Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Our future memories are our choice.
On the ninth of September 1776, two hundred and forty-three years ago, nearly to the day, the Congress of the "United Colonies" formerly changed its name to "The United States of America." It was a brave new world, full of promise and hope. I often wonder if the Founding Fathers knew it was the country that was to become the leader of the free world?
Observations of national history are similar to that of individual lives, in that terrible things can happen to people and countries and nations. But somehow, lessons are learnt eventually, often after much pain, and civilisation and the human understanding of life continue to creep forward. But it is of miserable regret that so many hard-won lessons are so quickly forgotten by so many.
Some people, of course, seem unable or refuse to learn the lessons that life can teach us. As the Dalai Lama put it - "When you lose, don't lose the lesson."
The Americans wiped out a considerable percentage of the Native American Population in the process of colonising the States. Many Nations ceased to exist. Much cruelty and many injustices were inflicted on innocent Humans, all in the name of civilisation. We know it wasn't about civilisation; it was about greed, ownership, power, ambition and a dream of something utterly different from what was there.
The British were, of course, an expert at this process, having colonised a lot of the earth's surface, also, in the name of civilisation. And the Brits were not alone, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium were all at it, but perhaps not to quite the same extent as the British. And in this process, the same kind of cruelties and injustices were inflicted on entirely innocent peoples. In the British case, our colonising was not so complete or integrated and resulted in surrendering the conquered lands back to the vanquished. But the United States remains.
No one in their right mind would try and excuse the travesties of the dreadful moments like that committed by Brigadier-General Dyer a hundred years ago, on the 9th of April 1919, the Amritsar massacre or any of the countless massacres inflicted on the Native tribes of the Americas, Africa, Australasia, the Far East or anywhere else.
Life is hard, unfair and sometimes very cruel. Some of the human population understand this and work hard to shift our world civilisation forward. Other people and alas, too many of our current day leaders, seem oblivious to the lessons of history and our world order. Their naked ambition, their ego, their greed seems to trump common sense, empathy, honesty or even any pretence of decency, compassion and kindness.
Eighteen years ago, on the ninth of September, in 2001 (or as will be eternally remembered in the USA as 9/11) - the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed by Osama Bin Laden and his followers. The cost was two thousand, six hundred and six lives and three hundred and ninety others who perished in the other attacks on that dreadful day for humanity. Not to mention all the other lives of family, friends and relatives who were also traumatised by that event.
And then we have to reflect on all the wars, killings, lives lost, and the lives left empty and filled with bitterness as a result. And we have to acknowledge, not just the pointlessness, but that we in the west are not entirely blameless.
If we were able to stand back and look at humanity through history - from an overhead view - from space; if we could look back and see all the dreadful things we humans have done to each other over time - we would, I am sure, be appalled at ourselves.
And yet, we would see beacons of light shining out of the darkness, and that continues today. There are human beings who, through their selfless actions, continue to keep nudging humanity and civilisation forward. The forward thinkers, the brave and courageous, the people of vision, who know there is a better way. These brave people who know it is better to stand up for what is right, rather than to do nothing and live with the consequences. If we were looking into the darkness of humanity, we would see so many twinkling lights of hope. In all the depression and loss of hope that we may feel from our current world leaders, we must not forget this.
So today, with all the provocations of the Trumps and Johnsons that urge us to the dark and lowest part of ourselves, we must resist. We must remain steadfast in our belief in the goodness of humanity. We must continue the fight for the absence of fear and hate in our world and keep the light of hope burning strongly.
It is the individual choice of each of us; are we blaming or forgiving, - divisive or healing, - do we want to be a beacon of light or be a part of the darkness?
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 12th November - 2019