“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” – Albert Einstein
“Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which can’t be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.” – Plutarch
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. – Maya Angelou
We shall overcome one day in ourselves, with gratitude to our past, our present and our future. Gratitude to those who made our life and circumstances possible. Gratitude to our friends and opponents who made us what we are now or what we have been, – who shaped our response, – those who were “our teachers” in both the right and the wrong things.
We may overcome ourselves within the things we cherish, within the positives amidst negatives, – the last being different for all of us. Different for us as individuals, different for us as a class or group as well, whether we are part of a city, state or country.
The Freedom Fighters in the US shaped the future for equal rights among black and whites. This shaping of the future was not without violence and cruelty. Non-violent struggle did overcome racial segregation, like it did overcome apartheid in South Africa with similar forces in action elsewhere many years later. Again however, not without violence and cruelty. People beaten, shot, disappearing, often at young age, – by their opponents. But they did overcome, marching up to freedom. Freedom land as a way of achieving, not the final goal, but a way. A way with violence to be avoided, – where possible. At least by not provoking this violence. What we give we tend to receive. If we answer all violence with violence it makes us all blind and there are smarter ways, – ways being less destructive and more effective to bend sweltering injustice into a strapping justice of different sorts. It is the way of violence to be avoided within all reasonable dimensions.
Julian Bond, civil rights activist
Like the US was trying to control the status quo in the 196o ties, South Africa was trying to defend the rights of minorities by compromising the rights of majorities. Many countries are still doing the same. But the non-violence movement has been neither restricted to the US nor South Africa. And still we benefit from such a movement, and the movement needs to grow as it is the only way forward to overcome man made institutional and other dangers being difficult to control. If man made dangers can’t be controlled by reason anymore, we are at risk of being controlled by defeatist perceptions regarding those dangers, with the risk those perceptions take over at a cost of man made opportunities we have. The power of a non violence movement need to be able then to show greater leverage than the power of senseless massacres or decisions to go this direction.
Where the choice is made to make peaceful revolution impossible, the alternative however of a violent uprising is inevitable.
Peaceful change with the least possible violence is the way to overcome. A movement which should grow from Syria to North Korea, from oppressive regimes in South America to similar regimes in Asian countries. But the means by which the movement for change now tries to break through is by no means the same or fitting the Gandhi/Martin Luther King or Mandela legacy, – seems to evolve more dangerous even and perhaps more deadly. Often leaders now responsible for venom being injected to paralyze it’s people in fear, and not to speak out anymore.
Bloodshed and massacres do not seem to stop and the question is what sort of good may come out of all of this and what sort of “reason” people or countries may come up with , without making situations at various places more explosive. Whilst some people may feel gratitude for both the past, the present and the future, the question as well what sort of “gratitude” people may have at places in the most difficult circumstance one can imagine, – situations like we can only recognize from war’s we have been able to leave behind. The gratitude to live for some might be replaced by the gratitude to die for others, which is the worst of all gratitude as the last gratitude we should have is the gratitude to live. And this is the preferred gratitude we should be able to share and to contribute to, if at all possible.
The last is what we may think. But people are able to take this away from other people by the venom of hate, by the brutality of their violence, by the starvation of people. Some of them will “overcome” but not all of them. Some of them may see the new day but not all of them. Some of them may feel peace but others may have lost all peace, all gratitude, and don’t feel human anymore as their humanity has been compromised and violated on the altar of merciless torture and abuse.
It is this almost complex manifestation in nature as well, that life often comes at a cost of other life, – whilst as human beings by nature we have the gift by choice. The last in general to change the dynamics of hate and destruction into the dynamics of a reasonable peace. Not an ideal peace perhaps. However, combined with more justice, at least the most desired option within the reasoning of our human options. As long as we have such a desire and imagine the implications in the best possible ways, – we may attract positive outcomes if those ripples of hope are shared at the best possible frequencies of our human dimensions. With this shared gift we can change and “overcome”.
Liberation is only possible by ordinary people doing extra ordinary things by non-violence. The power of ordinary people can keep a dream alive, can move governments if so required, is able to resolve some of the dangers of war and all-out violence. Is even able to “move” people who lost their dreams as due to even an overload of prosperity. The other way around, – so to say, as people can “sleep in” through prosperity, being blind for what is going around. However, whilst the broader movement of non-violent action resisting what persists along the lines of injustice of various kind, the question is whether the non violent approach as a starting point is always possible to be continued under all circumstances as part of the process of liberation?
If we look at history the answer is simply: No! Without violence it was not possible to remove Hitler and his followers. Without violence it was not possible e.g during WW2 to protect the Jews in various countries like e.g. the Netherlands, where resistance groups had to target Gestapo Officers responsible for the transportation of Jews to concentration camps, and likewise had to target collaborators who worked with the Gestapo. Without the perseverance of Brittain and the support of the US Hitler’s “Third Reich” would have had free play. It is just an example. And there are far more and other examples as well. However non-violent action to bring required change is the most favorable and most honorable way to add to peaceful dynamics which may last. Perseverance is more prevailing than persistent violence
Let’s be grateful that despite tears, pain, hardship and even death, – history showed the growing seeds of forces turning against evil and overcome destructive powers. Therefore, still we can say “we shall overcome” even if we are not allowed to see the promised land, – we shall overcome.
Even with our confined days on this earth we have the choice to try to reduce destruction and improve life and the circumstances of those who needless suffer as due to the choices of evil powers, the last which should not to be tolerated in our times. Powers which are due to be eliminated as due to the risks they impose on humanity.
Time is slow for those in need. Time is slower for those who are desperate and time stands still almost when people lose their loved one’s in ongoing violence. Violence eg in Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Gaza and other areas…
Protecting of self-interest when under threat as a country is one thing. However, this should be reasonable and within proportions. Being the captives of perceived national security threats and not being able to reach out to the voices of crippled people under the brutal forces of any military powers or secret police at times, – is hard to tolerate in a world which has been faced with so much pathological violence before. And whilst time may be slow, here time is of the essence to resist this, as morbid powers are not allowed to take over.
History did teach us many lessons in what works and also things which do not work, and we can be grateful for this. However the highest appreciation is not utter words only but to live by those lessons, to live the gratitude for those lessons and to pay tribute to those in history who did contribute to more justice and gratitude and peace for our times and all times, – even when there are still areas on this planet where this is not felt at all.
Our obligation is not an obligation to pay lip service only.
We live in a world with increasing injustice, the last even within institutions, – a venom if not eradicated!
Though we are limited in our endeavours, we shall overcome one day, . as long as our dreams do last, . as long as our unaffected efforts do not rest, . as long as our mind conceives and believes, our gratitude does not cease, and we as people are able to fulfil, . in a way which lifts the burdens in and around us and makes us free.
Let us raise again in this dream, as to never forget, …as this is the reality of life where all men are created equal, – but most being surely more unequal through the far stretching differences and circumstances of life, – the last for certain not always by choice.
Therefore, – again, and more than ever before: resist in truth what is wrong, and persist in truth what is good whilst protecting live as worthy as possible.
We may have fallen with our feet trodden beneath the dust, but we shall rise up again. Reminding ourselves that our lives depend on the labour of others and that we have to give in the same measure as we received, taking things day by day and step by step, – knowing that endurance is more powerful than ferocity.
Knowing as well that there is a place and time for the fullness of real gratitude, and that amidst the corners of history’s shame we shall overcome one day, as the wall’s of hatred and prejudice have been broken then, – and mercy may prevail for our time and all times!
You can still make decisions . . .Decisions based on your driving desire and your will. Decisions resulting in deeds and deeds resulting in your destiny, – so to say.
It is well known that the sum of your decisions largely define your future and “destiny”, by choice..
Let’s take courage from this principle of life, so to say. Courage at the beginning of a New Year again. Courage perhaps for the years ahead. Courage that at some extend and perhaps at some large extend we can take control, or still take control, as we have the gift of a free choice in most of the things we undertake. We have even the choice to buy into this principle or not, make the decision to use our freedom as good as possible within the given circumstances or not.
It sounds so simple “lets take courage” but in the broader context we are made to act and not acted upon. We are not made to stand aside but we are made to take part. We are not made to stay in idle hope but we are made to carry the spirit forward in the firm belief that life is worthwhile living, in the knowledge that this world is far from perfect. All this is based on our deeds, our decisions, – our will and our desires.
Our decisions need to be based on the simple fact that it is better to love than to hate, regardless that loving does not mean allowing anyone else to abuse us.
If we do so we may have peace at heart!
Nelson Mandela could have said: ” For those living in countries like South Africa in the past – under oppression – any one may ask what he or she may contribute to the reduction of tyranny and improve eventually, where possible, the process of reconciliation with the power of forgiveness”.
Doing so means you have peace at heart like Mandela had a particular way of maintaining peace at heart.
No reconciliation however is able to undo the torture of women and children, and the culprits of those acts against humanity should face the justice systems of their own countries as this is a required peace time effort.
If we can’t e.g resolve those problems in peacetime, civilisation is not by any means able to resolve such problems at war-time.
The question is what we are going to do about it and what our own personal response will be for our own future, amidst all the choices we have in our own circumstances in 2014. Good is to improve life where possible, – bad is to destroy life where this in the spirit of both reason and compassion can be, or should be, avoided. At times this can be an agonising question without peace, – but it may provide us peace.
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth are not the means by which we need to live, and on all sides of the religious spectrum we are never told to do so. Those “who live by the sword will be killed by the sword”.
