On many occasions since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 the world has come together in hope, only to have those hopes dashed by those forces of darkness that are innately opposed to freedom.
I can well remember those heady days as the wall fell when we, after all those years of the cold war believed we were on the cusp of seeing a whole new world order emerge where economic conditions would get better for all people and there’d be a new sense of freedom in the world. What seemed to emerge from all of that were those self important Wall Street-types who’s ignorance, avarice and double dealing brought the world to it’s economic knees. We are still recovering from that and have a long, long painful way to go.
At the same time the world was captivated by the hope pouring out of Tiananmen Square. Students, young people all in the square who dared to dream of freedom. It must have been a truly remarkable place to be at that time. In fact it would have been the only place to be! Signs everywhere, Professors giving free lectures on the streets. A place of joy and hope and dreams of freedom. All topped off by that wonderful Goddess of Democracy. A symbol of hope, based on the Statue of Liberty, copies of which appear today and we should always ensure that one always exists somewhere.
Of course, we know what happened there. the Butchers of Beijing sent in the troops and God knows how many were slaughtered, imprisoned, tortured, gaoled or simply disappeared. I always wonder what happened to the brave soul who stood in front of that tank. Armed only with a shopping bag he stands out as a symbol to us all of how power can be usurped by one solitary man armed with only what looked like a plastic bag!
The Arab Spring stand out as the next time freedom reared it’s head. Those brave young souls in Egypt and The Middle East, aided by social media burst on the scene like a Roman Candle only to be swatted like flies by the militaries, Religious hard liners and tinpot dictators who had other ideas.
Just a few weeks ago it occurred again in China. This time in Hong Kong. The Occupy Movement spontaneously erupted onto the streets of there. Unlike the other movements, I was lucky to be there this time and spent a couple of nights on the streets with the Occupiers. What grabbed me, the youth of the occupiers and the international flavour to the movement. On the streets were signs, posters. writings of everyone from Abraham lincoln to John Lennon (Imagine) to Aung San Suui Kyi, Winston Churchill, Kafka, Socrates as well as renound Chinese thinkers such as Confucius, etc. The mood, as it must have been at all these ‘eruptions’ was happy, positive and resiliant. It was also realistic as troops could be dispatched at any time.
A Chinese friend of mine said “The Chinese government would never allow a plebiscite such as happened over Scotland to occur”.
Sad, isn’t it?
Don’t be fooled. Leaders and freedom do not go together.
Now, we’ve had the horrible events in The Lindt Coffee Shop in Sydney Australia and The Charlie Hebdo Offices in Paris France.
Out of them came a spontaneous outpouring of solidarity, grief, love and affection from those the people, countries and the rest of the world. “We are under threat’ they seemed to be saying “we, any one of us could be next but we are not going to let this change us. We will stoically accept what happens and we will not be paralysed by this. We are ALL one people. No matter who we are and where we come from!”
Just look at how often and all over the place people today are spontaneously coming together! It’s a miracle! It’s coming from the people themselves. It just spontaneously pops up and can’t be stopped.
Like in Martin Place Sydney, the folk of Paris did it their way. In Paris, Ball point pens were used to rim the endless bouquets of flowers to show the might of ink! In Sydney even the ragtag street boys came in from the outside, chalking their tags on the pavement alongside the chalked messages good wishes of the goodly people. All of these things just happened to happen!! Spontaneous, involuntary.
Over a million people in marched in Paris and most of the world marched psychically with them.
Our souls are lifted by this coming together.
Now comes the hard bit. How to hold on to this expression of hope for a better world and not let the leaders stifle it as spontaneous outpourings like this are a ultimately threat to their leadership. Many of those leaders who turned up don’t have an impressive record when it comes to human rights and were there because of the fact that public opinion demanded them to be there.
Political and Religious leadership is failing us today. It no longer leads, or if it does it’s usually to stifle stuff rather than to lead. To hold on to the status quo and maintain privilege rather than share. To govern via focus groups rather than be intuitive, to be cautious at all times. So whilst they hear the cries of the people they fail to understand them, so my fear is that if we leave all this spontaneous outpouring of togetherness to our leaders we will end up with what happened after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Sq, the Arab Spring etc. In other words, disappointment.
If I were one of those leaders, I wouldn’t be poncing about on the world stage making grand, hot air speeches, I’d be with the wounded hostages, Bandaging their wounds and listening to their troubled psyches. Out of that humility would come a way forward for this world that would be truly healing.
So, what to do? Firstly recognise that these manifestations of people coming together are truly Holy events and are like the wind. They come and then, equally quickly, they are gone. Then they pop up somewhere else. So treat each one differently and, reverently appreciate them. To try and hold on to them or manipulate them is impossible. Yet many leaders will try to do precisely that. Use them to unjustly hold on to power, to attack or defend Islam or justify their political position by trying to name others as terrorists or criminals ,etc. the list is endless.
No, what I would do is hold a world concert. It’s often the artists who understand these things and can express them artistically in a magical way people understand . I’d hold a concert that, for a moment in time brings us all together and then the memory of that event, we can all take with us and each individual work towards implementing this dream of a world of freedom, peace justice and tolerance, a memory that no leader can ever take from us.