Archive | January, 2017

Why we must stand together

31 Jan

“Remember it didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with politicians dividing the people with ‘us vs them’. It started with intolerance and hate speech and when people stopped caring, became desensitized and turned a blind eye”.

I think majority of people across the world must be shocked by the actions of the new President Donald Trump. He has wasted no time in what he said he was going to do, building a wall, banning certain Islamic countries from entering the US. I  feel we have gone back to the dark ages, and it brings a deep sadness. Just as we have marked Holocaust Memorial Day, where millions across the globe mark this day. We stand and say ‘never again’. But here before our very eyes we have a man who is supposed to be a leader spreading racial hatred.

Trump seems to think that Muslims make up the majority of terrorists in the United States, however research shows otherwise. “According to the FBI 94% of terrorist attacks are carried out in the United States from 1980 to 2005 have been by non-Muslims. This means that an American terrorist suspect is over nine times more likely to be a non-Muslim than a Muslim.

I’d say there are many more attacks and massacres through gun violence than worrying about Muslims and terrorism.

“In Obama’s eight years in office, he formally addressed the nation on the subject of gun violence 25 times: on average ever 112 days but in 2015 he made statements regarding gun violence roughly every 36 days. However for every one American killed by an act of terror in the United States or abroad in 2014, more than 1,049 died because of guns. Also the number of US citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2014 was 369”.

With the statistics above maybe Trump should focus on the real terror of the modern culture in the US – GUNS, rather than discriminating against innocent people. People who have worked hard for a number of year’s and brought a lot of skills now deported.

Surprisingly out of the number of countries he has ordered this ban on, he has failed to make this apply to the nationalities of those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt which seems very odd.

Elie Wiesel a Holocaust survivor put’s it perfectly with this quote:

“There may be times, when we are powerless to prevent injustice. But there must NEVER be a time when we fail to protest”.

Whether we are black, white, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Straight, Gay, Bisexual. We should be able to accept one another rather than stereotyping one another. As Jackie Robinson once said:

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking of me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being”.

Only time will tell where Trump will go next or what effect this ban will have but whatever happens those against these actions, in whatever country you may be, we must stand together, to those suffering as consequence of this executive order please know you are wanted, you are valuable and your rights and your lives matter and finally as Martin Luther King, JR once said:

One has moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

27 Jan

Holocaust Memorial Day always has a special place in my heart.

My mum was brought up in the Jewish faith, therefore my grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins are Jewish. Although my mum married a non-Jewish man and in fact became a Christian many years ago and now attends church regularly. I have always had the privilege of learning and experiencing the Jewish faith. My Grandad was Polish. He thankfully managed to escape the holocaust, eventually starting a new life in London. Unfortunately his family were not so lucky. He would never speak about what happened, I guess the emotions were too raw as well as the heavy burden of feeling guilty that he survived and his family didn’t.

This year’s theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘How Does Life Go On’ and it is something that makes me think. How does a person carry on?! People who witnessed people being murdered, starved and tortured, as well as the suffering they also suffered themselves. How do people overcome their family members, mother’s, father’s, siblings, children being murdered in such a ruthless evil abhorrent way.

I have always had such huge respect for survival victims of Genocides, despite the evil and unimaginable horror how people manage to go on and bring awareness and change despite knowing evil at its worst. How do you begin to forgive the perpetrators? Does justice ever bring closure? We are lucky to still have survivors of the Holocaust and other victims of genocide to bring their stories, to keep people’s memories alive. But even when we no longer have survivors alive to tell their stories, we still need to remember.

“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness. For not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, we are also responsible for what we are doing with those memories”. – Elie Wiesel
But it is not just about the past. What do we do about the future. How do we stand up when we see something happening that is so wrong. We look at places like Syria right now, evil of humanity at it’s worse just like the holocaust, except it is happening, even as I write this. We are fortunate enough with technology in the modern age not to have the excuse of being unaware of the suffering taking place. It is in the news, on social media. I am not sure of all the answers, but we can support those out there fighting by supporting charities that help, or support those rescuing people who have lost everything, not everyone can give money but many organisations are desperate for clothing and supplies. We can  and need to show kindness and compassion to those grieving. We should treat people how we want to be treated.

