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Archive for the ‘Bloggers for Peace’ Category

I try to read the newspaper on a regular basis, both to keep up to date with the world and also to spur on my imagination, and for long term readers you might even remember the original post of this name, which I wrote nearly 3 years ago!

It seemed time to revisit the idea but this time, it’s more about the impact on my world view than how those stories can shape our writing.

In the newspaper today…

I read about David Cameron’s attempts to convince the rest of Europe to agree with him so we in the UK vote to stay in the EU when we have our referendum. As so much of the discussion seems to be about how much we’re prepared to give migrants in benefits I think it misses the entire point of closer integration, but there you go.

I’ve read about unaccompanied child refugees in the Jungle in Calais, and the squalour and desperate misery of life there, as we complain we are being ‘overrun’

I’ve seen the Pope’s view on Donald Trump’s Mexican border wall, as Trump leads the polls for Republican presidential nominee.

I’ve read about war, murder, the Zika virus, abusive ‘grooming’ of a young woman by a rich and successful sportsman.

I’ve read about a pretty crappy world, to be frank. So here’s a counterbalance:

The Good News Network where the stories include a New Zealand crowdfunding effort to buy a beach for public use and students designing a portable, wearable, shelter for refugees.

Huffpost Good News where there is a focus on love – romantic, familial and friendly.

Dailygood.org where it’s about how we each live our lives to the best.

I need to know what is happening in the world, but sometimes I forget that the media set the agenda.  I only see what a newspaper editor considers newsworthy.

I need to search wider, and these three sites are a good starting point to get a picture of the positive in the world, to hear stories that focus on the positive effects we can have on each other.

I want to read the good news for a bit.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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This month’s B4Peace post began when I was really frustrated by something and I found myself venting all my irritation in a blog post.  I scrapped it, of course – or you’d be reading that now – but a thought stuck: should we always be peaceful in the search for peace?

It’s a strange one – I am inherently a pacifist, a believer in non-violent resolutions. But I know the peace I enjoy is due in no small part to the bloodshed of the twentieth century.

Still, as someone who watches the battles and wars unfold on news programmes, year after year, we’re not doing well at the moment.  Peace is dissipating, with hate and violence filling the gap.

What I decided (as I struggled to form this post, and my nebulous thoughts, into something people could read) is that I want to foster a sense of closeness with my fellow humans.  Peace is not individual, and whenever we ‘other’ people, we are undermining our chance to find it.

I don’t want to write a diatribe, every time I get frustrated.  I want to build bridges, create a sense of community, learn from my feelings.

I try that online, and I do it in my real life too.  But I think there are many people who are scared, and angry, and venting in their own ways.

I always go back to my mantra now, Desmond Tutu’s quote.  Maybe my bit of good is my willingness to discuss difference and understand fears, whilst expressing my different viewpoint or sharing my belief in, and hope for, peace.

We are often exposed to views and opinions we don’t agree with, but in my search for peace I want to at least understand why someone feels the way they do.

Sometimes the best thing I can do is listen.

Be peaceful,

EJ

🙂

 

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I don’t know if I am typical, but recently more and more posts on social media have been rather dispiriting – posts that ‘other’ people, posts about cruelty, posts that make me feel impotent as a citizen and as a human being.

But it signifies something more than a collective need to gripe – it makes me think we have lost sight of what joins us together.

How can we hope to find peace in our world if we don’t even recognise how interconnected it is? And how, as the species doing the worst damage to the planet, and each other, can we hope to find peace when our collective behaviour is the very thing destroying it?

We know we are made of the same stuff, right? That we all came from the same cosmic source.  So why do we look for difference?  Why do we look to dominate instead of coexist?  I’m not just talking humans either, but our need to dominate all life on earth.

I am always saddened to see pictures of abuse, neglect, despair.  I sometimes feel that it would be better to stop looking.  Stop reading newspapers or watching documentaries.  Stop knowing.

But to do that would mean I stopped thinking about what is wrong, and if I stop thinking about what is wrong, I stop thinking about what I can do to redress the balance.  And if we all did that, we’d never have peace.

I recently posted a Desmond Tutu quote:

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

which is going to be my mantra going forward.  Every little good we do is a chance to redress the balance.

Let’s get some weight behind peace.

EJ

xx

B4Peace Central

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Anyone who has been with me on my writing journey for a while will have seen B4Peace posts, or at least posts tagged with that moniker.

Bloggers For Peace was set up in 2013 by Kozo and Cheri, who is still the active admin on the WordPress site.  Over time, the active input into the B4Peace community has dwindled, although there are still a few posts popping up in my reader that have the B4Peace tag.

