Courage, Community, Compassion

Life - Wow, what a ride!

So far we’ve seen Donald Trump launch hate speech against Muslims, the disabled, women, Mexicans, peacemakers,  workers and anyone standing up to his fascist agenda. But hey! he has to check out the Ku Klux Klan who endorsed him because, ummm, he’s not certain about their credentials. Is this guy thick or what? The KKK are notorious for their bigotry, racism and murderous activities so when Trump doesn’t condemn them out of hand – as President Reagan did when they endorsed him back in 1984 – he’s bottom trawling (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) the murky waters of racism, white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia. (But let’s not also forget the Reagan got the KKK stamp of approval because of his anti-union attitude, his welfare-bashing and similar dog-whistling on race.)

I’m Australian. I remember when John Howard, when Prime Minister of Australia, started dog-whistling on race and ethnic origin. First it was Aboriginal people who had – rightly and justifiably – talked about The Stolen Generations (black children taken from their families supposedly to better their lives but with the intent of wiping out Aboriginal existence and culture) and which Howard labelled “black armband approach to history”.

And then Howard called asylum seekers and refugees legitimately seeking refuge in Australia “illegals”, accused them falsely of throwing their children in the water from boats trying to reach Australia, and started the process of demonising desperate people who, of course, happened to be a different colour to the majority of Australian people. Could anyone seriously imagine that boats with white refugees from South Africa or Zimbabwe would be treated the same way? Howard’s incitement of racism and prejudice kicked off Federal and State attacks on any progress made by Aboriginal groups on land rights and human rights, and also kickstarted the process of incarcerating those seeking compassion and kindness from Australia in concentration camps  on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, and Nauru.

That’s why Donald Trump is dangerous, divisive and utterly contemptible. He is the love-child of all those Republic leaders who have denigrated the first black president of the United States since his first election,  who have deliberately and wantonly sabotaged any decision by Obama and the Democrats in the past eight years or so and who have pursued a white supremacist, racist, misognynist, anti-worker, homophobic agenda.

Nor are the Democrats free of criticism given the way so many of them cravenly tried to distance themselves from the president instead of standing up to the racism, bullying and thuggery of Republican leaders at a Federal and State level.

That’s why Pastor Niemoeller’s words are as valid in the US as they were in Nazi Germany. Those of us who live outside the United States need to support the courageous people in the US standing up for decency, tolerance, peace, a just society, and against the Establishment forces trying to perpetuate their enrichment of the minority at the expense of the great majority.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  • Pastor Martin Niemoeller, Activist in Nazi German

Healing, Caring, Loving Support for Syria’s Peoples

 

There are two images below, taken from a photo of a pool in the Karijini National Park in north-west Western Australia. The pool is surrounded by rocks with a shaft of light pouring down into the central pool.

It seemed to me that this was an image of light and spiritual energies pouring into healing waters, cocooned within the cradle of earth’s rock energy.

So I set to work with Pixlr and created two images – one which represents the chaos, fear and carnage which is Syria today. The moon represents the emotional agony which Syrian people are enduring, while the clouds represent the confusion, upheaval and widespread destruction.

The other image represents the rising of the world’s people to help those fleeing the tragic, horrible situation in Syria and to offer love, healing, nurturing, assistance and support to those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves forced from their homes and country to try to survive and create a future for themselves and their loved ones.

You may be interested to know that Russia presented a compromise peace proposal three or so  years ago which the Western powers turned down in the mistaken belief that Assad would shortly be deposed as President. Had compromise been on the cards, today’s tragic situation of millions fleeing for their lives, and often dying en route, could well have been averted.

So when you see Western leaders wringing their hands over the refugee situation and trying to close borders, just be aware that they have the blood and suffering of millions of displaced Syrians on their hands.

Vortex
Healing, Caring, Loving Support for Syria’s Peoples

 

Syria's Tragedy, Syria's Past
Syria’s Tragedy, Syria’s Past

 

Within, Without You (against EU plans to criminalise those in the community helping refugees and asylum seekers)

Within, Without You

Many locals and holiday makers on Greek islands such as Lesbos have waded into the sea or gone out in small boats to give a helping hand to refugees and asylum seekers in difficulties, which I think is absolutely wonderful.

It shows a humanity which is sadly lacking in EU leaders and bureaucrats because, a couple of days ago I happened to see an article about secret moves by European bureaucrats to institute measures to criminalise charities, Greek islanders and volunteers who have rescued and cared for migrants crossing from Turkey to Greece. Anyone not registered with the police would be regarded as smugglers which is absolute bollocks.

I find the fact that this idea has even been considered quite twisted, hateful and symptomatic of those who have lost touch with their humanity and locked their hearts and love away into black, wooden boxes where their hearts ought to be.

And after I’d created the above image, as I was wondering what to call it, I heard in my head the words:  “Within, without you”. I knew the song was by the Beatles but I had no idea of the lyrics until I read them. And it seemed to me that the words below relate to the hard, wizened hearts of those dreaming up cruel plans to demonise and criminalise those with heart and kindness reaching out to help those in need.

I sincerely hope these hateful plans never come to fruition and kindness and humanity reign supreme.

We were talking, about the space between us all
And the people, who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse of truth, then it’s far too late, when they pass away

We were talking, about the love we could all share, when we find it
To try our best to hold it there, with our love
With our love, we could save the world, if they only knew

Try to realize it’s all within yourself no-one else can make you change
And to see you’re really only very small,
And life flows on within and without you

We were talking, about the love that’s gone so cold and the people,
Who gain the world and lose their soul
Then you may find, peace of mind, is waiting there
And the time will come when you see we’re all one,
And life flows on within and without you.

