Afghanistan – Tragic Past and Present

Map of Asia showing Afghanistan and a dove of peace
Afghanistan’s recent past and actual present are fraught with death and destruction, inequality, and crime against girls and women, alas. But there is more to the whole than just that.

There are several reasons that I today treat this subject in some depth here, instead of posting somewhere else online:

    • Afghanistan not only through the past two decades was a platform for international power games.
    • Since at least the 18th century British interests made it the region considered the ‘gateway to India’.
    • Its geographic coordinates as well have made it a starting point and turnstile for almost any of the global powers of the last 200-300 years: Russia, England, France and the US.
    • For over 40 years, ever since I can remember starting to watch news and understanding them, Afghanistan has seen civil war, fostered by all those powers, sometimes at the same time, sometimes in turns, to make sure they kept influence and – power.
    • Natural resources around it as well are part of the overall interests and ‘games’ being played.

To try and live in Afghanistan is a challenge at least, and these days probably much more a daring enterprise for anyone concerned about a civil life
(Link above: World Happiness Report 2019, UN).

The influences and interests I mentioned are emulated by internal groups and traditional tribe systems that force farmers in some regions to a crop of drugs instead of livestock and agricultural harvest.

International politics have created – literally and figuratively – burned earth in many parts of this globe, be that in South America, Africa or Asia.

Almost none of the countries has been a stage of so much cruelty and death over such a long time, as Afghanistan has been.

Imperialistic politics over the centuries have a lot to answer for.

Making peace is a sometimes challenging task, not to say awe-inspiring. But it is worth it, any time and every time.

Note: As a German born and bred I have been raised to high education and a ‘social and political conscience’. Spreading knowledge and wisdom about such matters is my way of fulfilling this sense of responsibility. Recent German history of the past 100 years is fraught with some dreadful events. This sense of responsibility stems from there.

Exemplary links to start from for more in-depth information:

 

Picture of a dove of peace with olive branch in beak

“The Sabbath Is for Man” = Rules Are for People

Peace pagoda Nepal
World Peace Pagoda – Nepal

Rules and the law often are taken in cases of dispute among people, businesses or just neighbours, as a means to ‘fight’ for what one feels to be a right.
One’s own and individual right to do or be as one pleases.

To me, raised by parents who took ethics as well as clear thinking seriously and thus the enlightenment, the following adage of the bible is a fine example of how to treat rules:

The bible, large and ancient book of wisdom has it like this: Jesus as a grown-up and increasingly famous and respected preacher and scribe one day was asked about picking corn on the sabbath.
Many of my readers may know already that among Jews the sabbath is and was a strict holiday on Saturdays each week. To be observed with total obedience to the rule that no work whatsoever was to be done that day.
That’s what makes the answer so special, in those times.

His answer is recorded in Mark, chapter 2:

2:27 And he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath;
(The Jerusalem Bible translation)

Pure and simple this means that rules are there to make life better and easier among human beings, not to be observed at any cost even the risk of losing health or lives.
He goes on to say:

2:28 the Son of Man is master even of the sabbath’.

That’s one reason why I like the idea that rules are originally meant as a ‘crutch’ or a framework to support.
Not as walls or fences to divide, separate and make enemies. In my opinion the sense of a rule and the exact facts of the case should be taken into account. As well as a close look at people concerned and their needs, to try and find a way to live better and peacefully together in this world.
Peace in small matters can spread – to the larger issues and arguments among nations to eventually be solved without war.

“To Kill a Mockingbird”

photo of north american mockingbird
courtesy Wikimedia commons (R. Hagerty)

“To Kill a Mockingbird” – is the title of the Pulitzer-award-winning novel by American writer Harper Lee. The mockingbird of the title is used in the story as an image to describe how cruel it is to kill such a bird / creature:
These birds are there singing and thus providing joy to all who hear them, solely.

The death of the 13-year-old in Vienna the other day is dreadful.

It is tragic too, that these things happen at all. Although statistics show that rates are sinking at the moment, each and everyone of them is one too many.