It’s a matter of peace or conflict.
As Martin Luther King ,Jr once said: “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.”
The crux lies in the method!
We live however in a world where simple escalating events may lead to massive drama’s all around, – a world where peace in no way is secured.
War’s have been fought over various decades, influence shifted across the borders of various nations and the balance of power will be neither the domain only of super powers nor the prerogative of economic powers when we see countries arise with the potential of military and nuclear power meeting us again, – eventually by surprise perhaps. The last destroying historical efforts of civilised nations to stay above the potential of mass destruction, – based on the reasoning that a large new war is not a rational alternative anymore. Often this reasoning has been forged in the crucible of historical hardship, being different for most of the nations on this world, – however being unique in both the shared will to survive and to prosper. The last does apply for most nations but not for all perhaps. The Russian provocation on Cuba with the US in October 1962 brought the world only hours away from a very likely and totally uncontrolled all-out nuclear war, more or less prevented -so to say – at “the last minute”.
In our peaceful efforts we need to keep this at heart.
Both love forgiving and gratitude in the will to live and to manifest itself in all our energies brightens the world, – like the sun brightens the sky. Nothing in this world is impossible and e.g. Nelson Mandela made sure to remind us of this! And as President Kennedy once said: “The only certainty we have is that nothing is certain”.
Today in the international arena of politics we are faced with the increasing prospect that relatively less influential nations and leaders may use their possession of nuclear warheads by narrow-minded decisions, – aiming to inflict as large as possible destruction for reasons nobody understands. It will put peace at the biggest test…
Everything is a matter of perception and perceptions do rule the world, either in the leaders of people and governments, or in the people themselves. Whether those perceptions are right or wrong, bizarre perhaps at times – if we make decisions feuded by prejudice, and as such preventing that we work together with the most crucial different perceptions of our times, – we are taking away the opportunities of people coming together and making the impossible possible.
Decision , decisions..but we have to face them at any level, – wherever we live in 2014!
So the courage to decide and try to maintain peace in general is important, at any place and at any time, – but the courage to love as well. The compassion of doing the things being both right and good at every point of testing. This will define your future in the smaller areas and our future in the larger domain of living together, – living together on this small planet. It will define our future within this larger domain if the majority of voices on this world speak and act upon this language in the same or similar frequency
The courage to live life in such a way as well as if every day could be the last one.
The courage to strive for peace.
This is a question of courage and character, a question of encouragement or discouragement, – the question or ask to be a sparkling light as we have the privilege of a free choice to show ourselves this way, – this way with peace.
As once said, peace does not mean to be at a place with no noise. Peace does not mean to live without trouble or hard work, but it means to live at a place where our energies are focussed. It means we can be calm at heart when there is violence, calm at heart when there is injustice or hardship, – but work against it with “Peace at Heart”. Peace at heart when we realise that the world lives in us and we do live in the world. The last with our own response, – with our own last choice to make decisions with peace at heart. Nobody can take this ability away from us if our desires go this direction.
This is the kind of peace I wish everybody for 2014! A peace with neither limit nor ceiling, wherever we may live and whatever our circumstances may show. This is the kind of peace within the domain of our own choices, our own decisions, – the decisions within the smaller areas of our life or the bigger ones at a larger stage. As long we are able to make decisions based on those desires, our mission on earth is not finished and still, – still we are able to acquire the glory of the world, as once was stated some 5000 years ago.
“Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.”, – again this is what I wish for all of you. That the shadows fall behind you in 2014 and that so your desires reach the frequency of peace and compassion!
“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
South Africa’s first black President who led his country out of apartheid died at the age of 95 today. Tributes are pouring in from all over the world as the general sense is that “A great light has gone out”. Mandela’s greatest powers and values could not be taken away from him during his lifelong struggle for freedom. In his simple humanity he was able to harness the force of love. He loved the case for which he fought for both his country and fellow countrymen, – in ways only a few were able to do before in history.
Therefore Mandela never forgotten under the stone. Time has its favours and so has clay its own, but his legacy will be remembered through the generations.
He exercised his power eventually with gratitude and humility, which kept him connected with both many of black and white South Africans.
The transition of South Africa without major civil war has been actually a miracle considering the existing dynamics at the time where only a few made the real difference. Nelson Mandela was one of them and in his capacity as the first black South African President he had to balance at all sections of life and did reach out to both black and white. He did this with wisdom , determination, love and generosity.
Many people in South Africa did resonate with his example of leadership and the nature of this leadership was the trigger of making the nearly impossible possible.
Depending on the way his legacy and love to make such difference will last in the hearts and minds of the South African people will decide the way this new South Africa will continue to develop in the spirit of “his founding father”.
He said once: ” I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination”. The determination of working without domination from any kind and respecting human rights of all kinds will nourish the garden of South Africa’s future.
Poverty includes the feeling of being poor.
With the legacy of Nelson Mandela South Africa may feel rich.
“It is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.” – Herman Goering
“Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.
How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.” – ?Julius Caesar
With the US more and more involved in the Asia-Pacific region as part of a “China containment strategy” and securing trade, a potential pending conflict between the US and China should first be an issue between the US and China in which no other countries should be involved. However reality shows that the US is creating strategic strongholds from which they intend to operate, if required, with all available nuclear power abilities and other advanced weapon systems getting increasingly in place. The nuclear power availability may reach up to half a million the strength of what has been dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Both US citizens and Chinese citizens apart from all those countries within this region don’t deserve a fate at least 100 times worse than what happened in Hiroshima, either by calculation or by error. It is up to US citizens as well to accept or not accept this as war in this region will reach the US as well.
Secondly it would be wise for the super powers to start straightaway high level negotiations about bilateral “fear reduction”, reduction of arms and further more a detailed mutual cooperation to keep both the Asia-Pacific area and the world free of a potential and devastating conflict, besides improving the means by which this world is still able to provide a margin for itself. The last is a healthy economic trade environment, not based on isolation and preparing for war but based on an inclusive “all party approach” with fair principles at its core. Besides this tackling the roots of poverty and improve education at all corners around the globe. This is what I would call taking the “high road” of constructive risk reduction for the benefit of people around the world, as the concept of a potential conflict between the above superpowers and the preparations for this in place already, are not within the spirit and reasoning being required for our times to control risk and prevent war.
Military power being allowed to drive at different intervals and grades a country’s foreign policy has been allowed to use the fear part among people to take wide-range steps to defend and attack if so required, with the development of an excessive war machinery. This trend is quite clear in the US. The military industrial complex is complex in its motives. It is an advanced industry on its own and with no exception a powerful force in each country. In earlier history more often Soviet leaders were guided by the military forces, like the US was often guided by it’s own military forces. So is and will be the Chinese leadership guided by their own military forces. In some occasions the roles of those forces may get quite dominant as often they will prove with whatever intelligence that they are “right”. Intelligence of this nature has not always been evidence based and if it was evidence based not rarely this evidence was created by actions provoking the other party to act in a particular desired way, confirming the justification of distrust and escalating the steps for itself feeding perceptions. Those perceptions in the past started with the perceived impression of opponents and reached at different times the perception of potential and real enemies. Sometimes those perceptions were right, sometimes those perceptions were wrong.
Both in this and future generations however we can’t afford the potential paranoia of some military representatives guiding governments on actions being proper, as whichever country is guided by the wrong intelligence in the hour of greatest danger, – all out war will be inevitably the result at a scale never seen before.
The dynamics are complex and leaders of countries may at some extend realise the complexities of their own war departments so to say. However the influence is often significant if we watch the patterns at various countries. Those power dynamics between the civilian representatives of a country weather democratic or having the format of a “Committee” and the military are different and obvious for most countries, the super powers in particular included. They are what we call the realities of this world. Expensive realities though as a significant amount of the national budget is devoted to improve and maintain military forces and it’s intelligence to detect the actions and wrongdoings of the other party, the opponent or the enemy if worse. Sometimes history did create enemies to provide an excuse to go to war, sometimes there was a real enemy which was never stopped at an early stage. The last creating war of a different kind, what we call a justified war. But even a just war is not justified in its implications if prevention was not the early tool of choice to change the dynamics leading up to such a war. Again not always possible as there have been and there will be always people seeking power to embrace conflict and war and they always find support within the domain of their military forces. Neither the nature of military forces is bad nor the people filling the positions, but often they are the prisoners of their own restricted “target” perceptions as there is little grace under military rule once the full force of military power finds its way in either a controlled war or a non-controlled war. An order to fight is simply an order to kill the enemy as vigorous as possible.
History provides us millions of stories about people who died in conflict or war and many countries have their ways to remind those who died for their country. On those days the brief memory on the agony of war and the sadness and pain it inflicted, but every time through the generations there have been new wars and new genocides and the intentions to prevent those things reoccurring have never been strong enough in the history of man kind because if the spirit to change things really for the better was strong enough, we would not face the challenges we have today.
The point is not who is to blame for this, the point is leading nations to take responsibility to give examples and ripples of hope to turn the tide in history. Change it we must because only this way we will find the eternal blessing of being caretakers of this world. If not we will face uncontrolled destruction as when the powers of war are escalating no leaders will be able to control those powers anymore, – as no country with nuclear powers will be prepared to surrender once attacked with the devastating impact of the destruction inflicted.
