Tag Archives: oppression

how to spot a dictator

Not everyone likes the truth. And not everyone will admit that documented facts are real. And there are some among us who refuse to acknowledge reality, even as they are stepping in a big pile of it.

Having traveled to, and having worked in over 100 countries, many of them dictatorships, I know what dictators look like. I know how dictators act. I know how they speak. That is why I fear this new US administration.

This is not about Democrat vs. Republican or red vs. blue.  This is about the future of our country. I am not calling #BLOTUS a dictator. But, I am begging everyone to open their eyes and look at reality.

If it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, there’s a better than average chance it’s not a kitten.

forging bridges of empathy

HPMG

Sara Nović, author of Girl at War

“Writing is always a political act, but I expect that will become even more explicit in light of the Trump administration-to-be’s well-documented animosity toward the academy and journalistic practice. Now, more than ever, writing and art is critical for its capacity to educate, transport, and forge bridges of empathy. But we are beyond business-as-usual, and art alone is not enough to induce the mass cultural and political change this country now needs. Writers must now use any public voice we have to push that change forward and be on the front lines in protecting and amplifying the voices of vulnerable populations. Elie Wiesel said it best, I think: ‘Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim … Sometimes we must interfere.’”

As I continue to grapple with the present reality I am encouraged knowing that we have the power to speak out and make our voices heard. We have an awesome responsibility, a moral responsibility, to make sure we “forge bridges of empathy” with those most vulnerable under the new leadership of our country.

As I wrote in an earlier post this week, “Those of us who live in love have to take sides. We have to speak out against every hate crime we see, and we must, likewise, take every opportunity to prevent hate crimes from occurring. Silence on this issue is not an option.”

we must take sides

I am alarmed  that the number of documented hate crimes has risen dramatically since the election of President-elect Donald Trump. This isn’t just a coincidence.

Our newly elected President’s ugly rhetoric, and viperous verbal attacks on our nation’s marginalized have encouraged many of his followers to act out their own hatred of those they they fear and those with whom they do not agree or understand.  This cannot be allowed to continue.

Those of us who live in love have to take sides. We have to speak out against every hate crime we see, and we must, likewise, take every opportunity to prevent hate crimes from occurring. Silence on this issue is not an option.

We must take sides. We must stand with those being oppressed. And we must speak out against anyone (including the President, or any other leader), who engages in or promotes hate crimes, either verbal or physical. There is no neutral ground on this issue.

Silence in the face of hate crimes is acquiescence. And I, for one, will not stand in silence in the face of intolerance and hatred.

We must take sides. I am standing on the side of the victims. Whose side are you on?

 

distilling feelings into action

"I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought to be distilled into actions which bring results." - Florence Nightingale:

We all have been told that the pen is mightier than the sword. And although I agree, words in and of themselves cannot change the world.

Yes. We need to express ourselves, and speak out against injustice in every form. Yes. We need to speak up for the oppressed and those unable to speak up for themselves.

But speaking up, speaking out, is not enough. We must come to the place where we distill our feelings into pure action. We need to translate our compassion and need for global justice into the pure eloquence of action. Only then will we achieve the global good we all seek.

“We must always take sides.”

As I have said before, sometimes silence isn’t golden. Sometimes remaining silence is just plain yellow. Allowing others to be humiliated without speaking up and coming to their defense cannot be justified. If we see suffering and do not act to defend those being oppressed we become as responsible, as guilty, as the oppressors.

 

struck by a poisoned arrow

The Buddha always told his disciples not to waste their time and energy in metaphysical speculation.  Whenever he was asked a metaphysical question, he remained silent.  Instead, he directed his disciples toward practical efforts…He once said, “Suppose a man is struck by a poisoned arrow and the doctor wishes to take the arrow out immediately.  Suppose the man does not want the arrow removed until he knows who shot it, his age, his parents and why he shot it.  What would happen?  If he were to wait until all these questions have been answered, the man might die first.”  Life is so short.  It must not be spent in endless metaphysical speculation that does not bring us any closer to the truth. – Thich Nhat Hanh

How much time do we waste every day that could be used in helping change the world into a place where love reigns and justice flows like a mighty stream? Thich Nhat Hanh points out a universal truth. There are times when our endless questions cause far great harm than we can imagine.

We are surrounded by those struck by the poisoned arrows of oppression, poverty and hunger. First let’s remove the arrows. Then we can find those responsible.

As Shakespeare wrote, “Action is eloquence.” Make today an eloquent day. Take action on behalf of one of our family that needs your help to survive.