Feeling deeply saddened these days listening and seeing images of all the cruelty in this world. From recent bombing in Egypt killing 305 in a Sufi Mosque; to atrocious images surfacing of the Libyan slave trade; to US backed campaign in Yemen causing thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths and threatening famine; to the Trump Circus that is causing such devastation in people’s lives and communities; to women throughout the world being sexually assaulted every global minute of the day; to the continuous assault on Mother Earth and those who deny even amongst all the facts of our violated abused Earth; to those persons incarcerated throughout the world treated like animals, demonic beings rather then the human beings they are with complicated deep suffering stories. Yesterday I took comfort from Howard Zinn’s words that appeared from an old journal I found while cleaning out our book shelf :
“To be hopeful in bad times is based on the fact that human history is not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
I take comfort and find energy in the small and large movements throughout the world from the powerful Water Protectors who are actively opposing the completion of the Alton Gas project near Stewiacke, Nova Scotia; to Grenada’s Ashanti footprints, a community based youth and children performing arts group; to the many Americans standing up and against the human rights violations of the Trump administration; to community peacebuilding programs like the Israeli/Palestinian Parents Circle — Bereaved Families Forum www.theparentscircle.com ; to the Inner City Muslim Action Network https://www.imancentral.org ; to the work of Narrative 4 https://narrative4.com and iMOVES www.facebook.com/iMOVeHFX/, organizations building radical empathy through sharing and bearing witness to life stories; to sites like On Being www.onbeing.org , Democracy Now www.democracynow.org , Common Dreams www.commondreams.org and to all the powerful global community leaders I am honoured, privileged to share space with at the Coady International Institute, leaders who fight ceaselessly, courageously for the the rights of all human beings.
May we, as Howard Zinn reminds us remember those times and places where people have behaved magnificently and may this give us the energy to act, to never give up in the face of cruelty, to find strength and courage from the great works around us breathing deep the power of people, the power of community, the power of radical hope.