Path Toward Peace – Step Five

nationalism

Eliminating unbridled nationalism


The peoples of all nations are screaming for unity, their hearts bleeding, yet this strident call is made the slave of petty nationalistic agendas.

From Al Bawaba: Haifa refuses to answer those who doubted her nationalism

From Indian Muslim News and Information: Book: Communalism, Caste and Hindu Nationalism—The Violence in Gujarat

From the Times Online, UK: People’s Alliance for Democracy’s narrow nationalism in Thailand

I was born in the United States of America. Still live here, though I’ve traveled to Canada, Mexico, Viet Nam, Japan, and the Philippines.

I used to love my country as I love my parents, claiming them as place and people of my origin.

I still love my country but not, any longer, like I love my parents. I’ve learned that my place of origin is the Earth.

The Earth has always been whole and unified. Even though certain humans have declared various areas of Her surface as separate from other areas and stained Her soil with torrents of blood to maintain those national boundaries, She is whole.

Certainly, there are things I don’t like about my country of birth, just like there were things I didn’t like about my parents. But when I consider my true place of origin, this lovely blue-green-brown cosmic spaceship, I can find nothing about her I don’t like.

She is  troubled. I can hear Her voice, deep, throbbing tones, pleading with the children on Her surface, “Now, don’t make me scold you…”

Spiritual Quotes:

“It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 250

“…torrents of precious blood are spilled in defense of these imaginary divisions of our one human habitation, under the delusion of a fancied and limited patriotism.

“After all, a claim and title to territory or native land is but a claim and attachment to the dust of earth. We live upon this earth for a few days and then rest beneath it forever. So it is our graveyard eternally. Shall man fight for the tomb which devours him, for his eternal sepulcher? What ignorance could be greater than this? To fight over his grave, to kill another for his grave! What heedlessness! What a delusion!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 355

“Unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and legitimate patriotism, must give way to a wider loyalty, to the love of humanity as a whole. Bahá’u’lláh’s statement is: ‘The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens’. The concept of world citizenship is a direct result of the contraction of the world into a single neighbourhood through scientific advances and of the indisputable interdependence of nations.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 3

“O contending peoples and kindreds of the earth! Set your faces towards unity, and let the radiance of its light shine upon you. Gather ye together, and for the sake of God resolve to root out whatever is the source of contention amongst you. Then will the effulgence of the world’s great Luminary envelop the whole earth, and its inhabitants become the citizens of one city, and the occupants of one and the same throne.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 217

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Values for All of Us

workers

Tomorrow is Labor Day in the United States–a federal holiday that began as an honoring of workers and has become a summer-ending Party . . .

From MarketWatch: Labor Day 2008: Building a New American Dream for America’s Workers

From the SunSentinel: Labor Day in Florida: Working class dreams are dying

From khsltv.com (California): Violent Crime Spikes in Chico Over the Labor Day Weekend

Holidays just aren’t what they used to be. Even if some folks celebrate Labor Day as honoring America’s workers, it’s usually honoring them as the most cherished workers, worthy of regard above any other workers. Some are, I’m sure. Yet, what about the World’s workers–those paid so little they work as slaves, those who work at staying alive–whose work is dodging bombs and guns . . .

Putting Americans, the workers or the massive parties, on a pedestal is counter-productive for America’s future–it’s globally dissonant–causes strife and contention from other nations.

This globe will never solve its problems as long as nations keep playing their trump cards against each other. A favorite American saying is, “United we Stand, Divided we Fall”.

Should a united America stand so tall she encourages a divided world?

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“We assert that the emerging global order, and the processes of globalization that define it, must be founded on the principle of the oneness of humankind. This principle, accepted and affirmed as a common understanding, provides the practical basis for the organization of relationships between all states and nations. The increasingly apparent interconnectedness of development, security and human rights on a global scale confirms that peace and prosperity are indivisible — that no sustainable benefit can be conferred on a nation or community if the welfare of the nations as a whole is ignored or neglected. The principle of the oneness of humankind does not seek to undermine national autonomy or suppress the cultural and intellectual diversity of the peoples and nations of the world. Rather, it seeks to broaden the basis of the existing foundations of society by calling for a wider loyalty, a greater aspiration than any that has animated the human race. Indeed, it provides the moral impetus needed to remold the institutions of governance in a manner consistent with the needs of an ever-changing world.”
Bahá’í International Community, The Search for Values in an Age of Transition, p.3

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How Hungry Are *You* ?

Cartoons can be brutal in their portrayals yet nowhere near as brutal as the facts.

Who’s starving?
Who’s well-fed and determined to stay that way, whatever the price?
Who deserves to starve?
Who’s working to stop the inequities?

