Tag Archives: compassion

We will always have Humanity..

25 May

What is it with this need to hate? People hating people because they are sick or disabled and need support; because they need help housing and feeding their family;  because they have chosen here as a safe haven from war and tyranny; because their homes have been destroyed and they have asked for our help to find a place; because they can’t find work; because they dress differently; have different coloured skin; different accents; different sexual desires; different houses to pray to their god(s). How petty do these sound? .. say it ‘ I’m afraid of you because you pray in a mosque”; “I hate you because you like to wear women’s clothes” ; “I hate you  a because you are too ill to work and have sought help”; ” I fear you because irrespective of the fact you were born here, three generations ago your ancestors came here from….”…. It’s takes a crazy and sad person to think like this.  

If you want to be angry, be angry about the corporation that control supply and demand across the globe; be angry about a system that makes the wealthy wealthier but keeps the poor poorer; be angry about our political disregard  for the longevity of our planets resources; about the millions of people starving, raped,beaten, mutilated ,murdered in corrupt regimes; about the misguided individuals with pathetic weak minds who follow radical extremism; about those who target the susceptible and innocent and abuse their trust, sex traffickers, slave  traders etc.

Terrible atrocities happen across the globe on a daily basis. We as humans often ignore or don’t hear about the those horrific incidents outside of our own country.  In light of the terrible happenings in Manchester this week a friend of mine wrote this:

I wanted to say something – and its so hard because everyone is hurting but I hope you get where I’m coming from if you read this – now is not the time for opinions on who or why – its not a time for division or conspiracy theories or even politics …..

….Humans are suffering every day at the hands of evil. Simple as. We are led to believe that we are separate. That somehow borders and seas and distance make us ‘different’. But love and compassion and humanity should recognise no such borders. I am not ‘British’ or ‘European’ or anything else. I AM TERRAN. I AM OF THIS EARTH.

ALL suffering hurts my heart.

ALL injustice makes my soul weep.

And so as I stand with Manchester 22.05.17 and I hold in my heart all those who are suffering and the 22 souls lost and the 50 plus injured and the people who have seen such terrible things I also stand with Deir ez-Zur  21.05.17 and the 15 lost and the 60 plus injured – most of whom were also women and children.

Baghdad – 20.05.17 – 35 killed, 45 injured.

Tuz Khurma. Maiduguri. Hamah. Mastung…

The list goes on.

I’ve not listed which countries these places are on purpose – because an innocent soul is an innocent soul and leaves a hole where once there was light.

Hold your loved ones tight. Love love love. Be kind. Be compassionate. Educate yourself. Help others on each and every occasion that you can.

I love all the light being sent to Manchester today…what power, what beauty.

Imagine if we could send out that wave each day to each person who needed it – how powerful we truly would become.

‘There is more that unites us than separates us’

Look at us all on that tiny sphere. So fragile and yet so very strong. Separateness is an illusion used to control us. I send love to my brothers and sisters all over this beautiful planet today and everyday

Andrew Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, quite rightly said that the “Manchester terrorist no more represents Muslims than Jo Cox’s killer represents white people”.

Exactly.
Ignorance and laziness cause people to condemn an entire race, religion or country because of the act of the odd nutter/extremist… this plays right into the hands of every extremist movement, creating fear, hate and intolerance within communities… we are all people of the Earth , we may elect to follow a religion (generally based on which country we were raised and what our parents believed), we may follow a cultural behaviours based on the same, but these evil behaviours are not the result of any religious scriptures or cultural behaviours, they are the behaviours of weak-minded, warped individuals with a twisted sense of reality and a total disregard for humanity… we must stand together, arm in arm with our neighbours, irrespective of their skin colour, their dress code, their age, their sexuality, their religious beliefs or their ancestry….
We must not let the media propaganda (media terrorism) warp our minds into believing their rhetoric… Everyone is an individual being of our earth.

My only faith is the one I hold for Humanity; that humans are predominantly compassionate and kind and that we can, as humankind, drive out this culture of intolerance and hate without resorting to vilification of entire groups … we must stand together and give of our hearts, share of our minds and support of our being…
I may not have the best words or the most articulate response, but as always, I speak straight from my heart and mind and these are the only words I can find for the horrendous atrocities of this week… and I speak not just of what happened in Manchester …

We cannot defeat poverty until we remember our humanity

28 Apr

I’m lucky.

I am half of a couple that hasn’t been struck (to date) by any tragedies.

Whilst we have several hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of mortgage debt (don’t ask the exact amount, it’s far too scary to say out loud) ; we were young adults in a generation where it was possible to get on the housing ladder based on multiples of our salaries; at a time where there were lots of mortgage options and we didn’t have to wait for someone to die so we could inherit a deposit or house.

