Sometimes we think of conflicts as being “over there” and can forget that the victims of war aren’t so different from our baby cousins or our recently married friends. No civilian asks for war. We can speak up in solidarity with Afghan people and speak out against terrorism at the same time. | So many Americans risk their lives for their country, and yet so many of them struggle to get appropriate health care, employment, and other services when they return home from war. | Lend a hand!
Many of my fellow activists were en route to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne last week when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot out of the sky. In an instant, the innocent passengers became casualties of a war in which they had never enlisted. Though there is little to say in the face of such senseless tragedy, I felt compelled to reflect on the response of AIDS activists over past decades to another “war”—on HIV—that has caused incredible suffering.
Be aware of the situations others are fleeing from, which are, in some cases, humanitarian emergencies. Be aware that many of them, especially young adults who had come as children, did not ask to be in the situation they are in right now. Be aware that our planet is connected; we are transient, and more than ever before, we’re all global citizens, regardless of your flag. Our best chances for survival with dignity are to make efforts to understand one another—not push each other away.
“Hatred and anger cannot heal a broken heart.” For those who have the time, passion, and resources to become outspoken political activists about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Godspeed. But for anyone eager to promote healing and peace, regardless of political affiliation, your success in building new friendships is just as helpful to forging a future that aspires toward peace, dignity, and respect for all human beings.
Normally, United Nations (UN) interventions evoke images of humanitarian crises raging through conflict zones, invariably in far-off locales under unimaginable circumstances of harshness and hardship. War in the Central African Republic and Syria. Famine in Ethiopia and Somalia. Disaster in Haiti and the Philippines. How about Zombieland in Detroit—as in Detroit, Michigan? (Yes. The one in America.)
a trio of religious leaders in Berlin—a pastor, a rabbi, and an imam—are making a remarkable effort at reaching out to connect people of different faiths under one roof, which they will call the “House of One”. With a synagogue, a mosque, and a church, the House aims to be a unique, pioneering “shared prayer space” for members of the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths.
If by chance you’ve peeked up from the World Cup matches this week, you’ll have noted Iraq is competing for global headlines, with sectarian violence gripping the country and nations like the US stalling without a clear response. The question facing the US right now is one that many of us face in our lives when we witness situations of poverty, disease, discrimination, or other injustices. To aid or not to aid? Will jumping into a controversy make things better or worse…?