It is pointless to play games with this warfare or playing the wrong card to provide evidence of superiority as such gesture could easily be miscalculated and war could start by error, – people including generals being in place at the wrong time. Such a war will come at a cost larger than ever before and lack of responsibility for taking the right direction would be to blame for this. Hence we need to stop this process as the signs and warnings are eminent on both sides of the Pacific.
Evidently the US did start this process with high gear and still silent preparations for the Pacific with not unlikely an escalation in 2012 – 2013. A nuclear error within the context of the current “build up” in the Pacific will never be considered as an error but will be responded with a full nuclear reply, – hence the reason to be proactive in efforts to reverse the reciprocal perception of both countries that each of them could be a danger for their national security as within those perceptions the build up to conflict and potential error will be eminent.
This is what responsible superpowers need to prevent as winning such a potential conflict is an illusion whilst preparing for it is not the same as prevention, – not anymore in a scenario like this.
How grave are the dangers?
Consider the following:
China’s military capacity has been changed in so far that it’s defence budget is focussed to get widespread Anti-Access/Area Denial strategies (A2/AD.), which is a concern for the US.
“Sea denial” in case of conflict would seem to be China’s military strategy in case of conflict to inflict both significant costs and erode enemy forces by targeting the weakness of the enemy in battle.
The Chinese forces are able to attack from both the air, main land China, but also from the surface of the sea and below.
Submarines play a key role in the Chinese defence systems, if attacked a hard job for anti-submarine warfare if enemy’s would take China on board in battle.
Those submarines are both conventional and nuclear and if the US would contemplate to attack China, both US forces at sea including aircraft carriers would sustain likely much losses.
Like the US made it pointless for any country to attack US homeland with missiles from both the sea and the air, China made it pointless for any country to do similar.
Advanced weapons systems on both submarines and land based missile and air forces would meet China’s aim to deny the waters near the Chinese coast to any combat forces if so required.
Whilst the antisubmarine warfare capabilities (AWS) of the United States are not that ideal anymore after the Cold War with the Soviet Union stopped, the U.S. has remained a qualitative unmatched technology on their existing submarines.
The problem for the US is that their numbers on superior submarines are down which is not likely to improve dramatically as due to US the budget deficit.
With the U.S. Navy having problems in the AWS domain, it has placed a renewed focus on ASW training and detection in the Pacific.
At present there are US submarines in both Hawaii, Guam and California with a base to be planned in both Singapore and Australia.
If U.S. submarines containing nuclear cruise missiles would strike against targets in mainland China this would provoke an immediate escalation into a 3rd world war, affecting both homeland China and the Us as well.
US submarines as due existing technology may sustain the Chinese A2/AD defence force. Most likely the US will increase it’s acquisition of well advanced submarines, including unmanned equipment and the application of fixed sensors in the seas near China to detect and destroy Chinese submarines in time of war. Hence now US coöperation being sought in both the Philippines and Vietnam to use equivalent equipment at the junction between the Chinese Sea and the Western Pacific to the early detection and destruction of Chinese submarines, again at times of war.
The incidents at the Chinese Sea lately played the US in it’s favour to get the coöperation being required from both those countries and Australia.
Whilst the US does not admit, their increased activities in the Pacific are of a potential first strike nature, with the Chinese only now increasing both their defence and target range if any country would contemplate to compromise their borders and security at a large-scale.
If the Chinese would build a first strike capability in and above the seas close to the US the US would see this as a provocation, like Cuba in the past inflicted provocation to the US with Soviet missiles being able to attack the US.
The difference is that the Soviets inflicted this at the time and the US is inflicting this now in the Pacific, trying even to build up relations with controversial states like Burma at the border of China. Hillary Clinton will visit Burma tomorrow the 30th of November 2011 to assess the situation with a view to turn the leaders to a place more favourable to public opinion, but crimes and torture and human trafficking have never been (properly) addressed.
The reasoning for the US is to secure vital Sea Lanes in the Pacific, both for the purpose of trade and military access if so required. Apart from this the containment policy towards China aims to affect both China’s trade ability as a faster growing economic power than the US, and apart from this to “tighten” the perceived “Tiger in its cage”.
Chinese wisdom will dictate its leaders to respond slow, but perhaps with more leadership than the US demonstrates at this point in time.
China has different trading partners and till so far demonstrated to play win-win in business dealings, providing the US even with excessive loans to help their war’s in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their advised stance in matters is not to move within the changes as created by the US now, within an US context of lack of economic growth and perhaps reduced long-term sustainability, as the US like Europe “played with money” not even existing, paying towards program’s of various nature whilst the deficits increased – the last causing chaos on international markets, including recession at home.
“The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough — more than enough — of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success.”
This is what President John F Kennedy said in 1963, not too long before he was assassinated by the representatives of Pentagon and CIA hardliners. Hardliners who wanted to pursue the Vietnam war at all cost.
How just is current US policy in the Pacific region if it does take part in the “silent” preparation for war, with such forces being increasingly concentrated, – and relatively so close to China, whilst North Korea could trigger potentially this conflict among the 2 super powers.
The last 2 powers which failed to contain North Korea as a more profound threat than either China or the US could be to each other, as reason still dominates the last direction of those 2 countries with the highest nuclear and other potential of total destruction.
North Korea could trigger however a conflict where even for the 2 major super powers on earth there might be a point of no return with any small error of calculation.
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal or act to improve the lot of others, or strikes against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert F Kennedy, former US Senator and Presidential candidate in 1968
Like words can move and guide people as part of proper leadership, so is principle centred and strategic non violent action able to remove the power base of oppressive regimes, – those regimes with no respect for human rights. Needless to say the movement of non violent action will endure and the force if well-balanced on all core principles, may outmanoeuvre dictators to make free the people who lost their freedom and dignity under often ruthless powers.
It works. It proved in India at the times of Gandhi, it proved in Tunisia and Egypt with people at the forefront of action and strengthened with the literature of eg Gene Sharp, the last being a scholar in nonviolent social change and still alive today in East Boston, USA. Gene Sharp is a graduate from Oxford and has held positions at Harvard University, besides Massachusetts Dartmouth. His books “The Politics of Nonviolent Action” and “Waging Nonviolent Struggle” have inspired many movements across the globe. Iran did accuse him of working for the CIA, which is not true. A reflection however that the non violent movement if well prepared is feared by those countries who have reason to fear, Iran and Syria included. Needless to say that in some Middle East countries real discussions are going as how to break the force of non violent action. However if well-developed, like Robert Kennedy from a distance once indicated, it can “sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression”, as happened eg in South Africa.
Obviously the road of non violence action is not without risk and people engaging in non violent action will be killed regardless their good intentions. Often the struggle is a hard one with loss of friends to be endured, not to speak about the risk of very potential torture. However non-violence by principle and guided with superior talent is the only way, as violence will be responded with greater violence by forces far stronger than yourself and it will give opponents an argument to fight to the bitter end. Non violence includes the choice of specific tactics, often to break the violence of opposing policing and military force.
There have been misconceptions about nonviolent action. Many people used to think that it was not a strong force and that only the violence of war could remove extreme dictators. It is not true. Foreign countries do not need to occupy countries where human rights are abused or where dictator’s have the reigns. It needs to come from the people themselves, at times with support like in Libya. However the last one was not an example of non violent struggle and where violent struggle obtains a victory the likelihood of violence to be sustained has increased, – whatever party did win the struggle. Only if the principles of non violent action are at the centre of the struggle, those groups sustaining and winning the battle this way are more likely to continue to stick to those principles.
If people are disciplined and courageous, they can do it with the proper concepts of non violent action. When people lose the understandable element of fear of an oppressor’s regime, the oppressive regime is facing deep trouble. Maintaining a nonviolent discipline is crucial. If a highly oppressive regime has various troops and effective weapons, it is foolish to try fighting them on their own ground You can’t win from their weapons and if you use the same tactics you will be branded as terrorists. So you must choose something else. Violence is usually not the answer, it creates more often greater disasters.
Highly regarded Us exVietnam war officials initially being sceptic about the concept of “non violent action”, – changed their mind after the war as they were confronted with evidence that it worked, – more effective than they ever thought! The power base of people does not involve a foreign occupation of any country if such country lives in gross contradiction of essential human rights, – it does not even involve the requirement of using ugly force. It only requires to empower people with the principles of non violent obstruction and non coöperation in the specific context of their country and such a movement is able the get a victory on principle and start on the same principles a sustainable democracy with proper law enforcement, – the last requiring force of the law on the real offenders and criminals.
Military-Industrial Complex ConductInvitesNonviolent Direct Action
Some may say throwing stones are fine as long as you don’t hit people. It is simply not true. The gesture is violent in itself and will be responded with physical and all other violence. In biblical terms the fall of Jericho was neither caused by violence nor stones. The walls representing the barrier were of such nature that violence would not bring it down. Oppression and dictators are based on certain systems of power and undermining those systems to make them fall apart is one of the aims to get rid of oppression. With faith!
This concept can be developed into a smart and highly effective technology using the human spirit in all it’s positive and creative dimensions for those who suffer an enduring and violent injustice against the basics of human rights. It requires a sound knowledge of the nature and dynamics of the oppressing regime, answering the question as well in which areas they are both strong and weak. Modern communication technology will aid such movement of positive change.
It is not always true that every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves, what is true that every community may get the sort of law enforcement it insists on. To tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world (as the Greeks) wrote so long ago, requires a shift in modern thinking where this modern thinking traditionally did include the option of excessive and more brutal force than ever before, against the will and the interest of the people. This type of shift in thinking and perception is simply progress in the way we see the world and change is the motivator of progress into non violent ways to meet worthy goals and show respect for life.
