We live in extremely dangerous times, where elementary wisdom seems to be lost. It doesn’t matter if you are religious, spiritual or atheistic. We can all agree that certain social mindsets are beneficial to the majority.
Hate, disharmony and war bring nothing positive to the human condition. They create destruction and harm that linger for decades beyond. It is only through acts of love, understanding and compassion, even to those we are conditioned to distrust, that social progress is bound to manifest. In Buddhism, it is taught that we see all sentient beings as our mothers. Only through exemplifying these qualities can we hope to lead others to see the benefits and to bring about profound, positive social changes.
This is not hokey boloney! Of course, there will always be contrasting positions and conflicts of ideology. But, how we choose to deal with such differences is up to us. The military option is not always the right option. More often than not, it exacerbates disputes and causes far greater disharmony and suffering.
We cannot rely upon our leaders to lead correctly, so we must all contribute by being positive forces for good in the world, regardless of our positions in society. We might just be a splash individually, but together we can be an ocean of change.
Times have changed since this photograph was taken, back in 2010. At that time, we were campaigning for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from imprisonment. Now, she is the de facto leader of Burma.
Britain is no longer an empire, although it likes to pretend it still is. Independently, we are nothing more than a rock in the Atlantic. The world has decided to grow much, much bigger around us. We need to be part of an effective balance to counteract, in political and economic terms, against a rising China, a blustering Russia and a potential Trump USA. Britain is stronger united with our European neighbours.
From tribes to fiefdoms to countries to a conglomeration of countries, the EU is an evolutionary stage that attempts to unify people, rather than divide. For 70 years, the blood-drenched continent has had relative peace.
I know that the EU is far from perfect, but it is a work in progress, that requires vision and intelligent stewardship to survive. Britain is positioned to positively contribute from within and try to shape the EU so that it can be more effective, powerful, inspiring, peaceful and remain an essential part of the world. To leave would be like cutting away our anchor and setting ourselves adrift, with neither a sexton nor sails to influence the direction of our future. I have no interest to set foot onboard the maniacal Captain Boris’s sea vessel, with his ragbag crew of eccentrics, like Farage and Gove.
Choose the correct option to REMAIN!
As a human rights activist, daily I am made aware of the constant chatter of bigotry and the expressions of violence that all too often occur across the globe.
We ALL have differences of culture, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender and opinion. How we respond to differences, can either be harmful or positive. Some choose to wallow in the belief that what is different cannot be understood, so it is comforting to cause harm.
However, there is an alternative. Instead of cultivating fear, when we are faced with the unfamiliar or different, it is better that we should extend our hand in friendship with all the curiosity we can muster to learn, listen and embrace difference. Instead of segregating, we should incorporate with love. Instead of fearing, we should open our minds to understanding. Instead of hating, we should demonstrate our innate potential to love all without prejudice.
Every one of us is just a brief visitor upon this beautiful planet. Let’s behave accordingly in a way that spreads happiness and love, instead of conflict and hate. IT’S ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE!
Photography & Words by El-Branden Brazil
I have travelled the world far too much, and have received the hospitality of so many kind, beautiful strangers, many of whom were Muslim, to be persuaded by the hate and ignorance of those who have never been courageous enough to step beyond their localized communities.
Fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar is soon neutralised by travel. Initially, we are dazzled by what is culturally strange and new. But soon, we are overwhelmed by the shared humanity in all we encounter.
We must lead by example, expressing love and compassion to all. Just maybe, those who hate might be inspired enough to choose a better, more peaceful way.
I am by nature what some would consider “Leftwing”. My ideological tendencies do not come from some sort of perverse Stalinist fantasy or the belief that we should live an existence under some idiotic regime, as they do in North Korea. My beliefs in human welfare have nothing whatsoever to do with such horrifically distorted visions of Socialism, where the extreme ego of one dominates the masses. Quite the opposite in every way. I simply believe in COMPASSION and OPPORTUNITY for ALL!
I believe in the potential of all to be allowed to flourish unhindered. To do this, we need higher education to be available to ALL. For reasons I do not understand, but assume is decided out of fear of having an educated population, education still remains a privilege, which is frankly ridiculous! Everyone’s intellectual potential should be allowed every opportunity to flourish. This is good for the individual, good for the community, good for the country and good for the world. I wonder how much great talent has been stunted and lost because of poverty, lack of opportunity and elitist governance?
I also believe that we must evaluate accurately those most in need, and support them fairly, whilst allowing them dignity without prejudice.
ALL of us play in a funny fantasy of money; a socially accepted system of value, where bits of paper and metal are assumed to have worth, and that you get a share of this assumed equal to the hours of labour (life time before death) you put into your work. After this, we pay taxes for services to keep society functioning, like sewage, garbage collection, road and bridge maintenance and so on… All, we hope, paying for the parts that make society comfortable, ignoring conveniently war adventurism.
We trust in our governments (or blindly follow) in paying what we are told to pay. This would be fine, if the rule book were the same for everyone. Unfortunately, as we have learned all too well, the tax system in many countries is loaded in favour of the rich, where those that have are allowed to pay the minimum, whilst those that don’t have are royally shafted!
Socialism is about a fair game for all, and yes, whilst there have been so-called “socialist experiments” that have turned into nightmares through the last century, socialism as a source of hope that ALL can get a fair chance on our tiny rock in space still remains. WE must ALL work together to provide for those that don’t have. WE must ALL fight for the the protection of workers! WE must ALL work to protect the environment! WE must ALL fight for human rights! WE must ALL fight for liberty from intolerance! WE must celebrate our differences, whilst celebrating our shared humanity! We must provide security, education, healthcare and maximise the potential of EVERY human-being!