This is what started me thinking… It left me feeling sad, angry and confused. But I realise there is hope…
The desperation of asylum seekers
Early last year I went to a meeting when asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Zimbabwe described the fear which drove them from their homelands, the desperation of their journey to reach the UK and the uncertainty with which they face the future. Ordinary, everyday, young men, whose lives had been turned upside-down through conflict and war.
Their stories left me feeling sad, angry and confused.
Climate change will bring more refugees
Alongside their descriptions of people being bombed out of their homes and images of desperate refugees drowning in the Mediterranean, came the knowledge that the influx of refugees and asylum seekers to the West will increase as those fleeing war and terror will be joined by those fleeing starvation in countries where climate change has brought drought.
The foundations of the 21st Century are no longer serving us well
Above all, this experience left me with renewed determination to understand the foundations on which our 21st Century globalised world is built. It feels as if those foundations are no longer serving us very well. Perhaps these young men are the victims and their plight is a symptom.
Then I ask myself, what is the cause? And, most importantly, where is the hope?
But hope is in the air (if we so choose!)
I guess most of us are feeling pretty worn down by all the gloom and doom which assaults us whenever we pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV.
What’s that all about I wonder? We’re told that good news isn’t news, but I wonder if there is something else going on here … Perhaps when we are fearful we are easier to control. We pull up the drawbridge and look after number one. We look for scapegoats to blame. We don’t look at the bigger picture.
But, during my reading and thinking, I’ve come across so much good news. So many stories of people worldwide challenging the status quo, developing local communities, volunteering to help others and finding an alternative lifestyle which doesn’t depend on excessive material consumption. Why do we never hear about that?
I find inspiration in the writers and activists who are finding a way to a better future.
‘To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction – Howard ZInn