We’ve never been in a situation where we’ve had to default on a mortgage payment; so we’ve not seen our home repossessed due to a sudden change in our fortunes.

Hubby and I are happily unmarried and have been so for 22 years, so I haven’t found myself in the situation of being a single mother.  I haven’t had to make the decision to not work because the jobs I can get hardly pay enough to cover the childcare.  I haven’t had to justify staying at home to raise my own child or been forced to take minimum wage, zero hour jobs because being a ‘mum’ is not considered work.  I’ve not been forced to go to work to spend all my wage on someone else who gets to see my child grow up.  I’ve not been shamed for making the choice to be a stay at home mum.   I have a partner, I had family around for childcare support so I had choices.  I was not a waster in society for having kids I couldn’t afford, or having kids just so I could claim benefit.  Oh no I haven’t had to wear those labels.

Whilst we’ve both been made redundant in the past, it’s never been in a town or city  largely supported by one specific industry so hundred/thousands of people with similar skills found themselves on the job market at the same time.  We did get other jobs.  We hadn’t slogged the years away in mining towns or manufacturing towns where the whole industry disappeared.  Where the job market didn’t exist any more.

We’ve also not been out of work and whilst been prepared to take anything, found every single employer considers you are too skilled for the job  and won’t take you on because they think you’ll leave for something better.  We’ve never not been rejected job after job after job because we’re too old (although they’d never tell you that); we’ve never had to experience the indignity of sitting in front of a job search advisor (or whatever they are called this month) and had to prove that we’ve applied for X amount of jobs no matter how inappropriate in order to get a little bit of money to feed ourselves.

We’ve always worked and paid our taxes but never earned enough to take advantage of the tax evasion loophole the corporations, bankers and fat cats have access to.

And, whilst we don’t have a penny of savings and our credit cards are maxed out but we haven’t been in a situation where we’ve defaulted so, we haven’t had bailiffs at our door. Or had to take out extortionate debt enhancing payday loans  We have had the good fortune of having parents who could help us in difficult times. And despite no savings and huge debts, we’ve never been struck down by illness that has then forced use to the food banks.  We are not vilified by the media and government as wasters or scroungers because we haven’t found ourselves in any of these situations.

There have been periods of time where I had to give up work because of my health, but we have always managed to sustain ourselves; so I’ve not had to justify myself for ESA or PIP and suffer the shame and embarrassment of assessments and trick questions, and assumption that I’m a benefits cheat when I’m at my lowest ebb.  I’ve not been threatened with sanctioned because I’ve missed an appointment at the jobcentre which is 20 miles away and the bus didn’t show up or I had no money for petrol in my car.  Or been too unwell, or confused to turn up on time.

I never been in a situation where I could choose private healthcare to avoid the long waiting list in the NHS due to the continued cuts in funding.  I’ve not had to be on benefits for years because my health was such that I needed an operation or medical intervention but the waiting list was so long I had no choice but to claim social support.  So I’ve not been stuck at home wanting to work but not fit to be there, physically declining in fitness as my movement deteriorates from the long wait and my mental health deteriorating from the lack of social interaction.

I can occasionally (maybe once every month or so) go out for a nice meal with my hubby and kids. I can afford to meet my friends for coffee and cake or grab a pint at the end of the week in the pub.  I can even afford a cheap holiday abroad every year.

My son did get a good education to A level.   and although we couldn’t afford to pay for him to go to university ourselves we’re in Wales and he worked hard and got A’s in his A levels, so he did get a good amount of financial support as a grant plus several bursaries.  So whilst he’ll still leave university with several thousand pounds worth of debt from having to get student loans, it will be nothing like the amount many students have.  And because of this he has gone to university, he hasn’t had to worry about starting his working life with £20-£30 K of debt and bottled out (and I don’t blame those who do).

I’m so lucky that I was born in the UK. I’ve not found my family in a war zone or under tyrannical rule. I don’t fear every day for my life, We haven’t had to risk our lives on treacherous journeys because the risk of dying in transit is less frightening than staying where we are. We’ve not arrived in the UK looking for a safe haven, where we won’t be raped, tortured or killed; only to find ourselves in the UK in a border ghetto, or sent back.   I’m not considered a drain on society. lazy, a freeloader or a terrorist just because of having the good fortune of being born in the UK.

I’m not one of the millions of people in this country who have slogged their entire life on a below average British wage, unable to save and reliant on a decreasing government pension despite having paid in my whole life.  I’ve not slogged away my whole life and paid into a pension I believed was ring fenced only to discover that a fat cat corporation  has squandered my cash or the finance companies have mismanaged my money.  (Actually that’s not true,  Hubby has lost tens of thousands from his pension pot due to financial mismanagement – but I’m sure those boys still took their admin fees and bonuses as his pension  money was frittered away)  However, we are not retired yet, we’re not yet reliant on our underfunded and dysfunctional social care system.  We’re not yet having to live solely on our State pensions, although we won’t know yet if our compulsory NI contributions through our life have been spent elsewhere and we may yet find there is nothing in the pot for us.  However, we do own our house or rather the bank does) but if the worse came to the worse we are in a positive equity situation and could move somewhere smaller  But my heart bleeds for those who did their best on their low incomes and paid their stamp and having planned for their future only to have arrived there to discover the coffers are empty.

