Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A New Day Dawning

I have written before about stories from the news that have given me hope--that someone somewhere is crazy enough to get into a lawn chair rigged with balloons and go for a ride, that someone else will get on a Torro mower and drive from Alaska to Maryland. These things, I've said, have been for me like the sight of a blade of grass that has pushed its way through the asphalt--a reminder and the promise that life will always be free.

Yesterday I came across a story that I had heard nothing about but which fills me with true, deep hope for our future as a species and which feels to me a signal that a new day is indeed dawning. In July, on Nelson Mandela's 89th birthday, Mandela and several others announced the formation of a new group--The Elders. Like traditional elders for our global village, these women and men have come together to "support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair."\

The list of founding members is indeed illustrious: Nelson Mandela, Gra├ža Machel, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Fernando H Cardoso, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson, Muhammad Yunus.

"This group," quoting Mandela again, "can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken."

A brief video introduces the group, and a press release gives more details (see "Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu announce The Elders .")

I think a remark from Desmond Tutu, the group's chair, puts it in perspective for me:

"Despite all the ghastliness that is around, human beings are made for goodness. The ones who ought to be held in high regard are not the ones who are militarily powerful, nor even econcomically prosperious. They are the ones who have a commitment to try and make the world a better place. We--the Elders--will endeavor to support those people and do our best for humanity."

This may sound corny, but I really do think I'll sleep better tonight.

In Gassho,


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Bill Baar said...

Richard Beeston and Martin Fletcher in Times Online on Burma: Who will win? Can the world help?

This is an important test for the international community. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, democracy has spread to every corner of the world. In the past decade the West has intervened against repressive regimes in the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean. But with the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan there is little appetite for new interventionism. The regime has calculated that it can hold on to power by employing force at home and ignoring outside opinion. But if it gets away with this kind of behaviour, what message will that send to other potential dictatorships?

Don't expect much from the bunch at this table. They're still stuck trying to find Bush a failure.

Like Jim Wallis, they'll ask us to watch, as we did in Rwanda, again...

Robin Edgar said...

Speaking of asphalt, and all the ghastliness that is around, you might find this brand-spanking new U*UTube video to be quite educational and indeed just a tad entertaining. Maybe I should title it "Shades of Crass" or something. ;-)

RevWik said...


Do you truly, honestly believe that the primary concern of people like Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela is George Bush? What would it take to believe that they really want a better world?


RevWik said...


I understand that you have a problem with the Unitarian Universalist Church in Montreal and, because of that, UUs in general. I would appreciate it, however, if your posts on this blogsite could be in response to the postings on this site. I don't go over to the Emerson Avenger and direct people back here.