However this type of change has enemies not to be underestimated. Those enemies are usually the extremists being extreme in their intolerance and in their accusations and it is paramount to provide them no grounded base for their accusations. Hence being in debt familiar with the principles of non violent struggle being the baseline to start a strategic sound and well prepared campaign against the oppressors, whoever the oppressors are and wherever they may be.
It is within this context that the intellectual work of Gene Sharp deserves recognition as within the context of an increasing friction between the interests of the people and the interests of Governments who seek confrontation rather than peace, whilst the people they represent say:”Never ever again!”, – it provides a blueprint to do what Senator Robert F Kennedy once said in the above quote about “ripples of hope” and “million centres of energy and daring”.
The power of one can make or break the world where it comes to critical decisions about war and peace, and where the power of one directs into the direction of war the power of people’s have a right to say:”Not again, – never again!”, – as all out war on this planet not being able to controlled anymore is not a rational alternative. People have a right even to sweep down democratic governments if those governments take it one step too far in the direction of major war, and not keep the peace where the option is to preserve the peace. Too many wars in the past were pointless, without real gain and with too many losses.
Any future major war may escalate into global disaster and as global citizens we have an obligation to watch our governments on the best possible intentions to protect our human right to live on this planet and cultivate the positive potential of life, – industry, – liberty and cut inequalities among race, cultures and individual opportunities. The last just to be able to live, to love, to learn and to leave a legacy!
The use of violence is only the very last option when nuclear powers try to dominate the world with both the use of nuclear force and international blackmail, – after it proved all efforts of proper international diplomacy guided by the UN failed.
To sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression against human rights and injustice, against the mightiest walls in favour of an increasing arms race and both nuclear and biochemical threat, – requires nearly half a billion centres of energy and daring. As only this current can change the tide in human history!
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” – Nelson Mandela
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the
only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is
great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what
you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t
settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you
find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better
and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you
find it. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one
thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the
body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up.
It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is
never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger
the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was
never tired… You’ve always got to make the mind take over
and keep going.” – George S. Patton
The last quote applies to “the body” of a country as well, and disciplined as Mandela was he showed this already at a personal level, – last but not least during his years on Robben Island where he continued to inspire the movement for change against the odds. Mandela has been imprisoned for 27 years as a political prisoner. It neither changed his spirit nor did it stop him from continuing his struggle to make South Africa free of Apartheid.
When he entered Robben Island in 1964 he was emotionally headstrong and easily stung. The man however who emerged from this imprisoned island was far more balanced and disciplined. At some stage he said: “I came out mature.” He smiled like he often smiled, not showing fear despite going through fear at times, not showing the internal struggle he often experienced. His life has been always at the centre of struggle. In 1994, 4 years after his release from Robben Island , he became the first democratically elected “black” president of South Africa at the age of 75. He embraced at this stage both black and white in his efforts to create unity in the damaged “soul” of South Africa. He devoted his life to the fight against domination and gave it the very best performance, an enduring example for many generations to come. An example as well that regardless of age the course may endure and the dream will never die, if we have one being large enough to add value to life.
Life only is a brief expression of the universe with endless possibilities and ideas, both in the positive and the negative. Mandela tuned into the irreversible idea for justice to be achieved for South Africa and made it his lives work, neither only justice for the blacks but denied justice as well for the whites who were prisoners of being tuned into the wrong ideology. Once a country is tuned into the wrong stuff many citizens unfortunately do resonate with the same wrong stuff, whatever it is. We did see this in Germany in the 1940ties. We did see this more recently in Syria and Libya and there is a whole list of countries without true compass, neither with justice nor with law enforcement to enforce this justice if people lack self-control.
Whilst being influenced by the Gandhi principles on non-violence and initially committed to non violent resistance. Mandela and 150 others were arrested on 5 December 1956 and charged with treason. This slowly changed the consensus over the years within the ANC. It could prove that nonviolent resistance did not work. Whilst Mandela intended to prevent bloodshed even where opponents were the culprits of bloodshed, he could not commit himself to the principle of non-violence anymore as the Government in place allowed the (secret) police to abuse human rights in all dimensions, including all sorts of torture. Being on Robben Island and Mandela seeking obviously freedom, President Botha offered Mandela in 1985 this freedom on condition that he ‘unconditionally rejected violence as a political weapon’. Mandela released however a statement via his daughter Zindzi saying “What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”
Mandela added to value of life and to the culture of ideas which makes nations an enduring entity if they stick to the same principles. If the manifestation of a non dominant multiracial culture would have been achieved before the agony of apartheid the struggle now perhaps would be more in the nature of perfecting the “Union” of people in South Africa, – working in peaceful harmony together, with South Africa being a powerful reflection of a well-integrated society maintaining a strong economy for the benefit of all, with proper law enforcement being the protection for all it’s citizens.
From this point of view South Africa has still a long way to go, with “the culture of heart” from Mandela to be maintained and cherished as an ongoing example and “Compass”, long even after he has gone.
It’s an obligation by principle for the new leaders in South Africa, to resist the various temptations as Mandela did. He did not cut corners in his approach and whilst President of South Africa, with an inclusive wisdom and both a sense of justice he did facilitate via his government a range of progressive social reforms, for reducing long entrenched social and economic inequalities in South Africa.
Mandela stated he would support action against Iraq only if it is ordered by the UN. Mandela urged the people of the US to join massive protests against Bush and called on world leaders, especially those with vetoes in the UN Security Council, to oppose him. ” What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.” Nelson Mandela also harshly condemned British Prime Minister Tony Blair and referred to him as the “foreign minister of the United States”.
Whilst correct in his assessment on the war in Iraq, on the other hand Mandela was uncommonly loyal to Muhammad Gaddafi and Fidel Castro. They had helped the ANC when the U.S. still branded Mandela as a terrorist.
Mandela has received over 200 rewards during four decades and in 1993 the Nobel Peace Price. The United Nations General Assembly announced in November 2009 that Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, is to be known as ‘Mandela Day’ to mark his contribution to world freedom, a reflection not only of his meaning to South Africa but to the world in what has been achieved through his lifelong struggle on the road to freedom.
What can we learn about leadership from Nelson Mandela?
1. A particular purpose adding value to the lives of people at a certain time and a certain place.
“The struggle is my life’, Nelson Mandela once said. Obviously this was not his goal or meaning but it was the reflections of his endeavours to reach his mission to irradiate social injustice in South Africa, racial segregation involving apartheid, discrimination which involved black and coloured people. His life was centred around his goal of creating racial equality. It is clear this was a meaningful purpose affecting many in the positive, resonating positively in the wider context and principle of justice, considering what South Africa has gone through over various decades. As the injustice of “Apartheid” was widely felt both national and international, he did link into an overwhelming majority who felt similar and in his passion for his goal to end this injustice as peaceful as possible did attract an immense support on the road to freedom. Besides this he had the unique characteristics to embody and represent the movement for change, despite intermittent frictions about the right approach. However obviously a leader needs to be able to articulate a wider felt purpose to improve the conditions of others and the more this is tuned or aligned with wider values on the issues at the time, the more support he or she is able to create. Nelson Mandela fits this requirement in full, however this is a very general requirement and there are “Mandela specifics” adding extensively to the leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela. The true worth of Nelson Mandela was not found in himself, but in the changes, the textures and colours that came alive in South Africa as a result of what he added to the history of the people in South Africa.
2. Don’t quit, – “stick-to-itiveness.”
What dies in people while they are alive by not even attempting to give their once felt dreams the required efforts (even at the risk of not achieving them) is a sad thing. Some start their pathway with good efforts but when they meet strong resistance and times get tough they give up. They tried at least and find perhaps something else. Some would give it the extra inch being required and come on top, but even this is not fool-proof to be successful. How far to take matters is an individual choice and sometimes some soul-searching is required in the question how far to take the desired outcome and at which costs. If the goal is not a self-serving one and is able to stretch to the interests and justice for the many rather than the few who can serve themselves, there is a power in the words: “Stick – to – itiviness and don’t quit!” Even if we don’t succeed to see “the promised land” ourselves. Obviously we speak here about life changing goals and major changes as being faced with eg people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, apart from various others. For the majority of people the goals are different and may change, but nevertheless there is a fair point to stick it out if there is something you dearly want to achieve. Don’t give up , don’t give in and grow into those goals so that life can’t rob you from it.
Mandela did face many challenges and set backs but in the face of a most powerful government he persisted. His life was his argument by setting an example. Even sentenced to a long stay on Robben Island with freedom taken away, his reputation grew as the most significant black leader of South Africa. He still however had freedom, the last freedom, – the freedom of choice how to take his predicament. “You have to make the mind run the body”, tells the quote at the start of this article. This is what Mandela did. Obviously he was tired at times. Obviously he did ask the question:”Is it still possible?”. Obviously there have been times of despair. He was just a human being and who would not feel lost occasionally in the circumstances he faced. However he persistently continued certain habits. In prison, Mandela kept habits that were already in place. He did stick eg to the disciplined eating regime of an athlete, his early morning exercise and not allowing his spirit to get crushed. He performed hard labour in a lime quarry and needless to say the prison conditions were most basic. Political and black prisoners were kept separate and received the lowest level of privileges. Mandela was allowed one letter and one visitor each 6 months. With the restrictions he had he undertook a distance learning program with the University of London by correspondence and obtained a bachelor degree of Laws. He inspired young black activists imprisoned on Robben Island until authorities tried to break the what was called “The Mandela University” by separating senior ANC leaders like him, Walter Sisulu, Mlaba,Kathrada and Mlangeni from the ANC junior’s. This was in a nutshell Mandela’s response to adversity. It did not leave him unchanged, he became better rather than bitter. This adversity did cultivate both patience and maturity, both planning and timing. It was a creative response, the last choice we have. He created even meaning during his time as a black prisoner, with no real prospect in the beginning that he would ever set foot alive on mainland South Africa.