It’s easy to (mis)judge others. Especially if you are one of the ‘lucky ones’ like me.  Even more so if you are one of the 13% of the population with private healthcare.  Or someone who can go to university without taking out a student loan; or if you earn enough to accumulate savings,; or have inherited substantial wealth; or have no rent to pay; or no mortgage debt; or never have to think twice before eating out; or take luxury holidays as a given.

It’s easy to (mis)judge others. Especially, in our society that uses a politicised media to spread propaganda and fear to terrorise and control us.

It’s easy to misjudge and to formulate a view based on your own life and how good the system is for us as individuals.  But we are all people living on the same planet, going through our daily lives with our individual and shared joys and struggles.

We should remember that wealth is often a matter of luck: the country in which we are born; the location in which we are raised; the education system to which we had access; the wealth and education of the parents we are born to; the pay rate for the job in which we have to or choose to work;  the health issues we may have inherited or befallen…..

If you have been fortunate in these and other areas and the system leaves you comfortable, then that is fantastic, but as human beings we have an obligation to care for those who are less fortunate; to advocate for those who are less articulate; to subsidise those who are less healthy; to feed those who are starving; to protect those who are in danger.  We should not just swan along in our rose-tinted little worlds where “we’re alright jack” is the order of the day, and the issues around us are not important because they do not affect us.  We have a human and moral obligation to care.  And if you have a religious faith, you also have a God-given duty to do so.

Anyway, I will end this rant in the hope that just one person in the ‘I’m all right jack’ camp reads this and thinks ‘bloody hell, look at what this government is doing to our middle and poorer classes, look at the shame and pain and disregard it is affording our disabled, our sick, our children , our future” .

If one person reads this and properly looks out beyond their own comforts to see that the current system does not work for the majority. If that one person then takes action to change the current course; if that happens then this long prose has been worth its while.

Thank you for persevering and reading to this point.  Much love, kindness and consideration to you and yours.

This blog was inspired after I read a very long but rather wonderful article yesterday by someone called Killy S Jones “The erosion of democracy and the repression of mainstream media in the UK”, I’ve linked to it and you may like to scan though it, but I can understand if you don’t, its pretty full on.  At the end are a few excerpts tha may peak your interest.

“…..Neoliberalism always gravitates towards increasing inequality, extending and deepening poverty. Fear mongering is sometimes used with a diversion or misdirection propaganda technique to mask this,……. …… The process often begins with a marginalised group being singled out and held to blame for the socioeconomic problems created by the system of socioeconomic organisation itself. Using the construction of folk devils (welfare “skivers” , “workshy” “something for nothing culture”, “culture of entitlement” or “dependency” for example), the political class and media generate moral panic and outrage…..”

“…The Conservatives commonly use a nudge technique called “social norming” …..or “bandwagon propaganda technique”…… It’s about manipulating a false sense of consensus, and normalising (their)  ideology……Political slogans like “a country that works for everyone” and the previous “all in it together” are examples of poor attempts at social norming. …” 

 “….(The media) process of delegitimisation occurred in several ways: 1) through lack of or distortion of voice; 2) through ridicule, scorn and personal attacks; and 3) through association, mainly with terrorism….”

Helpless with the homeless

19 Jan
how can we help?

homelessness, hopelessness

So. How do you react when you pass a homeless person?

Avoid eye contact?  Feel embarrassed? Feel helpless? Offer a sympathetic glance? Cross the street?  Give cash?  Strike up a conversation? Report him/her? Buy him a coffee? Feel offended?

Today I had the luxury of two hours of time-wasting and coffee drinking with my partner in central Cardiff before an appointment.  We were strolling along happy and carefree.  Laughing I expect.  Holding hands.  A young lad, maybe in his mid 20’s is sat on a dirty duvet in a shop doorway. Rucksack by his side, blanket on his legs. Teardrop tattoo by his right eye.  He looks sad.  Freezing.

By the time I see him I am in the process of crossing the road away from him.  I catch myself looking at him and turn away… I’m embarrassed.  It looks like (to whom I don’t know), I’m crossing the road to avoid him.  My mood changes.  I feel sad.  Helpless.  Embarrassed.  I tell my partner I want to go and get him something warm.  We turn around and walk back to the market.  I avoid eye contact with the pathetic looking lad.