From Reuters: Biofuels major driver of food price rise: World Bank “Large increases in biofuels production in the United States and Europe are the main reason behind the steep rise in global food prices, a top World Bank economist said in research published on Monday.”

From OneWorld.Net: Trade Negotiations Cannot Solve Food Crisis Created by WTO and World Bank “Trade negotiators are using the current food crisis as a Trojan Horse at the WTO negotiations to push an agribusiness agenda on farmers and rural communities around the world,” stated Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Agriculture should be removed from WTO negotiations until international leaders fully examine the impact on developing countries’ ability to feed themselves.”

Hmmm…
The World Bank states one of the major problems then persists in striving toward a non-solution.

Why are people so subjugated they can’t raise their own food? Why do the multinationals work so hard to deny human rights?

Let’s see . . . Couldn’t be massive greed, could it?

It took me most of 40 years to get the idea that we are One from my head to my heart. During that time, I committed actions that benefited me and ignored my brothers and sisters in our global family.

My head said I deserved what I could grab. I’d suffered and needed those material things to comfort me . . .

Now my heart aches with bleeding feelings that stun my sensibilities. The world’s in the clutches of the temporally powerful. Temporal because the Spirit of humanity will survive and the materialistic “rulers” will turn to dust and be forgotten.

This post and its implications are so grief-ridden I’m reduced to a state of utter hope—hope that my grandchild’s children will see better days.

What’s your estimate of when things will turn from greed to compassion?

~~~~~~~~~

“Good God! Is it possible that, seeing one of his fellow-creatures starving, destitute of everything, a man can rest and live comfortably in his luxurious mansion? He who meets another in the greatest misery, can he enjoy his fortune? That is why, in the Religion of God, it is prescribed and established that wealthy men each year give over a certain part of their fortune for the maintenance of the poor and unfortunate. That is the foundation of the Religion of God and is binding upon all.
“And as man in this way is not forced nor obliged by the government, but is by the natural tendency of his good heart voluntarily and radiantly showing benevolence toward the poor, such a deed is much praised, approved and pleasing.
“Such is the meaning of the good works in the Divine Books and Tablets.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 276

“Unfortunately, the arbiters of human affairs have, instead of embracing the concept of the oneness of mankind and promoting the increase of concord among different peoples, tended to deify the State, to subordinate the rest of mankind to one nation, race or class, to attempt to suppress all discussion and interchange of ideas, or callously to abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling small sections to live in an unprecedented condition of affluence.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1989 Feb 09, Right to Development

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Involuntary Wandering

Homeless. Most often starving. Raising children in squalid conditions. These are our global family’s refugees.

From Refugees International: Stateless People “More than 11 million people around the world are stateless….The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts ‘Everyone has the right to a nationality’, but stateless individuals generally do not benefit from the protection and assistance of governments, the United Nations, or aid agencies.”

By no means were refugees necessarily poor or uneducated before their forced migration.

From OneWorld.Net: Searching for Identity in an Ethiopian Refugee Camp “While thankful to be safely outside of Eritrea, Emmanuel explains that in addition to the general problems of refugee camp life such as insufficient food rations and health concerns like malaria, it is not easy to get out of the camp to carry out normal activities such as using the internet. First, a person must obtain a day pass, only 25 of which are issued every day. A bus to Shirraro, the nearest town, needs to be arranged and one must be able to cover the cost of bus fare and internet fees, which start at 15 Birr (US$ 1.56). He would like to continue his studies. ‘I have read the same physics textbook several times, but I would really like to study meteorology.’ ”

I searched Google images for quite awhile to find that picture of the mother and child. It was one of the absolutely saddest searches I’ve ever made…

I happen to be a United States citizen with a small veteran’s pension: not rich or particularly comfortable. I’ve also served time living on the streets, mostly due to a severe lack of self esteem. Yet, none of the suffering I’ve gone through comes anywhere near these peoples’ plight !

Bringing this post to an amazing end is a bit of the story of a remarkable refugee, Bahá’u’lláh. He lived in 19th Century Persia and was banished to Iraq, Turkey, and what is now Israel. This excerpt was written by His son:

“He upraised this standard of the oneness of humanity in prison. When subjected to banishment by two kings, while a refugee from enemies of all nations and during the days of His long imprisonment He wrote to the kings and rulers of the world in words of wonderful eloquence, arraigning them severely and summoning them to the divine standard of unity and justice. He exhorted them to peace and international agreement, making it incumbent upon them to establish a board of international arbitration—that from all nations and governments of the world there should be delegates selected for a congress of nations which should constitute a universal arbitral court of justice to settle international disputes. He wrote to Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, the Czar of Russia, the Emperor of Germany, Napoleon III of France and others, inviting them to world unity and peace. Through a heavenly power He was enabled to promulgate these ideals in the Orient. Kings could not withstand Him. They endeavored to extinguish His light but served only to increase its intensity and illumination. While in prison He stood against the Shah of Persia and Sultan of Turkey and promulgated His teachings until He firmly established the banner of truth and the oneness of humankind. I was a prisoner with Him for forty years until the Young Turks of the Committee of Union and Progress overthrew the despotism of Abdu’l-Hamid, dethroned him and proclaimed liberty. This committee set me free from tyranny and oppression; otherwise, I should have been in prison until the days of my life were ended.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 203

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Money and Value

Money doesn’t always equal value.

These news items are about the United States but what’s happening there is impacting the global economy . . .

From The New York Times: Worried Banks Sharply Reduce Business Loans “Banks struggling to recover from multibillion-dollar losses on real estate are curtailing loans to American businesses, depriving even healthy companies of money for expansion and hiring.”

From the Economist: Inflation or deflation? “The markets have become incredibly volatile as investors vacillate between these outcomes.”

From the BBC: Record deficit for next president “The next US president is expected to face a record federal budget deficit of almost half a trillion dollars.”

Economics used to seem as opaque as metaphysics to me. Then, as I hit the middle of middle-age, it became apparent I was studying the economics that businesses use, that nations use, that politicians manipulate.

The economics that has squandered vast quantities of non-renewable resources.

The economics that keeps certain people away from creativity, away from a decent livelihood.

The economics that spawns wars and utterly brutal treatment of innocent civilians !

I don’t want to start ranting so here are some spiritual quotes to ponder:

“The repudiation of national right and power to make war represents the first step toward mutual wealth and sound economy. Short of a world economy mankind will not achieve the fruits of civilization.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1947 Feb, A Bahá’í Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights

“Widespread uncertainty about the condition of the economy indicates a deep disorder in the management of the material affairs of the planet, a condition which can only exacerbate the sense of frustration and futility affecting the political realm.”
The Universal House of Justice, A Wider Horizon, Selected Letters 1983-1992, p. 102

“…participants in the informal sector of the economy, women in particular, must be involved in reconceptualizing economics altogether, both theory and practice. If women have a unique approach to economic activity, it would most likely be apparent in the largely unstructured informal sector of the economy. For example, preliminary findings in an on-going study of women industrial sub-contractors in Malaysia, show that the business objectives of the majority of women sub-contractors are defined not so much in monetary terms as in terms of values.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Aug 26, Women in the Informal Sector in Malaysia

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Light In The Darkness


“The bed-rock of a strategy that can engage the world’s population in assuming responsibility for its collective destiny must be the consciousness of the oneness of humankind.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Jul 16, Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

From The New York Times: Bank Investors Redefine Bad News
“…it has now been a year since the credit crisis erupted, and, so far, the optimists have been proven wrong time and again. Skeptics say it could take years for banks to recover from the worst financial crisis since the Depression. And even when things do improve, the pessimists maintain, banks’ profits will be a fraction of what they were before.”

From Forbes: Wachovia Loss May Spell End For Bank Rally
“After reporting second-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations, American Express said it does not expect to meet or exceed long-term financial targets until the economy recovers because conditions worsened more rapidly than expected.”

So much of the world is overextended.

So many people suffer.

A few get rich as the rest get poorer . . .