3. Dare to lead from the front but don’t leave your base behind.
After Mandela was treated for his prostate in 1985 he was separated from his his senior friends and colleagues. Sisulu and the others protested against this but Kathrada considered that perhaps something good may come out of this. What Mandela did was perhaps the most daring thing only a leader can do who keeps the broader picture in mind. He started negotiations with the apartheid government after stating initially that prisoners can’t negotiate and that armed struggle would bring the government down. The risk of total escalating violence was such a grave perspective that he decided to negotiate with a willing apartheid government at the time, oppressors who had the same perception that thing could get totally out of control. Mandela took an immense risk at the time and with his reputation on the line within the ANC he explained to his base that the refusal to negotiate was only a tacticle move, not a move by principle. He proved to be most pragmatic as the climate was right to negotiate and he had to arrive at this position first, with his base following. Easier said than done as within the ANC there were people convinced he totally lost it. However Mandela made it. He took the long view as matters were unavoidable to change in the decade ahead. This was a most risky move which could have cost his live. Within a different context US President John F Kennedy took the long view on peace to be far more important than war, with a base being radical anti-communist. He went out of his way to avoid an all out nuclear war on Cuba and he was ahead of his time to realise that the Vietnam war was a waste of American lives and American interests, which proved to be the case many years after his assassination. His “military base” at home, including the US establishment could neither take this broader long view nor this independent President, – hence he was killed. Daring to lead from the front requires to take the base with you. It is a principle in leadership, – stronger it is a principle to survive when times are tough. As a leader at times you have to take this risk and make a move for the better, with the full picture in mind. But don’t do it on your own. Make sure your base is involved and you have the support of the majority, provided there is not an immediate crisis where you have to trust your better instincts against those who may distrust you. In those situations only quick and positive results will take the resistance away. It can be however a real challenge, but Mandela had enough credit to take this calculated move and he proved to be right.
(How was he so sure? He was a lawyer and in prison he discovered that the worst and most cruel prison guards were receptive to him whilst offering legal aid to them based on their needs, leaving them completely puzzled and surprised, – that a black man far more educated than them was prepared to do this. Mandela sensed that when you approached those people in the right way, you could do business and negotiate with them, even with the worst representatives of the apartheid regime.)
– 4. Compassion inclusive of differences.
Nelson Mandela became President (1994-1999) of a divided country with hatred at both sides of the spectrum. He persisted in taking the long view as hatred is not the way forward of building the foundations of a new South Africa. Mandela’s aim was a country with racial equality and justice to all parties being part of this new South Africa. Not an easy task, especially where it comes to national reconciliation. And here we might touch base on a few “Mandela specifics”, skills or attitudes not being new but used with integrity to achieve desired results. Let’s face it, Mandela did express unique wisdom in his general approach:
During the 1994 Presidential election campaign on his way to Natal to speak to Zulu supporters, Mandela’s plane nearly crashed as due to engine failure. There was some panic indeed but Mandela calmly continued to read his news paper, which did reassure some. Was he scared? He was terrified up there but did not show it because he felt as a leader you can’t show fear. Through the act of making the impression to have no fear, he was an example and inspiration for others in this specific situation. He learnt this at Robben Island as there was enough going on there to provide plenty of fear. However he learnt to master his fear, it’s part of being a good actor at times.The best performance is trying to be a model for others which can give strength, both to yourself and those others. Mandela knew it worked this way.*Part of best performance is to smile, rather than showing anger. There was enough to be angry about but it would not help one bit as often anger will be responded with anger. What you resonate to other people will often come back to you and Mandela knew that his relaxed smile was able to melt icy relationships. It is part of the performance understood by both Mandela and eg US President Barack Obama. Appearance like a smiling one is able to advance a message, in his case the message or symbol actually of lacking bitterness. Mandela knew the past. He knew the past of South Africa. He knew the past of being detained. He knew what happened in detention. But for the sake to achieve national unity you had to set those emotions aside. He often said to forget the past as he really meant to achieve the future, which he projected with an all-inclusive smile. It’s true, he not always felt like this. However it was not part of an empty show, – it was his effort and struggle to embrace a modern South Africa and to move forward, building different dynamics by choice and not emotions. Compassion at a different level than we are used to, with the bigger picture being more important than personal emotions.*Mandela knew exactly when to take the next step in the transition of once being a warrior, a politician thereafter, a diplomat and finally a statesman. He was an excellent tactician and a smart politician. Obviously he did stick to his core principles and aims, but often – as he tended to say – issues were rarely a matter of principles, but far more often a matter of tactics. Gandhi as earlier discussed had a similar brilliant approach. In his case independence from Britten by the principle of non-violence to be achieved, but many other issues by the right choice of tactic. People with compassion and integrity allowing and being inclusive of differences need to use tactics as in this world you can’t do without it to get desired results, – in an environment often being hostile and not without danger.*Mandela knew what was important for white South Africans. He studied their language, their culture and was able to impress many with his knowledge and his respect being shown to them in Government. He “kept his allies close but his (potential) opponents even more close”, – as the saying goes. He had a remarkable talent to make people at ease, make them feel important with often showing interest in their personal circumstances. It was the best way to break potential “icy relationships” and setting the tune of dynamics. Many people (let’s say white people) changed their mind or opinion after meeting him, – even worst opponents from the past.
*Mandela managed to get black South Africans behind the previously hated South African national rugby team (Springboks) when South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. After the Springboks did achieve to win from New Zealand, Mandela presented the trophy to the Afrikaner captain Francois Pienaar, wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaar’s own number 6 on the back. This again was a major reflection of his efforts to get increased reconciliation of both white and black South Africans. Using such a popular sport at the time more within the “white” domain to unify the country in its achievement was superseding the terminology of good tactics, – it was simply a wise move.
One of the skills in various meetings Mandela used was “The Indian Talking Stick”. An effective tool from ancient Indian culture of listening respectfully to others when they speak and speak only when it is your turn. Mandela after carefully listening to different opinions in various meetings often spoke as the last one, providing a distinct summary so that people felt understood but meanwhile as a leader directing the outcome of the discussion in the way he actually wanted. On the one hand being led but on the other hand leading so that people could buy into the outcome. It’s a way of creatively resolving differences and get an agreement which works at the point of bonding and trust.
Needless to say that in terms of leadership there is more to say about Nelson Mandela. Both his live and his goal were one in the struggle to get South Africa out of the agony of Apartheid and with his leadership he not only succeeded, but he provided an enduring example and direction. The symbol of the man speaks at times stronger than his own words could do, but the direction should be a “lighthouse” for South Africa to facilitate a more perfect union of people, – working together for shared interests in this beautiful country down south in Africa.
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” Mohandas Gandhi
Gandhi had been on the political stage for more than fifty years before three pistol shots put an end to his life at the early beginning of 1948. Two generations of Indian patriots were inspired by him apart from millions of others. He shook the British empire and was at the frontline of a peaceful revolution which he initiated by his vision to change the face of India, but Africa and Asia took his example. To the people of his own, millions, he was the Mahatma the great soul. Despite being ridiculed by many and considered to be suspicious, by the end of 1947 he raised the frontier of revolt against racial imperial domination and racial suppression. His ideas began to resonate in some of the finest minds in the world. “Generations to come, it may be”, Einstein had said of Gandhi in July 1944, “will scarcely believe that such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon earth.”His life had been ongoing at the centre of drama which did not seem to stop but Gandhi himself was the least dramatic of men. Well balanced in many ways. He had neither the “popular” reputation of a heroic person nor the trappings of political eminence where efforts keeping up a public image not rarely hides a complex private image. He did not try to create an image as he was as he was. A man with steel-rimmed glasses, rough sandals, a toothless smile, a voice which rarely rose above a whisper and dressed in his loin cloth. He had an impressive humility. Gandhi’s, deepest strivings were spiritual. Not in the usual way of retiring in a cave for salvation in his country, but salvation to be achieved both within the context of meditation and expressing himself amidst the challenges of his time. He had not a complicated childhood. Thereafter molding experiences amidst the political struggles of South Africa and the struggle for freedom in India. The last lifting him at the world stage of triumph and tragedy.Gandhi’s leadership was effective in a particular set of circumstances and he moulded the requirements of his leadership to get both independence from England and a future for India. Besides the principle of non-violence never being compromised, a person like Gandhi most likely would have shown different aspects of leadership in different circumstances – dependent on the priorities and actions being required.
Gandhi’s life story was about action and positive change. Whilst he was succesful in some areas he failed in others, however he never gave up his efforts for improvement. We are all allowed to make errors as long as we learn from them. This is what he said on various occasions. This is part of life. This is part of leadership as well. Mistakes or errors from the past are lessons for the present in order to be successful in the future, as long as we approach them with honesty and humility. Life, politics and business are full of dynamic changes and we have to embrace those changes as long as the principles of approaching change are right at the centre of our thoughts and actions, who (if well-selected) find the future of the many who are involved.
