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Posts Tagged ‘humanity’

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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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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This week I’ve hardly had any time for reading but I finished the book from last week and snuck in a short story!

Book 22 – I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.  I wanted to read this having watched the film a few years ago; I like the idea of exploring morality in science fiction and although I’ve never read any Asimov before, I have heard many good things.  It bears little resemblance to the film I remember but the idea at the core was the same so I didn’t mind that at all.

It’s actually a series of short stories, tied together by characters and chronology.  I didn’t much like the first one but as the robots got more advanced, and the morality got more questionable, it became much more exciting to see what would happen next.  There’s a point at which you wonder who is the human, and whether the machines have a more humane view of life than the humans themselves, which is very powerful.

I enjoyed the constant attempts to understand how the Three Laws were met, and the hoops gone through to prove they were even when that seemed so unlikely; it showed the flaw in the system that challenged the logic.

I think this book, although the start was a little hard work, grew along with the technology.

Book 23 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald.  For anyone who only knows this as a (2.5 hour long) film, it’s actually a short story.  The idea of someone being born fully grown, able to walk and talk, is disturbing, so to watch Benjamin go through life enjoying a brief spell when his age and his appearance allow him what he wants – a wife, a career, a role in the army – to have those things taken away as his physical age regresses seems to be a lesson in understanding that older people and younger people suffer the same fate: they are not quite acceptable.

The book is very male-focussed: we don’t hear Mrs Button’s feelings on giving birth to a seventy year old baby; we don’t know much about Benjamin’s wife except as she ages he stops loving her and she feels dissatisfied with him.  We also view Benjamin very sympathetically, with his son an ungrateful and selfish character, his father desperate to change him.

For something so short, there was a lot to it and it was a far more enjoyable read than Gatsby.  It helped that I liked the main character!

Both the books this week challenged reality, in different ways; both touched on the nature of humanity and existence.  In an odd way they were very compatible!

Until next time,

Happy reading

EJ

🙂

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