El-Branden Brazil

Photographer, Writer & Mystic Traveller

Posts tagged ‘Struggle’

Freedom Needs You!

Never take your freedom for granted. There are so many around the world dying for such privileges. If you should turn your eye for even a second, you may discover that it has been snatched away in a blink.

Be engaged in your world, be vigilant and always fight for the values you believe in strongly. Beneficial change never comes from apathy. Rather, apathy is the poison from which so much bad begins to seed.

Define your freedom and overcome all tyranny which would deny it. Equally, abandon ideologies that enforce tyranny upon others.

The right kind of freedom manifests out of mutual understanding and respect, acts of compassion, the willingness to share and the termination of greed. It is when people’s fundamental human rights are not impinged upon, so that they may live full, secure, happy lives with their families. It is when the voice of those with grievances can speak out without fear. It is in the ability to be able to participate in choosing the direction of a community or country through fair, honest elections. To be able to soar in creative endeavours and utilise fully our talents. To be a part of something that enhances the world positively. It is in knowing that our life means something.

We face uncertain, turbulent times, and everyone must be alert and participate in creating a future that is more just, fair, ecologically sensible and free.

– El-Branden Brazil

Portraits For A Dancer's Publicity #1
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Human Rights: An End To Struggle?

Struggle comes from not having the requisites to live well. Human rights are a barrier to hopefully protect people from the need to struggle.

As we all know, there are many expressions of struggle, some of which include extreme violence. If we can remove the struggle of ALL communities, perhaps we can remove the need for violence. This is why a universal application and acceptance of human rights is vital.

Human rights are not a convenience or a luxury for a few, they should be applied universally to all. Unfortunately, there are very big hurdles to be overcome for this ideal to be achieved.

In every country, every community and every ethnic group around the world, there are good and bad people. We have to accept this reality, but try our best to be one of the good people in whatever community we belong. We should be bridge-builders encouraging communication, banishing misunderstandings and encouraging a shared, mutual understanding of what human rights mean for everyone.

A Young Mother Begging In Yangon
A Young Mother Begging In Yangon, Burma
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Mutual Coexistence

I’m a Buddhist. I practice Zazen (Zen meditation) regularly, I read, I contemplate. I also acknowledge that I don’t yet know ultimate Truth. To pretend to do so would be arrogance in the extreme.

My faith connects with me and helps me find meaning through the mysteries of everyday life and beyond. I personally believe that Lord Buddha’s teachings offer a very practical path to finding peace.

…What I believe, doesn’t mean I am necessarily right. I can no more prove my beliefs to be true than anyone else of another faith. My beliefs alone make no difference to the world, other than give me a label. It is how I act in the world that matters.

I have Christian, Muslim, Pagan, Jewish, Hindu and many other friends of faiths, who are close friends. There is no question that they are very good people, trying to be a force for light, rather than darkness, in the world. We have mutual respect for each other, and share in a single goal for peace, understanding and love.

We all need to celebrate together our wide-eyed, shared appreciation for the mystery of the Universe. Together, we should hold hands and breathe in the brief moment that is allowed us to explore it. We should waste no time fighting each other.

A Burning Lamp & Lotus Leaves
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Burmese Mother & Infant At Mae Tao Clinic

A Burmese Mother & Infant At Mae Tao Clinic
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

The Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), founded and directed by Dr. Cynthia Maung, providing free health care for refugees, migrant workers, and other individuals who cross the border from Burma to Thailand. People of all ethnicities and religions are welcome at the Clinic. Its origins go back to the student pro-democracy movement in Burma in 1988 and the brutal repression by the Burmese regime of that movement. The fleeing students who needed medical attention were attended in a small house in Mae Sot.

Since 1989 MTC has grown, from that one small house to a large complex of simple buildings that provide a wide variety of health services to different groups of people. Today it serves a target population of approximately 150,000 on the Thai-Burma border. Exact numbers are hard to calculate because of the fluidity of the population. About 50% of those who come to MTC for medical attention are migrant workers in the Mae Sot area; the other 50% travel cross-border from Burma for care.

Mae Tao Clinic Objectives:

1. To provide health services for displaced Burmese populations along the Thailand-Burma border.
2. To provide initial training of health workers and subsequent corollary medical education.
3. To strengthen health information systems along the border.
4. To improve health, knowledge, attitudes, and practices within local Burmese populations.
5. To promote collaboration among local ethnic health organizations.
6. To strengthen networking and partnering with international health professionals and institutions.

Please support this vital service. maetaoclinic.org/