My heart goes out to the parents and relations of such victims.

The story I mention contains more: It not only deals with killing, literally and figuratively.

It makes abundantly clear how dreadful the killing of any innocent creature actually is – by slander (‘word of mouth’) or actual deed.

Let’s not confuse issues. But be strict to any perpetrator of a crime, of any nationality.

 

The Mistaken Rumour About Victims

unique-characters-wooden-background-inclusion-concept

They tell you these days that certain types of people are predestined to be victims… Apparently explaining something… Victimized as the geeky kid, the odd one in the group…

But look closely, because: How large is the group, really?

How many make a lot of noise and ‘chase’, and how many don’t say anything, at all?

You will find the numbers at odds, too:
The majority – or rather the ‘loud’ ones – often are only those that fit into the ‘official picture’ that is prominent at a point in time.

During the 1960s and 1970s in Europe a new generation had raised an idea and made part of popular culture, what now has become part of marketing:

Dare to think different.

The previous generations had – often just by not caring – allowed millions of people be killed in two world wars that were actually ‘good’ for a few only, the rich, the wealthy – and the conglomerates.

Later, as I mentioned, until well into the 1980s, being careful, considerate and kind was actually ‘en vogue’.

These days it seems, it is ‘en vogue’ again, to be rich and famous…This in turn seems to call for a certain type of thinking, behaviour and mindset. As homogenous as possible. Any deviations from the ‘typecast’ creating irritation. Being different apparently allowing the apparent ‘majority’ to blame, chase or make victims of those that seem not to ‘fit’ what is called ‘mainstream’…

But, and here comes the ‘but’: Is it really?

Are all those people who do no agree with these ideas but keep quiet, perhaps the ‘silent majority’?

If that is true, we should rethink the currently prominent idea of the ‘victim type’, the ‘natural target’, as it is cruelly put sometimes, because that concept is the ‘devil an’ all’:

It blames the victims for being victims!

It aquits the real culprits from all responsibility: “I couldn’t help doing it, they are that type…”

It is important to have rules in a community to prevent harm, or even crime done!
In that respect we need to observe such rules, each and everyone.

Other than that, the call for conformity to an ‘ideal’ of behaviour or appearance can create mindless and even heartless human beings who live ‘exclusively’, instead of ‘inclusively’.

Perhaps people teasing and torturing others are the culprits, after all?

Democracy in Danger – The “Banality of Evil”

lady justice with books on table

Anyone who has followed the court of law sessions against the criminals responsible for war, torture and death of millions in Germany and Israel after the Third Reich of the Nazis had ended in 1945, knows this title:
it is the title of Hannah Arendt’s clear analysis of what can be so shockingly ‘mundane’. The evil that can be part of mankind, in the guise of everyday people with faces of bookkeepers, such as that of Adolf Eichmann.

Donald Trump these days when talking into the cameras seems dreadfully familiar in his ‘banal’ and complete denial of reality – or sense of responsibility for the community at large.

For many months I refused to write about him anymore, to take any official notice in order to reduce any public effect he craves for with such utter disregard of all that is good or beautiful – or human – or right.

His disregard for law and order in their good sense, for equality or goodness, for better chances for all, and in turn his love for public recognition at any price are shameful to watch in a country such as the USA, who for decades, if not centuries claimed to be saviour of democracy and watcher over the application of human rights around the world.

That Trump still dares to stand in public claiming without showing any remorse or shame that he refuses violence, is only true to  the ‘form’ he has shown ever since he started running for office.

In their Pledge of Allegiance among other things, the US have included the phrase “..and justice for all”.
Let justice be served with all the force the legal system has to offer in the US on Donald Trump, now. It is high time for this impeachment.

The Mirror Image Reversed – Focus on Strengths

theater masks

When Dorian Grey in the novel by Oscar Wilde looks into the mirror after having gone through a magical transfomation, he realizes that his painted picture ages. He does not, anymore.