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must NEVER be a time when we fail to protest”. – Elie Wiesel.

I finish with this poem.

Though we did not witness their suffering
And though we did not bring about their deaths
It does not lesson the guilt that we feel
For those more than six million dead

Such numbers we can not imagine
And the atrocities, we did not see
But that does not lessen the tragedy
Of possibly the lowest point of humanity

We cannot forget what they went through
All that suffering without cause
All they did was hold on to what they believed in
Nothing against moral or criminal laws

But hope,
That was not forgotten
Even as they were lead to their final rest
And it is this hope that we should look back on
Not just the way they were so cruelly oppressed

And it may be hard to understand
Such horror caused purely by mankind
Yet, in order to prevent repeat
We must ensure that we keep the memory alive

So think back to the days of the Holocaust
And those who lost their precious lives
And know that we cannot let them ever be forgotten
So that in our minds, their unfailing hope survives

Serena Arthur ©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to let go

24 Jan

“Letting go is the toughest thing to do in life, but sometimes it can turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done”.

We have many people come in to our lives throughout our lifetime. They say some come for a season and some come for a lifetime. The ones that come for a season, may be someone we meet at work or somewhere else along the way and there are times you think no matter what that person will always be in your life. Then you leave that place of work or something else happens and the friendship slowly dwindles and this can be tough. A person who you shared so much with and really helped is no longer there but slowly in time you cherish the memories and you remember that maybe that person was there at that moment and either you helped them or they helped you but that season has now come to an end.

“If someone comes into your life and has a positive impact on you, be thankful that your paths crossed. And even if they cannot stay for some reason, be thankful that they somehow made you happy, even it was just for a short while”.

Then there are those you have known a very long time, decades even and there have been many highs and lows, but over time you change, and as you grow, you either grow closer or you grow apart and again this can be tough. I have a friend who I have known over 20 years now. We met in Primary School, we went to different colleges, different sixth forms but we always stayed friends. We have been through a lot individually, many highs and many lows. We have both suffered in different ways but we have always stuck together and I have no doubt that when we are old we will still be friends.

“Everyone has a friend during each stage of life. But only lucky one have the same friend in all stages of life”.

But what happens if a person in life turns destructive??? At first you worry, you are there and you run after them every time there is another blip, then there is another blip and another blip. And then a person really starts to cause a lot of hurt. Unfortunately, in the past couple of years I have learnt the hard way, yes it can be tough. And then there are two types of people, the people who apologise but repetitively continue in their ways or there is the other type who continually cause hurt but do not see fault at all and persistently put the blame on everyone else but themselves. And the question is how long do you go on continually making excuses for that person. Oh, they are going through a hard time, or maybe this time they really are sorry. Unfortunately, the apologies you don’t get build up and resentment builds.

“I never knew how strong I was, until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry and accept an apology I never received”.

What relationship are you clinging to today that is having a negative effect on your life? Is there someone today you must stand up and simply say no, I am not putting up with this anymore. It’s a tough thing to do but trust me you will feel so much better.

Someone once said to me if you were in a relationship with someone would you put up the pain and hurt that is being caused. I answered “no”. They said well why is a “friendship” any different.

“It is not easy to detach from people you have had close ties with, but sometimes it is necessary in order, to restore your sanity. Your mind. Peace”.

It is natural to feel a lot of emotions when you have to detach someone from your life. Guilt, anger, frustration. But in time you learn to heal, you learn to forgive because you there is no longer that negativity in your life and sadly one day when the person opens their eyes and realises what they have lost, it is too late because life moves on and there is no need to feel guilty for not wanting to go back to the past.

There is a great quote that goes:

“In life you will realise there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you. Some will love you , some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important will bring out the best in you. They are the rare and amazing people who remind you why it is worth it”

People inspire you or they drain you, choose wisely.