Harvest of Love

Harvest of Love

This image started out with a close-up of my carnelian necklace, with an overlay of grasses blowing in the wind against a back-drop of the Mediterranean, all orange colours, believe it or not.

Then I happened to come across a gizmo in PicMonkey relating to pink, the colour of love, and suddenly this piece of digital art was transformed from autumn harvest to the harvest of love.

I did this just after I’d been reading about a young refugee from Iraq on the Facebook page, Humans of New York.  Brandon, who operates the HONY page, has been interviewing refugees in Turkey, some of whom have been offered refuge in the US, some not.

As a young girl, Aya saw her neighbour’s house blown to bits and her best friend lying on the ground, with her legs blown off, screaming as she died. This young woman was forced to leave Iraq with her family in the face of death threats and headed to Syria. The story hasn’t finished yet, the Syrian section remains to be told. At present Aya’s a refugee in Turkey and has just been turned down for acceptance to move to the US.

I know this young girl’s story has touched many, many hearts in the HONY community, as it did mine, I sat and cried as I read about the awful experiences of this woman in the wake of the illegal US-led war in Iraq. And I will be honest that I railed against Western leaders like Bush, Blair, Cheney and Howard who sanctioned this warfare and opened a Pandora’s box of immense suffering in the Middle East. They are war criminals who should be on trial in the International Court of Justice because they are no more than scum.

So I dedicate this piece of artwork to all those refugees seeking a home in a country where there is love, honour, justice, schooling, medical care, a roof over their heads and acceptance from a loving, accepting community. Know that those who care about refugees and asylum seekers far, far out-number those who live little, constrained lives of fear, hate and prejudice.

You can see Aya’s story in this interview with CNN:

Aya’s Story: Human’s of New York

The Hearth of Warmth & Welcome

Hestia

This image is of a hearth and chimney in an abandoned cottage. The original – in black and white – is on the Flickr album of Ann B (the Queen of Frogs) who has kindly given me permission to use her photos of the Smokies, in the United States.

I called this image “The Hearth of Warmth and Welcome” to honour the qualities embodied in the Goddess Hestia – the keeper of the fire burning at the heart of a household. Hestia makes places holy when she is present offering illumination, warmth and heat for food.

To me this image represents the opening of our hearts and the holding of our hands forward to welcome the many thousands upon thousands of refugees and asylum seekers fleeing war, persecution, conflict and starvation. The circles represent past, present and future, and even more the circles of welcome and friendship which we can build up with other human beings who need comfort,  love and shelter in their times of deepest need.

In Praise of Heroes

In Praise of Heroes

This piece of digital art and this post are to honour unsung heroes around the world.

They were prompted by reading this week of a couple who have kitted out their ship to help rescue migrants at sea in the Mediterranean as they flee the chaos of war and conflict in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Africa and so on. Christopher and Regina Catrambone have bought a 131ft former trawler, the Phoenix. They fitted it out with fast rescue vessels and a clinic, and they’ve hired a team of doctors and nurses.  They’ve also purchased two top-grade military drones to track down boats which are too small to show on radar.

It reminded me that all around the world there are unsung, unseen heroes who have opened their hearts to help those in need – whether it be to staff food banks in the UK; to save migrants as the Catrambones have done; to open their hearts to those in need as those in Sicily have done; to work in conflict or disaster areas around the globe as aid workers do or medical staff in Medicins sans Frontieres; to those currently working in Nepal to help the many thousands affected by the huge earthquake; to those working for decent treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia; and many, many others who offer help without any expectation of reward or fame.

I noticed one comment by a Sicilian – that they know a great deal about hardship and they know poverty, so they are prepared to open their hearts to those poor people turning up on Sicilian shores. I’ve noticed that those with the least, give the most. The unsung, unknown, unfeted, unacknowledged heroes around the world fill my heart with hope and gratitude for their courage, generosity and open hearts.

 

 

We Are One

We Are One

Years ago, when I lived in south-east Queensland, I created a mandala called ” Web of Light and Life”, as a fundraiser for a refugee organisation in Brisbane. I framed the mandala and dropped it off at the charity’s op/charity/thrift store so that it could be raffled at a later date.  A few months later, I visited the shop, only to find the mandala still hanging on the wall, slightly skewiff and very dusty. As you can imagine, I was very disappointed.

Now, years later, I’ve revisited this mandala at a time when refugees and asylum seekers are creating huge movements of people around the world.   So many in developing nations are fleeing war, famine, violence, racial conflict, bombings and economic hardships which so many of us in the West do not have to face in such overwhelming conditions.

Too often we read of the demonisation of refugees and asylum seekers and too often it’s done not only to promote hatred and fear of the unknown, but also to dog-whistle sickeningly for electoral advantage.

So this digital art, with its gold threads of humanity on the move surrounded by love and compassion, has at its heart a plea to understand that we are all together on this planet, we are all one regardless of our ethnicity, colour, sexual preferences, religious choices or whatever.  Hate squanders our energies, love builds vast empires between humanity.

May we choose love, tolerance and compassion, and follow the path of the heart not the path of hatred.

Original Mandala: Web of Life & LIght
Original Mandala: Web of Life & Light