After years of living the life many young men seem to dream about: racy, full of any kind of drunkenness by any kind of substance and any kind of ‘passion’, he still is a respected member of society, not to say upper class of the time in London. After some time people mildly wonder how he can stay young and fresh-faced, as if he was just twenty, but no one really cares to investigate.

At his death by murder, interestingly, he is found some day in the attic of his own house, in front of that omnious picture: only the story’s readers really know that the ugly, wrinkled, red-nosed, middle-aged drunk and libertine is Dorian Grey. After having died his body reveals all the ugliness of his soul: selfish and superficial.

The story is revealing in more senses than one. For me it is an essential ‘image’ of why and how human beings will some day be ‘visited’ with their own sins. By sins I do not mean what the Christian church called them who crudely threatened and especially in former centuries actually held their power over the majority of men and women that way; by making them afraid to ‘veer from the path of righteousness’ and by making out the church was the only hope of redemption, the ‘mass of men’ were held in dependence and fear.

It is the soul and what humans would find in life if they dare: not to go for the apparently big risks – but go for that which is the real path to love and happiness: live it, live peace, live care for others, neighbourly love and peaceful coexistence. And also know that none of us are angelic, while on earth, so have empathy, and remember that you need empathy and sympathy just as much. As human being.

The bible has another fine saying about this principle, yet: “Be as shrewd as snakes, and as innocent as doves.” Which means that you you should look out for yourself, but allow for any misinterpretations, and give yourself and others a chance. At real happiness.

What really makes the soul thrive and glow, is all the love you can find there, and live as much of it as possible.

Vienna November 2020 – Now, Again, Forever: Peace!

peace dove drawing

The events in Vienna are dreadful and tragic. My heart goes out to all who are affected!

Let’s take care that in everyday life, each day, we know that such deeds never exist in mid-air, unrelated.

(Neighbourly) love, peace and equality are the basic ingredients of a truly peaceful world, some day, hopefully soon.

Self-esteem, appreciation for all around us will help to spread what is good.

And voting for all those politicians, who want better things than just power and money at the expense of many, for the benefit of few. In truth and clear-headed knowledge.

Peace!

Quiet vs Talk? – Talk and Quiet!

sunset trees lake

Times can be tough, I have seen many and gone through a lot of such times. I still consider myself lucky, in many respects.

I find that talking can be overestimated. But so can quiet. As has been said similarly elsewhere:
there’s a time and place for everything.

Sometimes we talk to others in order to exchange ideas, or information.

Sometimes we talk to others to feel close by being understood and listened to.

Sometimes we talk to others so we can make the heart’s burden lighter, or to let off the steam of anger.

Sometimes we talk to others to clear up things or answer questions.

But often, there’s nothing of the above necessary. We are at one with ourselves and our emotions and ideas.

In such times, being quiet can be the order of the day. Know that our near and dear understand.

In hard or sorrowful times, a good cry can help. Or letting off steam by punching something

Hugging near and dear helps.

Work helps.

And laughter helps. Always.

Storms of Life – Peace of Mind and in the World….

In this day and age many people are surrounded by more and more digital as well as analogue devices and consequently, by impressions, news and ideas. Articles and blog posts (such as this one…) are added to the already huge amount of data every other minute.
I am glad that we have the possibility to retreat into ourselves. At least, I am one who appreciates it.

People on this earth are raised according to regional cultural tradition, to family tradition, sometimes religious ideas and last but not least, according to the latest global trends, as they are published on so-called ‘social media’. In actual fact, some of these trends are just born from the fear of not ‘fitting in’, not be part of the majority.
I’ve posted about this similarly before.

I have to admit I pity people who are unable to relish peace and quiet, because they cannot bear the thoughts inside. The ‘stream of consciousness’ that so many of us feel, sometimes more, sometimes less noticable.

Worries and sorrow can sometimes be hard to bear. There are numerous good ways though, to find rest for the mind. Sometimes it can be necessary to consciously look at all the thoughts that bother or worry us. Let them ‘float past’ though, without holding on to them.

Sometimes emotions can become so strong as to overwhelm us. Depending on what we have learned, it can be more easy to deal with that alone. In the company of people it may become difficult to just let go and have ‘a good cry’, for fear they might be worried.

