cost of what we buy. Apathy about labour conditions for factory workers. About water use and food crises. Apathy is the worst of all.
I was going to make a quilt about apathy. The design was partly worked out, and the core meaning was absolutely clear to me: “Live your life with your brain on. Look and see. Now don’t just lie there, eating and buying stuff — do something!”
However small a contribution, actions and caring blast apathy out of the water.
But something else started to happen, and my quilt became a different thing. As I laid out your package of fabrics on the desk, Jennifer, I was listening to the radio. And there were missiles falling in the middle east again: Israel and Gaza: Gaza and Israel.
Some of my childhood memories are of the half-understood news of these kinds of conflicts. Images on the news at night, Israeli women soldiers, young, bombs in streets, families — and there’s me, living a sheltered and happy life in a quiet part of the world. Not guilt, but horrid fascination. Awareness of how things could have so easily been different: I could have been born in Afghanistan, the middle east, Angola, Cambodia — one of any number of countries ripped by wars I don’t, and won’t understand, in the years since I was born.
So this quilt became a record of anger, dismay and concern. Not understanding. A complete failure to understand why war is what happens. I stitched while the news reports came in, and finished as the land invasion began. My quilt is finished, but it’s not over – not for anyone on the ground in these cities, families and friends of local people, and anyone who is concerned, not apathetic about war in our world.