We may hear at various times that actions speak louder than words; and Gandhi proved an example of this. More often action is far stronger than words though the power of words and language can be equal strong to create the action being required, the action of non – violence wich in the specific way Gandhi dealt with matters made the British empire decide to give up their aspirations on India. Action is an expression of our desires or intentions and the priorities of our actions is determined by our desires for the future, – in the role of leadership by the strong desire of what we want to achieve as part of our long-term plan’s and/or goals. The biggest challenge facing India was “callousness of intellectuals” as far as Gandhi concerned. He was far more concerned about building a sustainable society and not having independence only. Gandhi was proactive in his actions as well
“Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.” Mohandas Gandhi
There is neither pride nor gain derived from violence as in the nature of things those manifestations will get back to us in a way which we not always are able to either sustain or endure. The corner-stone of Gandhi’s movement was non – coöperation and the principle was non-violence regardless the violence at times of an oppressive police force. When at some stage villagers in a rural area of his home land responded in a barbaric way too such police violence, Gandhi based on his conscience reflected that the key tune from the non-violence movement was violated in this act and he judged firmly against this. Gandhi once said: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.
Obviously this is true but the strict non violent approach is difficult to apply in any circumstances where a dictator stands up with a large armed following of people applying the same violent principles as the dictator himself. The only way to disarm a dictator is with the approach of non-cooperation by both the whole population and his generals, which is not the usual approach to be followed if we look at reality. Whilst the principle is excellent where leadership is able to enforce this as part of “self-rule”, disciplined as it needs to be, – circumstances may arise where such approach is not effective. In terms of international politics the “doctrine” of not attacking nations unless we are attacked is achievable, whilst accepting mass attacks by repetition of a different country or movement is the same as not protecting own citizens. On the other hand, like Gandhi once said: “The policy of retaliation has never succeeded.”
Character traits like humility, persistence, assertiveness and self-awareness are likewise important as a mindset willing to learn and to change through experience in the perceptions of Gandhi. In the discipline of this with the above notations incorporated people are ready for “self-rule”, as far as Gandhi concerned.
Value systems being properly assessed on their implementation were important in Gandhi’s way of thinking. For Gandhi, truth and morality was crucial. It was in and on its own linked with the concept of non-violence and spiritual renewal and it did determine his conduct in events to be absolutely right before proceeding. If he considered the conduct of certain events not to be right he would rather not act. Often as a result of this he called off protests or other actions.
The importance of vision:
“There’s nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can’t clearly articulate why we’re doing what we’re doing.” –James Kouzes and Barry Posner
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.” –Theodore Hesburgh, President of the University of Notre Dame
Gandhi’s vision of the future was both spiritual, moral and practical, and it was through his consistent application of his vision that he led. He and his vision were one, as he lived it with clear articulation. When people have no self-respect others are able to rule them and so felt Gandhi about the Indians and he felt that they should approach their place towards British rule in a proactive way. What Gandhi emphasised was not only political independence from the British empire, but also spiritual renewal for the people of India and the means he emphasised this was of an absolute non-violent nature.His ideas were rooted both in the beliefs of the Gita’s with a Christian influence and in this he reached the hearts of millions. He not only tried to bring justice to the people of South Africa, but his endeavours in the direction of Indian Independence were based on justice as well. What he was unable to meet was his own deeply felt vision for a just society in his own country.
Based on the experience in both South Africa and with British rule, Gandhi felt that “the violence of all Governments” meant that the people should move to a situation in which they control their own destiny in small-scale groups and sort their issues out at this level. A concept which proved at a larger scale not to work far earlier in history when the Greek had their experiments with democracy. Gandhi did not argue for a plural democratic India. There is a plural society, when different sections of the community (eg the Indian, the Chinese, the European) do live side by side, within the same political unit. They do mix but do not necessarily combine. It was Nehru who was the driver of mass democracy in India.
The importance of Unity
If a leader and his followers pursue a shared goal with similar motivation to go ahead in positive action, to try with the similar positive energy and strategy to meet what they so dearly want to do, – they have the potential to make history as they will leave a legacy. This requires great team work and coaching, support and empowerment when people have been rallied to buy into the principle direction by own choice, to follow a common goal with diversity of talent and qualifications. Gandhi did understand the importance of unity, like Martin Luther King,jr, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama did understand the importance of unity. Regardless direction, we find the principle of keeping unity back in both the leaders with conscience and integrity, besides the leaders who are lacking those virtues.
The importance of integrity and respect for human rights.
Hitler was neither the only leader who understood the principle of unity nor was he last leader who was lacking integrity and respect for human life. This virtue does not come from physical capacity but from an indomitable will to show strength in this direction, being the most cohesive and enduring force of our unity in diversity, the most cohesive force and a test for civilization.
Gandhi expressed this differently in terms of respect for life. He said: “Power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” Gandhi is correct in his assessment that if the arms race continues all over the world, with today more countries having access to weapons of mass destruction, the last resort is a slaughter such as has never happened in history and if there is a victory for a nation this victory will be a living death for the nation being able to claim victory, – if there is one. The approach of Gandhi which is based on respect for human life calls for unconditional action to refrain from violence. The concept is not the easiest, but the background is clear.
With all respect there is violence right at the heart of nature but humans have the ability to apply respect for life and restrict violence by noncooperation with evil. Whilst violent noncooperation has the potential to multiply evil, sometimes evil needs to be eradicated to prevent a “cancer” which could abolish life and respect for human rights & life.
Evil violence can’t be tolerated as this type of evil could multiply itself if the forces of noncooperation with such evil are not strong enough. History teaches us that leaders can stand up with both the worst intentions and followers and if evil does manifest as a result of this at a larger scale it needs to be resisted with right and proportionate means to stop it. Absolute non violence might be highly regarded in terms of values and whilst ignoring provocations can be helpful, non – violence regardless the circumstances at times could be the same as being indifferent to evil, – the last which is wrong.
Whilst Gandhi claims that the law of love governs the world, this is not the reality of day-to-day life. Respect for human life however is able to conquer hate, but the same respect for human life means as well the willingness to protect human life.
Integrity is a different entity, however whilst integrity and honesty based on conscious are part of strong leadership, integrity in the avenue of respect for human life embraces the quest for truth “to nourish the soul and life itself, as untruth tends to corrode it”.
Leaders are different
Even with some failings Gandhi is still considered as one of the most positive and effective leaders of our past century. He made a major step forward and broke with all existing perceptions by solving the problem India faced with a different level of thinking, – escaping from a war with the British empire and gaining independence by applying the principle of non violence and noncooperation. He considered the use of violence an obsolete paradime and proved to be effective in the way he approached the subject, – both with integrity and leadership. He was able to mobilise most of the Indian people at all levels of society and despite the many dilemma’s he achieved a quality movement of non- violence with a legacy all over the world, – last but not least affecting the movement for social justice in the US where Martin Luther King,jr was the leader in the early 1960ties. Gandhi had despite failures and despite the concept of non-violence not being applicable in all circumstances both at least great courage and vision, – both great compassion and integrity. He made a choice to be used for a purpose larger than his own self and he did this with both joy and balance of mind. He inspired people to follow his steps based on a foundation of trust and influence which had a long lasting impact in the last century. But even today!
If more people would buy into his principles we would indeed end up with a better world, however by free choice people do opt to create more arms and use more violence and at international level the principle of non-violence is only practical if all stakeholders buy into this principle. This does not happen as yet and is not likely to happen in the future as many countries live by the application of achievable politics, – and non-violence is still a dream. A dream however with great value as it asks from us to act with wisdom and restraint in a world potentially more dangerous than ever before. The measure of the man (his leadership) is what he achieved with this and tried to do without seeing “the promised land”. He did add value to life and we can’t say this from every leader.
The last principle of good leadership with all above ingredients included is perhaps indeed > to add value to life <.
Together with creating the margins to keep the mission going and to make “the dream” come true.
At times all of us would wish to live in a world more stable and tranquil, – but the fact is the world isn’t like this. Our times are both complicated and perplexing, but even though they are difficult and perplexing the challenges are still filled with hope and opportunity, even though the dynamics of reality are often confronting and little hopeful. It’s all about perceptions and choices.
We simply have to look to the past weeks and learn from the events as they happened.
When we look around there is a lot of tragedy and suffering going on and though tragedy might be a tool to get wisdom for the living, it is neither a guide by which to live, nor has it been showing a real learning curve in history. The challenges our world is faced with are hard to be solved by the sceptics who can’t look beyond their restricted perceptions of the obvious realities, neither can they be solved in the retaliation of violence where this should be avoided.
I always found some comfort in the words spoken by Albert Schweitzer. He said in summary-that civilization is only working the right direction when life is considered to be sacred, and apart from human life he did include the lives of plants and animals.
As caretakers of this earth – he said – we have to protect and support life, within our reasonable options. It all has to do with compassion, which should embrace all living creatures as the guiding principle of morality. He called it: ” Reference for life.”
It might be hard to go that far, but if our choices tend to go more towards the direction protecting at least the human rights we need to stand for, this would be already an improvement.
As history unfortunately however shows at times, we had to go to war to remove the kind of criminals certain countries did not deserve to rule their nation. The sort of people who abused both their country and their people from a position of high authority.This is what happened when Allied Forces decided to strike Libia to stop Gaddafi killing far more of his civilians, and this decision was good as the intention was to prevent worse.
