“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, 15 November 2015

A Plea for Peace and Compassion

There are certain things I believe, and believe passionately, that some, with their different views of the world, do not believe. And it is hard for me to see these cherished beliefs trampled into the dust by their insistence that their reality is the only true one.

I believe that peace is to be worked for, and witnessed for, and struggled for, and that war and violence and automatic retaliation should only be the very, very last resorts, not the automatic go-to solution. I believe that the governments of the Great Powers, mainly in the West, but also in Russia and China and Saudi Arabia, are so invested in the arms trade, and in violence and intolerance and hatred of the Other (whoever the Other might be) that there is little hope for peace.

Which makes the need to witness for the possibilities that peace and compassion bring ever more urgent, day by day.

I believe that Western privilege and widespread Western, white, male, Christian blindness *to* that privilege, are facts. We simply cannot appreciate what it is like to be persecuted or picked on daily, simply on account of our religious beliefs, the colour of our skin, our sexual orientation, or our disabilities. The only one I have some insight into, being a woman, is male privilege. And even that is denied by many, in 21st century Britain.

I believe that only when we make the empathic attempt to show compassion, by learning from what others say and write about how it feels to be Muslim, or black, or gay, or transgender, or in any other way Not Like Us, that we have any hope of moving past that bastion of privilege and meeting people where they are. As human beings, each a child of God, each with the same divine spark within, each with the same potential for good or evil.

While my Facebook feed turns red, white, and blue as friends rightly react with shock and sorrow to the killings in Paris, similar events in Beirut a few days ago barely made the inside pages of the broadsheets. And the Syrian refugees, who are fleeing from the violence of these same terrorists, are suffering misery and hunger, illness and hopelessness day by day in their over-crowded, insanitary camps, where Death and disease stalk hand-in-hand.

And I want to say that if you really care about people, give some money or some warm clothing to the organisations trying to stem that tide of human suffering. It is by such small acts of kindness towards our fellow human beings, that the world will turn, and times will change.

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