I Believe

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I need to be honest that I really wanted to write about politics and how I believe that the weak United Nations need to come up with clear laws, consequences and the ability to follow through on world government intervention and action, when necessary. I see UN composition with proportional representation and number of seats based on the land mass and population of participating countries and if countries choose not to be involved with the UN, they would still be subject to International laws.

When humanitarian, security, chemical weapons or deeply concerning issues take place, violating International laws, the UN members would vote and based on the majority, action would be taken by UN forces, comprised of the military and law enforcement of participating UN countries. Unfortunately, since the UN is not currently seen as a body with enough respect or clout to do anything of value on the world stage; it perpetuates a vigilantism mentality around the world and creates posturing by countries with more power than others.

The UN reminds of an incompetent, weak and passive leader who means well but doesn’t get the job done. I am saddened that there are so many people suffering around the world, at the hands of other men and women, and clearly, there is not a concrete plan in place for this to be resolved. Violence, murder, fear, conflict, torture and savage behaviour is happening today, as we sit here and read our computer screen.

Since politics and government; however, always seem to polarize readers, I am going to move on to discuss the root of what I feel leads to all war, violence and upheaval in countries and communities is caused by. I actually mentioned it, in my first sentence. It is our beliefs. What we believe will lead us to make decisions, take actions, or treat others in a specific way. The problem is, how do we determine who is right when two people or two countries believe differently?

When I was in Japan, in my teens, I was billeted by a family where the woman was not allowed to eat with her family and had to remain, in another room, until everyone was finished. Then, she would be able to eat from what was left. I felt sad for her and went to sit with her, while she waited. The same woman was not allowed to go through a doorway first; she had to walk behind her husband, at all times. This situation felt abusive to me. I was so unsettled that I requested to be moved to a different family.

I believe that all citizens need to be treated equal and with respect. That family seemed to believe that women were second class citizens and not entitled to the same rights or privileges as the other family members. From an outsider looking in, I was horrified at how that woman was treated. From their perspective, it was normal. In our own community, there are families who have a scaled down version of these beliefs. Are they wrong about their beliefs or am I?

Civilized countries tend to be in agreement that rape, ownership or violence toward women and children is in not acceptable. Civilized countries; however, only allowed women to vote or allowed different races to intermingle in this last century and some churches still do not allow women to become priests. Are we any more advanced or does oppression still exist in a more acceptable way?

All people will never all believe in the exactly the same things. That is why war, violence and conflict will always be a factor in our planet. We each have a set of beliefs, based on how we were raised or information we have gathered along the way. Where though, do we draw the line and who is ultimately responsible for determining what will be allowed to be perpetuated and what will not be accepted?

That is a question that has been around since the beginning of time. Humans have managed to create conflict to the point that they are willing to kill other human beings because of a difference in religious beliefs. It is not something that is going to go away. How, though, is it possible to have entire continents of countries who manage to not kill other human begins in mass numbers and yet, other countries can slaughter tens or hundreds of thousands of people and get away with it?

What then, do we do about those countries that are doing this? Should we be doing something about it, or is it their issue to deal with? Is it our problem because we are humans or is it not our problem because they have different citizenship than we do? Clearly, it is not black and white.

All we can do, as individuals, is decide that if we have a belief, about anything, which is opposite to the belief of someone else, we are not necessarily right and they are not necessarily wrong. Maybe we can learn to be more tolerant of others. If they are harming other humans, perhaps then, they have crossed the line. It is a shady area, no matter what angle we look at it from.

To sleep at night, after such horrible things happen in other parts of the world, the main thing that comes up for me is how grateful I feel to live in a country where we are relatively safe and protected. I am grateful that the only noise outside of our window at night is the sound of fireworks or music from the neighbouring bonfire. I am grateful that we live in Canada.

Tonight, when hearing the fireworks outside, my two-year old grandson pulled off his tea towel, while eating oranges and reached for me to pick him up. ‘Scared’ he said, over and over again. I assured him that it was okay and it was just noise from fireworks and lights in the sky. Can you imagine if we lived in a country where the noise was actually from bombs or gunfire?

Although all is not perfect here, I believe that we are extremely fortunate. When unimaginable tragedy is taking place around the world, we can pray that somehow those responsible for those horrible acts of violence and terror will eventually find peace in their hearts and not continue to take their fear out on those around them. We can pray that those affected will rise up to the oppression that is claiming their lives, their freedom and the lives of their families.

Only God knows why, how or if this can ever be overcome. For now, we can step freely outside our homes, wander into the beautiful spring that is budding outside our doors, love freely, think freely, speak freely and write freely. We are blessed with so many luxuries and comforts that it would only be if we stepped into the shoes of those who are displaced and suffering that we would truly appreciate how fortunate we really are.

‘I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’ ~ Eve Merriam