No more turning away

Modified repost from January 27, 2017.

I have another ear worm. And ear worms are for sharing. I believe this deeply. But regardless of whether you agree, it is true that I am going to share. Be warned.

I find that Pink Floyd’s 1987 power ballad On the Turning Away remains relevant to me (and “relevance” & “Pink Floyd” don’t usually pop into my head at the same time). The song itself is a call to stop turning a blind eye to the suffering around us, but I think this has become my mantra – no more turning away. There is simply too much at stake for the future. And so I think I’ve extended the meaning in my own head a bit to include those marginalized groups that are in jeopardy now that religious zealotry (of all types) and nationalism  seem to be holding sway in the US and in much of the rest of the world. We all need to have our rights protected and I don’t want to see the clock turned back for anyone.

Of course, from a practical matter, I’m still working out what that really means – I just know that I cannot continue to sit idly by. I guess it still means more writing to call out the wrongs – but the rate of troubling news sometimes seems to come at a disorienting rate, making writing more difficult than it should be. I’m doing more volunteering now that I have more free time, and fewer constraints, but I’m often left feeling that I should be doing more – because there is so much that needs attention. And because I have other personal priorities and concerns that can’t get lost in my renewed quest to save the world.

I’ll continue to figure it out as I go along, but in the meantime, here’s the song (the lyrics are below) – sometimes inspiration can come from the strangest places…

 

On the Turning Away

On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won’t understand

“Don’t accept that what’s happening
Is just a case of others’ suffering
Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
The turning away”

It’s a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it’s shroud
Over all we have known

Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we’re all alone
In the dream of the proud

On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord

Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside

Just a world that we all must share
It’s not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there’ll be
No more turning away?

— Pink Floyd
written by David Gilmore & Anthony Moore

Storm-laden sky – June 6, 2018

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Tuesday’s Quotes June 12, 2018 – Elie Wiesel

“I still believe in man in spite of man. I believe in language even though it has been wounded, deformed, and perverted by the enemies of mankind. And I continue to cling to words because it is up to us to transform them into instruments of comprehension rather than contempt. It is up to us to choose whether we wish to use them to curse or to heal, to wound or to console.”
― Elie Wiesel, Open Heart

A Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1986, Elie Wiesel (1928 – 2016) was an Auschwitz survivor with a gift for words – and a willingness to use them in the pursuit of peace by understanding the lessons of the past. As a post-war baby boomer, the shadow of the Holocaust was as much a part of my life as the ever-present threat of nuclear obliteration and the Cold War. Wiesel’s writing, like Victor Frankl’s, was an important part of understanding that story for me. It was an piece of the foundation that left me believing in the power of education. In the need to not forget the lessons of the past. And in the power of words. And to not remain silent: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

In Weisel’s obituary on July 2, 2016, the New York Times noted that the citation from the 1986 Nobel committee stated: “His message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief.

Thought for the day…

“History is filled with tragic examples of wars that result from diplomatic impasse. Whether in our local communities or in international relations, the skillful use of our communicative capacities to negotiate and resolve differences is the first evidence of human wisdom.” — Daisaku Ikeda

Pax.

Photo of the Mid-Hudson Bridge taken from the Walkway Over the Hudson.

Tuesday’s Quotes – June 5, 2017 – Kennedy

“To say that the future will be different from the present is, to scientists, hopelessly self-evident. I observe regretfully that in politics, however, it can be heresy. It can be denounced as radicalism, or branded as subversion. There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed.”
— Robert Kennedy, 1964

I think those people are in power now.

On June 5, 1968, Robert Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California, after winning the California Democratic Party Primary. He died the following day – he was 42 years old and, like his brother before him, he was murdered by an assassin’s bullet.

The lines below were spoken in support of the Civil Rights movement, but hardly seem less important now.

“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”

View of the Hudson River looking south from the Walkway Over the Hudson, circa early spring 2015.

Just another Sunday…

I spent the afternoon assisting at the ACLU table at the Hudson Valley Pride Festival.  It was a good day to be outside, and the festival was well-attended. We, unexpectedly, had some high-schoolers assisting for most of the day – and once again, I have to say how impressed I am with ‘kids these days’ – they are the promise of a better future.

This was my first time at a pride event, but, sadly, I’d forgotten my phone so I have no pictures. I also was unaware that my husband had texted to let me know he was there to pick me up, or that my daughter had texted to let me know that she was home (and therefore would be eating with us). No worries, though – my husband found us, and helped pack up and take down the tent. And he was there to witness the drama of the medivac helicopter that came in to pick someone up after most of the festival space had been cleaned up – no idea what had happened to get to that point, but it certainly wasn’t because they were in a hurry – I assume that it was because, for whatever reason, it was necessary to transport the patient to one of the more distant major hospitals – probably Westchester or Albany. I don’t even know if the patient had been at the park for the festival, or if something had happened in one of the houses near the park. I hope whoever it was is recovering from whatever it was.

I was struck today, in a space where all were welcome, how important it is that we work to preserve that spirit of inclusion – and it most definitely does require work, particularly  for those of us that perhaps came of age in a less accepting time – love and compassion, acceptance for the different, are not always easy, but they are very necessary for the survival of humanity. Our current political climate seems to have encouraged more people to wish for – to push for – a return to some idealized version of the past – a past that never was as wonderful as nostalgia would have it, and was also far less tolerant, far less inclusive, than where we are now. We need to keep moving forward to a better, more peaceful, world. We need to work to avoid falling into the trap of moving backwards instead.

“No government, no organisation, no citizen can afford to be less than vigilant in combating bigotry, intolerance and hatred. And frankly, our way of life depends on that vigilance.” — Barry O’Farrell

Pax.

 

As Memorial Day weekend begins…

Today marks the start of  Memorial Day weekend here in the US. Memorial Day, itself, is officially on Monday, but the weekend of the holiday has become a sales and barbecue extravaganza that kicks off the summer season here in the US.

It has also, erroneously, but with good intent, become a day for much ‘Support Our Troops’ and ‘Honor Our Veterans’ rhetoric. But that’s not what it was established to be (that’s what Veteran’s Day is for). Memorial Day was established immediately after the US Civil War, and was originally called Decoration Day, and the purpose, then as now, was to honor our war dead  – and up until the time of World War I, the southern US states did not use that designated date to honor their own Civil War dead – they chose their own separate dates (& some of them still do have separate dates to honor those killed in the Civil War). After WWI, the purpose was intentionally changed to honor all American soldiers that were killed in any war, anywhere. Far too high a number. And sadly, one that keeps on increasing as men of power continue their own quests to maintain – and extend – their power. War, for the kings and presidents, has never been for any ideal – that’s only what the young men, and women, sent out to battle are led to believe.

We should all enjoy the holiday – because we can – but we should also never lose sight of what it really means, either. Or of what those poppies that the veteran’s groups distribute actually represent.

Pax.

In Flanders Fields” John F. Prescott

Image from “McCRAE, JOHN,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed May 24, 2015, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mccrae_john_14E.html.