I am deeply saddened by the news that 49 people in Orlando Florida in the USA, have been murdered in cold blood and that 53 others have been wounded in this latest horrific incident.
These murderous attacks are happening across the planet killing many, many people. More often than not, the targets are innocent people going about normal everyday activities.
The hate and the killing must stop!
No one should die because they have different belief structures, or are different in any way from another person.
Let us forget forever the name of the Orlando murderer, banish it to the loneliest unmarked grave, without honour or epitaph. Do not show his picture and do not give coverage to his extreme and twisted personal misinterprtations of a particular religion.
But more than that…
Let us all learn to truly accept people and respect them as they are regardless of their faith or non-faith, gender association, sexual orientation, skin colour, ethnic origin etc.
Although not an excuse, our problem is that we can only see through the eyes we have, and they are biased, due to our personal experiences and what we have been taught or modelled. However change is possible for all of us, but only if we are willing to start.
We must always search for better ways, always question entrenched ideologies, always ask for help if you need it, and offer it where you are able.
- We need to start to see the person, the humanity, within each individual and respect them as they are;
- We need to stop labelling and putting people in boxes that make it easier for us to dismiss others as different or inferior;
- We need to remember that the blood in all our veins runs red, that we breathe the same air, and that this tiny little rock floating in space that we share is our only home.
It is a bold, courageous and glorious goal to love everybody and it is not easy, but even a small step in the direction of love is a good start. The trick is, when you start the journey, keep moving.
We must remember that this is a journey and
- We are all at varying stages along the way,
- We are not perfect,
- We are broken,
- We can’t do it alone,
- We need help,
- We need patience with others on the journey.
May be, just may be, if we all take a small step towards love and peace the world will be a better place.
Paul S Allen
Sometimes, in all our lives, we will all fall off the wave.
The wave is a metaphor and it will mean different things for people and at different stages of our lives. It could be a particular skill, a career, anything. You are a student of life, constantly developing and growing (whether you know it or not).
Being a student means to try things beyond your known ability, this will lead to you making mistakes or not succeeding at times. You need to develop strength and new skills. One day you will succeed, you can become an expert and yes, even then you will make mistakes and fail at times.
Failure is not the end, don’t give up, don’t take it personally, learn from your experience.
The lesson from this surfer is you just try again. (here was his next wave)
All people have the right to live in peace and safety without persecution, oppression, victimisation or death.
It does not matter about differences as long as we can mutually respect each other.
We need to embrace diversity not fear it.
Let us look beyond nationality, race, religion, gender or orientation, and respect the person. Listen to each others stories without judgement or condemnation.
We, the free, need to stand up for the oppressed and the persecuted and let their voices be heard.
Let us free the oppressed.
Let us see the humanity.
Let us love the person.
Let there be peace.
Graphics created by Paul S Allen
©Paul S Allen 2014
What is a community?
Community is a group of people who have some form of relationship with each other or share a commonality of some description or another. Communities are as infinitely varied as the people who are part of them.
Communities can be very informal or strictly formal associations.
Communities exist for as many reasons as there are people on earth. They can be skill based, task orientated, faith/religion/church based, non-faith, political, secular, work related, geographic, ethnic, gender, sexuality, or age based, anything at all.
There should never be an assumption of a unified reason that a community exists, as you can never know the true intentions of all the participants.
The best you can hope for is that everyone, or at least most, will have enough shared intent to work together for a stated outcome.
It is always good to be reminded that where there are people, there will always be politics and there will always be at least one person who will assume, or usurp, control or power.
People do good for many reasons, some reasons are selfless and some selfish, for many it is a combination at one level or another. None of us have 100% pure motives for everything we do.
Why assume community organisations do?
Never blindly follow a “leader”, always be willing to question and act on the answers you get. I have said before, “People who blindly follow a leader, political ideology, belief or value system without questioning, are fooling themselves with a false sense of security.” (Think – your country needs it)
Do not let this stop you from getting involved in your community, the only assurance is that change can only happen if people are willing to get involved, what ever the reason.
All you can do is work on your own motives for getting involved in community.
Paul S Allen
How the unlovely, the broken and the disadvantaged are treated is the measure of society.
If you go behind all our masks, behind the tattoos, the makeup, the hair, the gender, the orientation, the religion or non-religion, you will meet a human. Someone who breathes the air, has blood in their veins, eats, rests, and generally lives from one routine to another.
We are all human.
My eyes were opened one day when a feared gang member stopped outside a food shop to buy his lunch. What I saw that day was a person, who probably ordered and paid for his favourite sandwich, and looked forward to eating it.
A man with a hunger, a need, a desire for something, normal, satisfying.
I got to know this man in a small way over a few years, I knew him as a person who looked out for his friends, he was a caring man, he tried to protect youth when needed. He shared with me his concerns about children playing in a derelict building site. He had a desire to improve his circumstances and of those around him.
He was also a gang member, he wore a patch, I am sure he had earned it in a way I did not want to know about. He was an outcast from “normal” society.
What I mainly saw was the man, a human.
A desire to change from someone with a less than “normal” past, whether that be criminal or other anti-social background (mental health especially has a stigma that people need to overcome) requires us to change our attitude, it requires us to get out of our comfort zone to reach out to the one wanting to change.
It means taking a risk.
Unless we are prepared to take a risk to reach out to others who are different from us how can we ever expect to improve our community.
To ostracize the unlovely, the broken and the disadvantaged is an indictment on the society we live in.
We need to be a community where forgiveness is a norm, where there is acceptance of the different, and where those wishing to and needing to change can find a place to do so and people who can help.
To love the unlovely is to love your fellow human. Something we are all called to do.
Paul S Allen