The Parable of the Downstreamers

In Cộng Đồng on 2009/08/11 at 20:59


Whats going on Upstream?   Why are these bodies in the river at all?

Whats going on Upstream? Why are these bodies in the river at all?

Notes: We have been pondering about this parable even before the start of our activism regarding Little Saigon Seattle two years ago. This parable should be retold again and again until the community begins to stop believing and acting as if things are the way they are…

The Parable of the Downstreamers *

It was many years ago that villagers of Downstream recall spotting the first body in the river. Some old timers remember how spartan were the facilities and procedures for managing that sort of thing. Sometimes, they say, it would take hours to pull 10 people from the river, and even then only a few would recover.

Though the number of victims in the river has increased greatly in recent years, the folks of Downstream have responded admirably to the challenge. Their rescue system is clearly second to none: most people discovered in the swirling waters are reached within 20 minutes –– many less than 10. Only a small number drown each day before help arrives –– a big improvement from the way it used to be.

Talk to the people of Downstream and they’ll speak with pride about the new hospital by the edge of the waters, the flotilla of rescue boats ready for service at a moment’s notice, the comprehensive health plans for coordinating all the manpower involved, and the large numbers of highly trained and dedicated swimmers already to risk their lives to save victims from the raging currents. Sure it costs a lot but, say the Downstreamers, what else can decent people do except to provide whatever is necessary when human lives are at stake.

Oh, a few people in Downstream have raised the question now and again –– “What’s going on Upstream? Why are these bodies in the river at all?” But most folks show little interest in what’s happening Upstream. It seems there’s so much to do to help those in the river that nobody’s got time to check how all those bodies are getting there in the first place. That’s the way things are sometimes.*

* From Donald Ardell, High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease (1977)

 Vietnamese translated version

Other parables:

Tale of Five Friends and Five Enemies

Judgment: A Laozi (Lao Tzu) Parable


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