How the powerful corporation creates loyalty of a type that eventually sees the workers eat their own eyes, ears and mouths. Then their fingers, toes, arms, legs, hair, nails, knickers and finally the torso. Now there’s an outrage. All these clever people muttering in corridors about this management fuck-up or that management cut-back. The phone calls, the emails, the whisperings in the fourth floor toilets take up hours and hours of time and stress – all that nervous energy wasted on the corporation. The nudges and the winks that stopped all those clever people for all those years from speaking out against the halving of the budget, the slicing of the editorial staff, the non-promotion of the outspoken, the refusal to insure anyone’s health who wasn’t anyone very important… The list is so so long.
You mustn’t say anything. You mustn’t. It won’t do you any good.
And then it gets really really bad. One man’s family is almost killed in a far-flung corner of the world. No one says anything. He’s abandoned to his own escape. Another man dies of a basic disease. No one says anything. A budget is halved. Literally halved. No one says anything. Real events of life and death are judged on whether they can be described for free – or not. It gets worse. Another man gets another life-threatening disease. No one says anything. Then a woman does. No one says anything. The people from the far-flung lands, the local little people who no one sees, start dropping off. They leave, they get ill, or they get angry. No one says anything. No one’s irreplaceable, you know. So no one says anything.
Some ask, What would we say? Who would we say it to? Nods of agreement all round. So no one says anything.
And then someone disappears for ever. No one knows where they’ve gone. Why they went. The whispering and the winks and much weeping continues in the toilets. But no one says anything. They just keep eating, chewing at their fingers, their toes, their eyelashes, pulling at each other’s hair, gnawing on their knickers. No one says anything.
Pastor Niemöller was not wrong. Auntie’s laughing, yes, but they’re coming for aunty too. And it may not be a holocaust, it may not be a genocide, but people have died. And no one’s saying anything. People have lost their livelihoods, and no one’s saying anything. People who aren’t union members and who live far far away have no job, and no one’s saying anything. They’re not saying anything, just in case…