Let’s Start A War On War

Dove Of PeaceWith all the coverage about ISIS and the continuing fighting in Syria and Iraq, we need to find some way to embrace and broadcast these positive words of peace from Daisaku Ikeda …

Each of us, no matter how weak or ineffectual we may feel ourselves to be, must build deep within our hearts a stronghold for peace, one that will be capable of withstanding and in the end silencing the incessant calls to war.

This is the only way humanity’s tragic predilection for violence can be reformed and its energies channelled in new directions.

Boston Thoughts

Boston Marathon BombingWith the shock and sadness upon hearing the news of the bombings in Boston still sinking in, I have again been forced to think about why people could ever consider the injuring and killing of others as a rational form of protest or demonstration?

Of course, it could be said, that these people are sick, psychologically deranged, but such acts require complicated and detailed planning and execution, so there must be a fair degree of intelligence being used.

While the US authorities search for the perpetrators, we should concentrate our thoughts and prayers on the victims and their families and friends. We should also give our full support for those within this country who are planning the security for this weekend’s London marathon in an effort to stop anything similar happening here.

Whether any good ever comes out of such incidents depends, in the broadest sense, on your viewpoint. Whilst it is very difficult for us to see things from the point of view of the bomber, we must try, if we are to make any progress towards averting any future attempts to repeat the events of yesterday.

The only way we can move forward into a world without terror, is for all parties involved, and that means including the bombers, to use Wisdom, Courage and Compassion to address the conflict, what ever that might be.

That may sound naive, but the only way to resolve any of these issues is to resort to dialogue rather than violence.

Good News Friday

Mark Cahill - Hand TransplantAmid all the usual doom and gloom of the news stories, there were two shining rays of hope to brighten the day. The first was regarding the UK’s first hand transplant patient, Mark Cahill, who is making excellent progress after receiving a donor hand on Boxing Day.

Malala Going HomeThe second, and for me even more exciting news, is that 15 year old Malala Yousafzai, the young lady who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, for campaigning for education for girls, left hospital today to join her family in their temporary home in Birmingham.

The attack on Malala, back in October, sparked outrage around the world. The resulting press coverage and negative reaction towards the Taliban, promoting the cause of girls education in Pakistan still further. Another case of this misguided radical Muslim group metaphorically shooting themselves in the foot.

Whilst we can only wish Mark good fortune and a speedy recovery from his surgery, we should spare a thought for the family of the donor, who having lost their loved one at Christmas, bravely allowed the hand to be used for the benefit of another. Can there be a more compassionate act?

The US Continue To Drone On

Another US Drone over PakistanThe BBC Panorama program last night about drone attacks over Pakistan, painted a rather ugly picture of covert operations, run by the C.I.A., against supposed al-Qaeda operatives in the province of Waziristan.

According to the latest data compiled by the New America Foundation from reliable news reports, 337 C.I.A. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed an estimated 1,932 to 3,176 people since 2004, of which 1,487 – 2,595 were reported to be militants.

This means the average non-militant casualty rate over the life of the program is 18-23 percent. In 2012 it has been around 10 percent, down sharply from its peak in 2006 of over 60 percent.

Putting a Buddhist slant on these operations, it can clearly be seen that they are rather lacking in Wisdom, Courage and Compassion. I find it difficult to see any courage in attacking defenceless people, from the safety of a remote control centre, from an unmanned robot aircraft.

There is certainly little or no compassion felt for the innocent bystanders and citizens who are caught up in these lightning strikes, some of whom have been seen to be women and children. And where is the wisdom, when even the most moderate Pakistanis are turning against the U.S. purely because of these cowardly and seemingly often misdirected attacks.

It is past time for President Obama and his advisors to have a serious rethink. The war on terror was never really a war, it was the enforcement of an ideology, and the current methods and operations are only serving to stir yet more hatred, and encourage greater numbers of young Islamic men to rise up against their common foe.

Please have the courage to enter into dialogue with al-Qaeda, the wisdom to see that the emphasis must change from causing destruction to promoting development, and the compassion to stop these terrifying drone attacks on populated areas, no lasting peaceful outcome can ever be found down this path.

Teenage Courage

Malala YousafzaiThe shooting today of Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old schoolgirl who was campaigning against the Taliban imposed ban on the schooling of girls in north-west Pakistan, has caused worldwide outrage. The bravery of Malala, who started her campaign blog when she was only 11, can only be admired.

It can only be hoped that the senseless, cowardly attack on this child will further undermine the political position of the Taliban. The Islamist fundamentalists dominate the areas they control by a combination of fear and violence.

These cowards have promised to silence Malala if she continues her campaign, assuming she recovers from the head injuries sustained today. Surely it is high time that moderate Islamic people made it clear that such actions, which are bound to taint attitudes towards their religion, are totally unacceptable.

In the meantime, I ask that you join me in chanting and praying for a speedy and full recovery for Malala, such a brave and inspirational young lady.

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