More countries do show unrest and dissatisfaction at large scale with the way people are treated and suppressed, people disappearing through forces of eg secret police etc.
Demonstrations have spread across various countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Countries often with an oppressive leadership. Whilst human rights were seriously compromised in Egypt for many years already, – only during the uprise of the Egyptian people Hosni (Muhammad) Mubarak had to go.
Still there is a long way to go.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia are seen as the most powerful Arab friends of the US and a strategic focus will be still in place and operational perhaps, despite liberation movements. It is not the easiest place for the US Obama administration as it could get easily caught in increasing policy contradictions where on the one hand there is a crack down on enemy governments which kills its people and on the other hand favouring countries like Bahrain and Yemen that kills its demonstrators.
Obviously bombing the Libyan leader Gaddafi’s air defences falls within the UN security council resolutions of imposing a “no -fly zone” (Resolution 1973) and taking the required actions to stop Gaddafi from killing civilians in his own country.
This does not take away that with increasing unrest situations political courage and guiding principles are important where it comes to dealing with powers compromising human rights at a larger scale. The dilemma’s might be difficult. The question often is when it applies to countries not being familiar with democratic principles as we know them, what will happen if opponents remove a brutal dictator. What will happen in the aftermath and whether it is possible to rebuild the country with better law enforcement on human rights and basic other liberties, or whether matters get worse amidst chaos allowing eg Al-quaida elements to get the better in all the destruction, and more influence in such areas, – with even more human agony spreading down the line.
Diplomacy on this issue requires utterly clarity on the right direction and support for all democratic movements around the globe which are stronger than the minority of their oppressors, and those who want to make a real break with a past of cruelty and violence. Like it is the ultimate aim to convince Colonel Gaddafi to step down from power, the same could apply to different leaders in the future as well.
It was Abraham Lincoln who once said that:”Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and to shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is the most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.”
Whilst there is no easy answer for many predicaments in this world and smoke still spewing from 2 adjacent reactors at the Fukushimadaiichi nuclear plant, it is that both the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear challenges in Japan are among the most expensive disasters and that rapid international support could have been more forthcoming at an earlier stage. Japan had much trouble with many natural disasters in the past but the death toll and aftermath for many of those living now amidst the extremes of sudden poverty and grief is beyond any imagination.
Like it is objectionable that it proved to be hard to get timely a UN resolution in place to stop Gaddafi, – it is objectionable as well that the countries who did perceive Japan as neighbours friends and partners (besides allies), did not join together in providing organised support to those who are displaced, -with little shelter or food.
With more natural disasters happening in the future, it would seem countries are more ready to go to war rather than helping each other in the scenario’s like Japan is facing today.
The UN needs to have rapid intervention forces for humanitarian aid, – available within 24 hours after a major disaster all over the world to cut prolonged anguish and suffering. We need to learn from those disasters and both learning and leadership are indispensable to each other as a tool.
The late US Senator Robert Kennedy once quoted from the Greeks many years ago:”To tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.” He did put it in the right context.when he used this quote amidst racial violence in the US and a Vietnam war during the mid 60ties of the last century.
We have a free choice to do it this way in the arena of our human activity, and change a small part of the burdens of our world.
At some stage all our acts will be written in the history of our families and communities, and if important enough in the history of our countries and in history itself.
It’s about the bit we did on earth and how we did it, – when we are laid to rest.
And if our actions and choices were directed rightly, – it was good.
Good evening – or good morning – wherever you are at this hour.
Wherever you might be in your life, or wherever you will be in the future, – the future being the most important thing for all of us. The future we all cherish, – if we still have dreams or things to do.
The future which lives in us, – and we live in this future. A future still in which we are able to live our dreams and desires for a better world.
The future is important for us because in the future lies our growth.
The growth which we all cherish for ourselves and for our children.
A future which will be the result of the decisions we make, either as persons, or as a people, – as citizens of the world.
What sort of future do we seek and what sort of world do we have?
Is what we see a world only of conflicting national interests and international fear, on a planet which bears the burden of increasing environmental degradation, – increasing disasters of nature and the risk of war?
Is what we see only perhaps ourselves, trying to keep up with day-to-day life, finding a job , keeping a job and push as hard as possible to live the life we want to live for ourselves and our family?
A world of hope perhaps, – despite the enormity of sorrow? A world with a future, despite agonising questions about both the past and the present? – –
Whatever the way we live and in whatever circumstances we are, there is still a world with opportunities, if we are able to decide to live up to that future and face the questions as they are, – find the answers and actions which we need. The questions, answers and actions of our time, – as one global community.
A future in which we hope to survive the challenges which we face today, in our time, and for all times. Not only for this generation, but for all generations. For our children and their children. Long after we have gone ourselves.
In our days as a human race, we need to be remembered not for the victory of wars, but for the victory of the human spirit, which dictates us to show our common humanity at all corners of the world.
Is this our quest for peace?
It is my wish to discuss some of the major challenges of our time, – the potential events we face as a people on this planet. A pathway perhaps to take the torch forward to a new birth of freedom, – for all those people who seek this freedom and this peace, – unwilling as well to sacrifice the future of this world on the altar of increasing nuclear threat or war. War either by miscalculation or misinterpretation the nature of people, or disaster by underestimating the force of nature itself.
Let everybody know that in the long history of the world, we are still embattled in the search for this new birth of freedom, based on the perils of liberty and a free choice. Based as well on the examples of people who lived before us. Based on the aftermath of many wars, and captured in the spirit of hope to live up to the standards and obligations of this freedom. Freedom which looks to the future with responsibility, based on conscious, – but knowing that human nature is neither perfect, nor will it ever be.
Many pointless wars have been endured and will again happen all over the world. Many families and soldiers still traumatized as a result of often ill selected battle fields, wherever they took place, wherever they may take place. Many people having to face death going to war, and if they survive – having to face what died in their heart and their personal lives, as the human spirit does neither cope with e.g. the past killing fields in Vietnam & Cambodia,- neither will it cope with the potential of mass destruction in the Middle East or anywhere else on this world.
This will be our fate and that of our children, if the means by which we are able to fight wars are not extinguished from earth, or from our decisions to fight those wars. Too many countries with irrational leaders have potential access to nuclear energy, and may opt to set fire to this world.
War itself in some occasions might a necessary evil where the liberties of the free world are at stake, as happened e.g. in the 2nd World War. However, more and more is required to secure all efforts to reverse at an early stage the processes leading up to war, – as war with the long-lasting destruction ability as we have now – neither predictable nor controllable when it starts – is no longer a rational alternative, – as President John F Kennedy once said.
It is for us the living, dedicated to the unfinished task of others and dedicated to the outstanding task still remaining, to make our time a better time and to make our world a better place. To make our world a better and safer place to live, as there are conditions and circumstances on this planet of far more importance than the strict national interests as defined within the perceptions of existing nations. We need to shift the perceptions on the world as it developed in the last decades, to one of harmonising our global interest with our national interest, and educate the leaders of UN member states – mixed as the interests are – to do the same. To shift towards a global awareness on what is really important to survive together as a global community, interdependent as we are.
At the end of the day we are not only a world of Christians, Muslims or Jews. We are not a world of blacks and whites, but we are a world of people with similar needs, occupying the same planet, having the same right on some space to live, the same right on food and water. We are all breathing the same air, and we all mortal and fragile in our basic humanity.
All of us – at some stage – will be struggling with disease, – physical and mental decline, – and many of us will be affected by the increasing agony of our environmental degradation, including the disasters of nature, – of any kind.
There is too much to say and far more to add.
But blessed are those people who are the peace keepers in this world, – those politicians as well, who affirm to peace and shy away from military confrontation, but stick however to the principles of finding solutions for both national and international problems.
Those principles do not only include solutions for both the roots of hatred and violence on this globe, but help to erode the barriers from past generations, and give new directions for different ways – and old perceptions to change. Those principles include the use in this generation of different and new requirements, adapted to the needs of tomorrow. The last not only as part of our national interest, but foremost as part of our global interest. Not only as part of the interest of our own environment, but as part of the interest of our global environment, which does not allow anymore to cut corners for the benefit of those who suffer the least.
We have to carry forward the torch of the legacy of some forebears, who stood for the same principles, who stood their ground – with this hope – and with this spirit – and we have to renew this spirit in our time and for all times, within the endeavours for this generation and all generations. The torch of protecting humanity at all corners of the earth.
Tyranny, poverty, disease and the prospect of war itself are the great challenges of our time. Where civilization does not succeed in the battle with those challenges, those challenges will succeed the battle to end the prospect of life on earth. As free people we end up with the last choice. As free people we may decide and if we do not decide properly, our learning –together with our freedom will be in vain.
In too many cities and countries around the world, peace is not secure, because the obligations of freedom and a free choice are not fulfilled.
It is fair to say that in the world of today, still at least half of its population lives amidst the chains of poverty and disease, and many are the slaves of some of the so-called modern dictators – those who violate their conscious and their Creator – , those who are the champions of oppression, the jailers of freedom and the enemies of the free spirit of man. They include those people who make human rights abuses their business, the business of human trafficking included.
Divided we often are, united we can be– united in our efforts to ease the burdens of those who are born in the millions of families without the prospect of living in peace and proper education. Those families all over the world, often in conditions of war , and many of those people now the new generation of refugees, always on the move from one place to the other. Homeless, in either their own or different countries. Not only as a result of war yesterday but as a result of climate change and other things “tomorrow”, – increasing sea levels and other disasters of nature.