~~~~~~~~~

I used to work as a telemarketer (Oh, my God, Alex, how horrible !) for one of the major credit card companies. There came a point when they expanded their services into Ireland. The CEO said the Irish appeared to be overly careful in their finances—they weren’t carrying any balance on their cards. I quit the company right after I saw a quote from the CEO: “We have every confidence in the Irish market. It may be slow now but we will educate them.”

Educate them . . .

Time for class kids! Gather round. There ya go. See, this is a wall socket. Some people say its dangerous to put your finger in here but today we’re gonna learn that it’s actually fun !!

We all need education, constantly—from the bottom up and from the Top down.

Sometimes I get a little nutsey and think that the separation of Faith and State has brought ruin to both.

“…material civilization is like unto a beautiful body, and spiritual civilization is like unto the spirit of life. If that wondrous spirit of life enters this beautiful body, the body will become a channel for the distribution and development of the perfections of humanity.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 11

Things sure are headed Somewhere . . . In fact, that reminds me of an old saying, “If ya don’t know where you’re goin’, any road will take ya there.”

“…it is unrealistic to imagine that the vision of the next stage in the advancement of civilization can be formulated without a searching re-examination of the attitudes and assumptions that currently underlie approaches to social and economic development….We are being shown that, unless the development of society finds a purpose beyond the mere amelioration of material conditions, it will fail of attaining even these goals. That purpose must be sought in spiritual dimensions of life and motivation that transcend a constantly changing economic landscape and an artificially imposed division of human societies into ‘developed’ and ‘developing.’ “
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Jul 16, Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

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