People Do Not Want to Accept That Those With Power See Us as Subhumans

By Graeme Garvey

Extraordinary times? For sure but what is much worse is that we are living in extraordinarily dark times. The thought-provoking 1998 film Dark City tells of people sleep-walking through a night world, and therefore going nowhere, controlled, literally, by dark forces. Apart from the enlightened few, people live in a world where daylight has been stolen from them. For them, only the night now exists.

St John Henry Newman wrote a poem in 1833 when he was struggling to understand his Christian faith and his direction in life. He was in the early stages of his journey to Rome. It became a famous hymn and was taught to us in school. It began,
Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!

The lines are very well known to many over a certain age (you choose which one!) and completely unknown to the vast majority who do not yet have grey hair. Those four lines are insufficient to explain who or what the ‘Kindly Light’ is. That requires the rest of the poem. It is a poem about previously choosing the wrong path about how a beacon to light the way is needed as darkness surrounds. It deals with the mental state, too, as the meaning of ‘gloomy’ works on different levels.

It is about faith as the Kindly Light is identified as Jesus, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14,6), who can lead the poet on his difficult journey ‘along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod.’

It has so much resonance for us in our current plight, a plight made so much worse not by a natural catastrophe but by the planning of devious minds. People do not want to accept that people with power over us hate us, see us as subhuman and have been working on this for decades. The majority of ordinary folk have worked on the false assumption that these drugs are actually meant to make us better!

It would be very surprising if anybody had not felt downhearted during the past two years. That has been a primary aim of the bought mainstream media because demoralised people are easy to manipulate. Amidst the encircling gloom we have, thankfully, had reminders that there are good people about and not all hope is lost. If you will permit me to apply it to the poem, little points of light have been shining from one direction, offering us hope. And then, the brightest of these lights has allowed the others to coalesce around it. And who would have thought it would be lorry drivers, or to give them their transatlantic name, Truckers? There is no doubt that what has happened recently in Canada and spread around the world has had a seismic effect.

Once again, the journey metaphor as the very drudges of the rich and the middle classes even, who were only supposed to meekly serve have come together (a crucial journey in itself) to travel to the capital, Ottawa, in sub-zero temperatures through brilliant white fields of snow, to demand change. The narrative has been turned on its head as the elite have been shown to not care at all for the underlings. That was never the problem before, we all knew that, just so long as people stayed in their place. But that changed when ordinary people, united in right, woke up and got moving.

Many people in the resistance movement might describe themselves as having little or no faith. That is not surprising because, in the end, we all have to find the best of ourselves from within, but Newman’s fine verse speaks for we Catholics, and doubtless, many others too. When we were lost and directionless, we were not a threat to the dark.

Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.

(John Henry Newman, 1833)