Having purchased a cup of hot soup we head back.  I say to John, “what if loads of people have bought him food or drink and he doesn’t want it”

“At least it will keep his hands warm for a bit” says John, “but I doubt it”.

Poor lad, sat there in the drizzle, a lost soul, invisible in the commercial, consumerist chaos and greed surrounding him.  I feel guilty for the money I spent on a meal out the evening before.

“You look freezing love, here’s something to warm you up”

He looks terribly sad and quite confused.  Has he been crying?  “My mum’s just died” he says

I ask how he knows.

“I go to the library every Monday and use the public phone”

We continue to chat. Another person arrives and hands him a roll and a coffee.  Asks if she can help.

I don’t know if his story is true.  I don’t even know if he knows.  But I’m told his mum has died since his last call.  His son is at school, he doesn’t know what to say to him.  His mum is his son’s legal guardian.  He’d been in prison because of some incident of violence and he needs to get to Caerphilly where his mum and son are.  He tells me he asked the police to take him there but they told him not to waste their time.

So.  What should you, or would you, do at this point?  More cash?  Some sympathy?  Walk away?  Find a policeman?  We don’t know how to react do we?   We’re not trained for this.  There’s no manual we can refer to.

I offered to take him to the station and buy him a ticket.  In my mind this is the obvious solution.  I would have ‘done my bit’, I could feel right with the world again.  I am so saddened by my helplessness in the situation and of his plight.  It’s embarrassing to admit it makes me feel uncomfortable and its put a bit of a damper on my day.

Anyway, it’s all too much for him.  He can’t get his head around his options.  He thinks he should stay put for a bit and try to get some money.  Talk to his aunt who’ll be by after schools out.  As I said before, he’s confused.  Whether or not the story is real is irrelevant, he believes it and his heart is breaking.  Well mine is.

So? What would you do now?  Say ‘Ok’ and move on?  Try and persuade him that your help is the right option? Report him? Give money?  What is the etiquette here?

I offer to come back in an hour with the car and if he wants a lift and a ticket I’d get him one.

As we walk off he calls after us ” you will come back and check won’t you?”  “Of course”, says I.  “I promise”.

I wonder at the chain of life events that has resulted in this point of time.  At the pain and sadness, trials and tribulations he and his family and friends may have endured.  A small part of me is angered by this negative intrusion into my rose-tinted world. Another small part of me is ashamed of that.

We do go back.  I have John driving down the taxi only lanes and parking in the disabled bay so I can get to near him. So he can see the offer is genuine.  Its been about 40 minutes since the food, soup, coffee, chat.

But he doesn’t think he should come.  Not yet.  He should wait.  Who knows what for.  I’m sure he is struggling to grasp his thoughts.  I’m not sure about his reality.  I want to give him a cwtch.  Should I?   All I can think about is how vulnerable and small he looks.  I hesitate.  But I don’t offer the cuddle.  I also don’t offer cash.  Even though he asks for the latter.

I’m reluctant, but I walk off back to the car. “Thanks anyway” he calls.

I wish I’d offered the cwtch.  I wonder what he’d have done with the cash.

 

2016 : Care, Compassion and a big fat CWTCH

4 Jan

life plan

So another year has passed . for some, like me, it flew past on a stream of laughter, for others it dragged its way along through gritty problems; oil slick like disasters; dead ends; brick walls and bloody great gaping chasms that they barely managed to stop themselves plummeting into.  So whilst I rejoice the end of a fabulously life affirming twelve months and embrace the next with gushing enthusiasm and passion; I am aware that many are peaking around the edge of the slightly ajar heavy door expecting further trip hazards and taking an intrepid shaky first step incase they step on a landmine.

For those out there to whom I have access, I hope they will use my stronger foothold and grab on for support.  For sure there have been times when I have tethered myself to them for guidance and balance.  For those across the globe, in different countries, counties, towns and households, where I cannot personally hold out my hand , I can hope for human kindness from within each persons individual network of support and community; I can offer to advocate and speak out for any injustices where I can add my voice to a cause.  For those who are isolated and alone; barely treading water in their personal wild ocean of life, may I have the compassion and awareness to reach out with others of humankindness and offer an anchor and an island on which they can rest.

It’s a new year.  We will all have new challenges.  But we never have to face them alone.  Let us be individually great and provide love and community to those we know and love and also to those who we may never know but we can choose to love and show compassion towards.

Embrace your life.  Share your strengths.  Allow others to support you at times of need.  Show compassion.  Share your love.  Smile at  strangers.  Be the best of humanity.  Even if it seems against all odds, let peace, love and kindness win through.  Start with your own heart.  Hug.  Or to embrace the life that has embraced me; let the world feel a good heartfelt CWTCH.

Happy New Year World.  Bring it on!

 

 

Diary of An Imperfect Mum