Recently, I popped onto the Bloggers for Peace website and saw a post from a while ago asking what people want to do with the site. The idea it might stop was quite sad, and it made me want to do something practical to re-engage.

So, I am hereby committing to a monthly peace post.  It will be one of my Thursday ones, as I can’t fit any more in at the moment, but that’s part of what free posts are about – enabling me to share something from my non-writing mind!

It would be great to get more people back on the peace train.  We need to lift our voices and speak loudly of love, community, friendship, warmth, companionship, respect, trust and all those wonderful things that peace can provide.

We have all seem what hatred and fear can do. B4Peace is a way of countering all the negative voices, and showing there is more than one way to see the world.

Let me know if you want to get involved.  And, in lieu of writing a specific post for January yet, here’s a quote about peace from Desmond Tutu that I found on the Peace alliance website, which is a perfect summary to the B4Peace ideal:

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

Be peaceful,

EJ

🙂

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I am struggling to express my profound sadness at the state of the world this week. Our news in the UK is filled with images from France – but that is just one part of the terrible story.

It feels as though countless people from all different parts of the world are intent on ripping apart any sense of commonality, of community, that one human can have with another.

I have seen news reports of bombs dropped onto Syria, of the dead peace protestors in Turkey, of refugee camps and soldiers and terrorists waving guns in the air. I have watched reports of victims, people fearful for their lives, people who will never be free of the chains bound around them – whether physical or mental.

I wish we could find another way forward, share our sameness and accept differences with respect and tolerance.

In light of the world as it is, writing about my own plans seems vaguely nonsensical. And yet I must live my life in the best way I know how. Part of that is trying to build bonds across the world through shared dreams and experiences, trying to be non-judgemental, fair and respectful.

I am not perfect, and I am not always any of those things, but I am making an effort to be mindful of my own behaviours.

I will collate all my writing news and share it with you in a separate post tomorrow. For now, I will leave you with a thought: peace is worth the effort.

Be peaceful,
EJ

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There’s been a lot of focus of refugees and migrants in the news here in the UK this week, and the political rhetoric is all over the place, so I had to write about it today.

My thoughts are muddled, but I know that it hurts to watch the news reports.  I swing from horrified to terrified to traumatised that this is the world, right now.

There is some information worth thinking about – in respect of Syrian refugees alone – courtesy of World Vision:

  • Nearly 12 million people have been displaced
  • Over 4 million of these are refugees in neighbouring countries
  • About half of the displaced Syrians are children

The population of the country before 2011 was around 22 million people: nearly 18% of the population are now refugees.

Add to this number those fleeing violence, persecution or totalitarianism in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and you can see there’s a vast number of our fellow travellers through life who cannot sleep easy in their beds at night, who cannot build a positive future for themselves, who do not feel safe.  People who no longer have a home, anywhere.

Then consider the people in our own communities, living with illness, poverty, abuse, homelessness.  Those who are afraid of the world they experience, and who have been demonised simply for struggling.

It’s hard to see the good in the world, sometimes.

That is where we come in – those of us who want to take some sort of constructive action, or spread a positive message to counter some of the negatives.  I have seen all sorts of examples – from donations of goods and services, and people taking carloads of essentials to makeshift camps, to practical support such as offering a home to a displaced family or a helping hand to an elderly neighbour.

People have the capacity to be amazing.

Even just a friendly smile and wave can change someone’s day.  In fact a friendship offered may not be the first practical support someone needs, but longer term, it could be the difference between existing and living.

We might not be able to change the world as a whole, but perhaps we can each change one person’s experience of the world for the better. That sounds like a triumph to me.

Just remember…

Humanity: it’s all about us.

Be peaceful,

EJ

x

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Do you remember the film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? It was made at the very tail end of the 1980’s (I hadn’t realised it was as old as that!) and starred Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. It was a silly film with a good heart.

There was one line in it that keeps springing to mind at the moment – ‘be excellent to each other’.

 BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER -  BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER  Bill and Ted

(image from quickmeme.com)

Isn’t that a great sentiment? ‘Be excellent to each other’. Not be nice, or do the appropriate thing, but be excellent. Be the best you can be, the top of your interpersonal game. Be the one leading the way.

I think of excellence as being something close to perfection, but maybe to be excellent to each other means genuinely doing what we can to help and support the people we meet on our journey through life.

To make it real, to make it our mindset on a daily basis, takes work, but so does everything we really want. How hard did we try as babies to learn to sit, to speak, to be understood? How hard do we strive for the things we feel are important?

We are human, and imperfect, and we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves for that.  But if we all work hard at being excellent to each other, at least we’ll know we are trying to be our best selves, and that’s a great thing in and of itself.

Have an excellent few days and I’ll be back on Sunday.

EJ

🙂

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