But the laughter also, and the conscious use of wisdom, comedy and humour are crucial, especially in hard times.

I consider myself to be privileged in many respects: I have a job I like doing (see also my ‘About’). I have enough free time from it to follow other favourite pursuits, such as cooking, digital video editing, reading, music and many more.

I feel that exchanging ideas with like-minded people can be fruitful and joyful at the same time. Like-minded people do not ‘grow on trees’. That’s why I like both: talk – and peace and calm around me.

I also believe that any peace we have the chance to actually ‘live’ in our daily lives can help to increase world peace as well.
An African saying I like a lot, is said to run like this:
“When many little people in many little places around the world do many little good things they can change the face of the world.”

So, greets to all of you ‘little people’ with big hearts and minds out there.
Peace to all.

Neo-Nazis, Politics, Media – and Responsibility!

Again, someone has gone and done it: Hanau, Germany, 19.02.2020: a crazed man kills 9 people who seemed ‘foreign’ and then his mother and himself.
And now, wailing and crying and gnashing of teeth can be heard everywhere, online…

It is important to loudly and clearly state: such deeds are criminal!

But at the same time all the politicians that now stand pompously or even truly sorrowful in front of cameras in Germany, have to ask themselves, as well as the media broadcasting these images and speeches:
why so late?
Why did the discussion go on publicly for years on end without any foresight of possible consequences?

Is it even the bible, book of lots of wisdom, if nothing else, where it says:
“Sow wind and you will reap storm”?

The problems visible now and for almost two decades now are European, and home made:

  • A public discussion for years on all available ‘channels’ of information, newspapers, TV shows, news, fora and talk shows, which spills over into the so-called ‘social media’.
  • This discussion started by a politician in the south of Germany who in the fall of 2016 called the refugees a ‘problem’ for the first time, this time around – and then gleefully taken on by the abovementioned channels, because:
  • News are goods to be sold as well!
  • The discussion continued endlessly, for more than 4 years! Again, on all public channels, trying to ‘find ways out of the crisis’, when there really was none!
  • On and and on droned the specialists and scientists and activists and journalists and political consultants and … everyone who hoped to make something out of this:
  • Over and over and over: ‘a problem, an issue, a crisis’.
  • Then the right wing politicians and other charlatans and up-starts and power-thirsty elements: they are just as bad as any of those that go and do the shooting as such!
  • Because without properly thinking twice, thinking it through, taking care of possible consequences, they take up the yarn and go on spinning it to make a good sound rope – to ultimately ‘hang’ people by?
  • For centuries, sensations, drama, is what draws crowds. For some reason or another.

Learn from history! Learn, learn, learn…!

Some of the lessons are hilariously easy if you care:

  • Condemning the ‘other’ is easy!
  • Send fear into humans with less insight by making them aware of imagined ‘strangeness’ is easy.
  • People, like the AfD in Germany these days – or people like Trump and his party and followers, ‘feed’ on the fact:
  • In ancient Rome the ‘recipe’ worked the same way: make it public – and the crowd, the sheep will go ‘baaahhh’.

So, do not condemn!
Do not call anything a problem, especially about other human beings, if it is not!
And, last but not at all least, also look for that most striking similarity:
the hungry masses, that feel abandoned by the few wealthy who abuse them for the sake of more power and more money:
they are the first to strike out at someone apparently weaker – because to have someone below oneself in the social strata provides some kind of pride to those that have lost even that.

But do not repeat those phrases! Do not pretend to listen to them for the sake of making them feel heard! And then abuse them again…

That was one of the most foolish – and damnable in its consequences – of tendencies a couple of years ago, in Germany, among others. That’s how the AfD got started.

That’s how political parties similar to it can gain power and ultimately throw us into the abyss of another world war, if we and you do not look out.

Because as the smart ones among my readers will know: those abusing wealth and power are not out for the good of the masses, even if they pretend to do so.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

Regardless of gender, creed and colour!