Dangerous times?

Living in peaceful, happy French Polynesia we sometimes manage to forget about the political and economical crises that buffet the planet, but whenever we open news pages and often when we receive e-mails the vibes are decidedly negative. More crimes, more wars, more terrorist attacks, more refugees, more scandals, more unemployed people, more fear and a general feeling that things are getting worse.

The mass media are usually known to fuel the public fears with sensationalist reports, but today I saw a documentary with a refreshingly different approach (ORF 1, made by Hanno Settele, a seasoned foreign correspondent) that showed the effects of vague fears (cocooning, locking yourself in with alarm systems, building bunkers, buying weapons, attending self-defense classes, etc.) and those who profit from them. All this is happening in Austria, which was ranked 3rd most peaceful country in the Global Peace Index 2016 (just in comparison, France is No 46 and just beat the UK that come on 47 while the US are far behind as 103…) and where the statistics show slightly sinking crime rates since 2000…

“Fear is strange soil. Mainly it grows obedience like corn, which grows in rows and makes weeding easy. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground.” (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)

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