|A peaceful night in Hamar, Norway summer 2013|
As the old year let its failing arms out slowly to hug the new, we tried to listen for peace.
The passing away of Mandela left me with a desire to reflect. This blog is still on reflections, despite a change of name to suit my kind or writing. Singing despite of darkness. Hoping to inspire more, Still Sings the Nightbird.
"I stressed that the use of violence in our struggle would be both impractical and immoral. To meet hate with retaliatory hate would do nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love; we must meet physical force with soul free. Our main aim must never be to defeat or humiliate ..." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A Testament of Hope.
After such a long life of hope and struggle, Mandela left his message clear. So have many others. Today am reflecting more on the thoughts of Dr. Martin Luther King, for January to me is his month.
So the old year went out and embraced a new one. The ideas of these two people and may others did not die. It was painful though. I sat on New Year's eve with loving souls that would weep each time the media made us witness to what we knew, the reality of war in some countries.
The bridge between 2013 and 2014 is war but love peace must get stronger. Violence has gripped a good part of the world. It is heart rending to see the conflict in the Central Republic of Africa get fueled so, along religious lines. This is always the worst of signs.
Politics that is pegged on divisions that are more than in policy and ways of addressing issues, politics based on naked ethnic support, based on religious leanings can only be lethal especially in continents gifted with great diversity. To find a common thread becomes impossible. And this common thread has to be so deep that it ceases being figures of the economy and so on and spells great bonds of unity.
The word love is reduced to so little so often, a fleeting emotion but Dr. King taught what is still applicable over the years, no matter the scandalous days, that this is the only way.
How naive some would say. How can you count on Love in times of military force? How in the days of Nuclear war? The only place we all meet is in our humanity and we have to 'undress' until we reach common ground. If we do not do it ourselves in our planning and ahead of the negative, we shall be stripped naked like many are experiencing now in Syria, Egypt, Central African Republic, South Sudan and many troubled spots in the world.
How and when will political powers learn to praise those who clearly speak out about themselves and them, those who tell what is going wrong? Why mute them? Politics needs to be tamed. Power needs to listen. In all places when I hear the problem the people at the grassroots point at it goes: If he leaves, we can think of building peace again. Think of Assad. Michel Djotodia.
Salva Kiir and Machar must agree in South Sudan. John Garang united and still unites this nation in death.
See how South Sudanese go to his shrine without mention of tribe. But not so at the table of Kiir and Machar for they lay different tables. The people are chosen to eat, to come to the table, on grounds that defy wisdom.
How well did you know the former president of CAR, Michel Djotodia? Faults make all nations small.
And steps in a transitional president now to make up all the damages.
|Catherine Samba-Penza at work|
I am not a fundraiser but this is Catherine Samba- Penza's most popular link now...I hit upon it fast.
We say the women can do it and in a normal world should always have been more present. Who is supporting this upright and sincere woman Rebecca Mabior Garang in South Sudan?
|Rebecca Garang key to peace in South Sudan|
She says "We have failed our people!"
In the CAR the people sent their president off and then he resigned. They danced on the streets. But when the Christians were dancing, the Muslims went behind closed doors. I dare say that Africa was better placed for peace before people found homes in faiths that have so much in common, beginning with monotheism, but faiths in which we choose to shred into differences. Who sets one table and who fails to recognise prudence in nation building?
The passing year 2013 needed not just a tight embrace, but also very practical things. Our thoughts were in Syria and the Central African Republic. For the children in Syria and the women, the people of Syria things had reached to almost a point of no return. For the people in war zones, what picture can we conjure? Images of peace and stability must win, regardless.
Many Tweets decried the world's indifference to the war in Syria, the longest. Indeed no country can say all has been done to help Syria. Children with dried out skins will haunt us forever. We have seen photos of how they looked up to the sky in their last days, thirsty, hungry and lonely. And gun fire raging.
But are these situations unavoidable? What is it that goes so wrong and for long before a nation reaches the point of no return? Are there no early warning signs?
Observations shows that where a country has had war before, there is likely to be another war, no matter how much the opposite seems more logical. In the management of diversity today, many are failing. South Sudan fits here.
Where power has been in the hands of one person, one group or ethnic group ignoring many others, war might eventually erupt. Power in the hands of the same people or peoples corrupts. WHen one listens to Syria today as the meetings go on in Geneva, the question of power is central. It is the same in South Sudan and in the Central Republic of Afrika.
In nations that are not able to distribute national resources well, war is knocking at the door. In nations where water is a challenge, peace is not easy to preach for people reach their limit. In nations which have rich oil reserves, minerals... the crisis gets worse.
So that we are back to national and international greed. Nothing so alien is eating us up just the fact that it is too difficult for us to carve space for another, to see others like ourselves. We put political power on a high pedestal, an altar of shame!
Nations that will have heart failure show all the symptoms early. Stress, division and poor exercise, meaning of the law. High level consumption by some. I do not insult anyone who suffers disease but all these ailments can be diagnosed early. But this is how far we frustrate voices we do not like because they show the wounds in us : Kurdish poet sews his eyes and lips because he is not allowed to write in his Mother Tongue.
|Not allowed to write in Kurdish, his Mother Tongue he sews up his eyes and his lips|
The problems in the world are human and they are made by some people almost on purpose. People who do not see that power is not for one to hold onto for long. This damages societies, including small organisations so much. Not least because everything that goes wrong in the society is focused on that power and the people often forget then to look at themselves and contribute what they can to their nation. When war breaks out how can they do this anyway. When there is no war, they are driven to sycophancy. Creativity is lost. It takes the creative power of all the citizens to run the city or the country and the people at the top are only meant to be giving guidance and following the rule of law and constitution that the people made.
The shortage of goodwill is appalling. The understanding that to lead one must try hard to be above board and beyond reproach so that the others have no excuses to under perform. In the ways of great leaders in history and in life including in our homes we want to find peace and justice. To find:
Love for all and women impacting
Humility and detachment
Undying search for capacity to give
Deep respect for the other
Plenty of imagination
Spirit of adventure set upon discoveries
From the Chapter Wise and Beautiful in Still Sings the Nightbird
"In the same place in the last day of the year people wait for a brand new year. This happened in Kenyalini too. The clock ticked and then someone began to beat pots and pans Women quickly contributed their sound of joy. Many villagers joined in. Shouts of 'Hapei niu yia' began to steal into the village from different corners... Ulalations furiously parted the air from the mouths of older women.."