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.