I think we should not simply add a new chapter to the misery of mankind, but write a new story on the prospect of different frontiers in the history of humanity. And write this story in the hearts and the minds of people all over the world. A frontier which proclaims to protect life on earth and dictates wisdom in the use of our energies. A frontier which may reach all corners of this planet, if we decide to commit and not to compromise, – compromised as we often are..
Let it be said that when we have the means to reach the moon, and save no cost to get this right, – or save no cost to fight the wars we should not fight, – we could change history by spending most of the required resources in building factories of hope for those who deserve it most. Not only in the countries of the rich, but together as well in the countries of the poor.
I think as free citizens of this world, we need increasingly ask what to do about our global interest, because with the historic endeavours we face to overcome the obstacles which will challenge our life in the next 20 years – united only our planet will survive with us – and we shall survive with our planet.
I think that on the mountains of civilization, we must put an end to the valleys of war and terror, before war and terror may end the high ground of civilization. If we don’t learn the lessons from history of too many wars and its potential destruction in the world of today, by not changing our thoughts on our culture, on real progress to make, – the history book of our culture and all cultures is closing in to an end.
However, rather than the terror of tyranny being allowed infiltrating the liberties of free man, let free man all together restrict the limitations of the tyranny from terror, wherever on this planet, whenever it strikes again!
Where nations fail to act on the misery created or provoked in neighbouring countries, either by war or by the forces of nature, – they are collective responsible for the suffering of human beings.
Young citizens of this world without hope or education easily follow the recruitment steps of terrorists, with hatred among the domain of the living, and either violence or death within the targets of their armed domains. We know what they can do, – we don’t know what they may do.
Still too many people enjoy the comfort of ill-founded opinions and not the discomfort of their inner thoughts which could be the motor of change, and part of our education needs to provoke our real thoughts about the future of our world, and the contributions we are able to make as simple human beings.
All people on this planet have the right to live within liberty and dignity for each other. We can’t turn back from this pledge at this stage for the world, without compromising the spirit of humanity, wherever country we may live.
We can’t turn away with so so many children to educate, so many families and jobs to protect, so many dispossessed people to care for, and so many economic and environmental problems to solve. So much to deal with as well in terms of urban and rural poverty, and so many reconstruction to prepare for.
Both the material and immaterial costs of war and preparing for it will create and contribute to increasing problems of instability, the misery of refugees, lasting terror, ethnic conflicts, increasing global financial crisis, – whilst there need to be still the resources for justified wars like the war against all this kind of poverty, the war against disease and the war against the disasters of nature and terror.
Let it be said that if we don’t put an end to the roots of terror and it’s ghetto’s, the ghetto’s of terror will worsen the risk of conflict at international level, – with potentially more people to be killed and incinerated in the fires of a nuclear encounter than at any time in the history of humankind.
I think where poverty more often creates the prospect of terror, we need to defeat the prospect of the worst poverty, as this is neither the domain of our humanity, nor the domain of real freedom and responsibility.
Where international misunderstanding and misalignment may put an end to mankind let it be proclaimed that humanity first and forever must put an end to international misunderstanding and misalignment, by principle centred leadership. The last which needs to be encouraged all over the world.
We faced many changes in history.
Production and industry changed and evolved. It shifted to highly qualified manufacturing and advanced service industries. We left the Industrial Age behind, but still follow the perceptions of the Industrial Age model in too many business entities, where people are “a cost” , and not an asset in an age of knowledge workers.
There is and has been an oversupply of workers at the lower end of the economy. Quite a number of those people ended in cheap labour at the bottom end of the income scale, not only in Europe or the US, but in other countries as well, where companies with their production lines and policies, shifted their lines of production to those areas overseas where the cheapest labour was possible.
I think we need to get a practical and principle centred approach where no one injustice, however grave, is above all others, and this approach needs to start in all communities where people prefer justice rather than injustice, where people prefer real communities rather than ghetto’s, whether they are the ghetto’s of the rich or the ghetto’s of the poor, as many ghetto’s there are..
We live in a world where power decides outcomes and our approach needs to be practical based, on the moral realities and possibilities of our position to move things in the right direction. If we decide our direction with wisdom and restraint for the benefit of humanity, we may change the many imperfections from yesterday for at least some improvements tomorrow.
We know that the ark of Noah was not built on its own. Neither any major accomplishment was the work of one person. In the world of today we are more dependent on each other than ever before.
We know as well that there are countries where people have no moral principles anymore. Principles to lift the darkness of their own conscious and attitudes. More often those people have seen too much violence, too much hatred, too much corruption and the worst examples of human living. This only contributes to the imperfection of human nature and is not allowed to get into the mainstream of civilisation, as such cancer could destroy civilisation.
We are all mortal and have no permanent ownership on anything of this earth. However if one country denies an other country to exist and aims to prepare arms to destroy the other, the international community needs to cage this poison, before its venom may poison the region into the bitterness of death, – and the age into nuclear destruction.
And so, fellow citizens all over the world – our international obligation is not an obligation to bear nuclear arms, though arms we need, not an obligation to battle, though history faced us with battle, – but an obligation to struggle the battle of humanity for a better world, – to struggle and overcome the spirit of darkness in our time, which includes poverty, tyranny, disease, widespread global crime and corruption, the risk of self-inflicted ecological disaster, increasing disasters of nature, hyper consumption, – and finally war itself.
We face global warming and our long-term sustainability is limited. We need to find new solutions for world water resources and end international water disputes, – we need to share our resources of knowledge and keep together the Oceans clean.
We need to make united efforts to protect habitats in danger, as on the long run increasing habitats in danger may endanger humans as well.
We tend to use unsustainable natural resources and with the growing global population we may have run out by 2075. The choice to go nuclear in our energy supply by the so-called modern nuclear plants may evolve on a more global base, with ramifications often poorly understood at present.
Where the spirit of human kind is not ready yet for an enduring international peace, there is little room to increase the dimensions of nuclear energy. What is for peaceful use today, can be used for nuclear warheads tomorrow. Besides this the risk of radiation in even the best equipped powerplants are subject to failure if the unexpected strikes, either by nature war or terror.
Some would say , and with justification, that our market forces operated across the global economy are potential most volatile and often irrational, – with strong fluctuating oil prices. Energy security is a matter of ongoing concern. Countries depending on eg gas from Russia and the Ukraine, as due to changing prices, may feel inclined to use eventually increasing nuclear power, – which will be subject to widespread suspicion as due to the potential on less peaceful use.
Under the “Kyoto Agreement “all EU countries are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but with the lack of renewable energy sources more countries will use the new generation of Nuclear Power Stations, not only in Eastern Europe, but across the Middle East as well. Hence the united efforts to make the world a safe environment, and cut the potential of this power being used for destructive forces of any kind. Even conventional wars in countries possessing nuclear power plants, where such power plants are either damaged or destroyed, may give radiation ramifications far worse than the Chernobyl disaster where those nuclear power plants become a target.
Going increasing nuclear in our energy supply will give the wrong message and is in a way cutting corners in terms of safety of our environment, at a significant cost of the next generations.
We face an increasing hungry planet with worldwide between 800 and 850 million people suffering from hunger, and widespread malnutrition in Asia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Tajikistan and North Korea, – some countries with a long history of civil conflict.
It is well-known that the problems of Africa have enormous proportions, where most problems are rather political than environmental. Global rates of malnutrition are overwhelming. Somalia almost ceased to exist as due to hunger, nearly similar with Nigeria – the last by some considered as being the most corrupt country of the world. Of the world’s 50 poorest countries, 34 are in Africa, all of them with high HIV rates.
This is grossly our world in a nutshell – and there is far more than this.
Where East and West do meet in conscious and with purpose, with the required discipline passion and vision, there will be ultimately peace and shared resources of wisdom to solve the problems of this earth.
There where East and West meet at evil’s end, – there will be war and destruction, without the required resources to repair at any stage the global problems we may face in the aftermath.
Where the Assembly of the United Nations often appears not being effective enough in finding a common approach for resolving both the problems of the tyranny of poverty and the poverty of tyranny, this is mainly due to insufficient moral leadership of some of the membership countries.
Our global interests requires vigorously enforced non nuclear proliferation , supported by all nations on the earth. And those countries behaving outside such treaty, losing their credibility and provoking a nuclear or biochemical threat to others, – ultimately need to be caged with force if so required. The attitudes from yesterday are not the ethics for tomorrow, in which we face the world today.
Our highest achievement is the preservation and cultivation of life, where this appears possible. If moral leadership is the core of our aspirations, responsibility at a global perspective will lift the world and will ease the burden of our planet, but not without national and international law enforcement.
Let everybody know that if we don’t erode old barriers, old barriers will erode us.
Let us not allow that any person or country destroys the idea of a new and better world, neither by violence nor war. Neither by living nor death. Neither by the mountains of our obstacles nor by the valleys of our despair, when we face what we have to face – to make responsible freedom come true..
And so we have no choice than to carry forward this torch. To carry forward and set ourselves free from the slavery of the past, whether it is the slavery of the dictator or the slavery of our own thoughts, the slavery to either inflated perceptions or poverty at heart.
And so we may ask every day for the best possible perceptions. The best possible perceptions at any time we face, for both the better and the worse. For both the world in us and the world around us.
And then we may say: we are free, – free at last!!