The Fruits of their Labour


I’ve talked about this before (ages ago) but it strikes me as worth talking about again as it is such a good example of how it is always worth doing what you believe to be right, even when everyone is telling you it won’t change anything.

In July, 1984, a 21 year old cashier in an Irish supermarket – Dunnes Stores- refused to handle two Outspan grapefruit at her checkout. She did this because her union had decided to protest against apartheid in South Africa by not handling South African produce.  The cashier’s name was Mary Manning and she was suspended for her actions.  Ten of her colleagues went on strike to protest  against her treatment and so began a strike that lasted almost three years.

Eventually though, the Dunnes Stores workers prevailed and the Irish government agreed to ban the importing of South African fruit and vegetables until the apartheid regime was dismantled.

Today in Johannesburg, a street is named after Mary Manning and she and her colleagues have been personally commended by Nelson Mandela and his successor, Thabo Mbeki.

As Margaret Mead, the well-known anthropologist said –

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Every single thing that every single one of us does all of the time matters in the overall scheme of things.  There is no such thing as a deed – good or bad –that doesn’t have some effect somewhere.

Scary?  Maybe.

But heartening too when you think about it.


The Future is Calling


A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets. Napoleon Bonaparte

Are mobile phones the ‘bayonets’ of the next revolution?

Are there ways to use social media that we haven’t yet even begun to imagine?

Have a look for yourself and see what you think.

What if You Are Needed?


This is an interesting campaign.  It is a specific fundraising campaign in the struggle to raise money to help combat famine in the Horn of Africa.  But in the pursuit of it’s stated aim it asks a very interesting question.

Thanks to Make Wealth History where I first learned about this campaign – here is the relevant post – have a look – it raises some other interesting questions –

http://makewealthhistory.org/2012/01/30/can-we-be-heroes-dc-in-the-horn-of-africa/

All Change at the Event Horizon


An event horizon is the point of no return near a black hole in space where the gravitational pull becomes so great escape is impossible.  Once you cross the event horizon – that’s it – you get pulled into the black hole – into the singularity – no argument.

But right up to the event horizon nothing is predetermined.

So.  My question is this – are there ‘event horizons’ in human actions and societies?

There do seem to be event horizons in evil.  It does seem as if once a threshold of sorts is crossed it can be difficult not to be pulled into the vortex of evil.

But if that is true then it must be true that there is also an event horizon of good.  A place that once we cross it we will be pulled – inexorably – towards goodness.

Like a physical event horizon, up to that very point it might look as if we are just wandering aimlessly in space when all the while we are working our way towards a big, important and valuable change for the better.  Inching along –

Tiny, discrete, butterfly action

By

Tiny, discrete, butterfly action.

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

William Faulkner

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I Could Say Something But It Would Be Redundant


I’ve heard there are troubles…


It’d be nice to think life is always easy.

Nice but unrealistic.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to take it lying down…

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!*

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Photograph – Fort Wayne Daisies player, Marie Wegman, of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League arguing with umpire Norris Ward : Opalocka, FloridaDate: Photographed on April 22, 1948. Series Title: (Department of Commerce collection.)General Note: Accompanying note: “Umpire-Player Argument: For all the head-to-head ‘ferocity’ player Marie Wegman, 22, Cincinnati, Ohio, meekly asks umpire Norris Ward, ‘sure you’re right about that play?’ Wegman is 6’2”. She plays infield and 2nd base for Ft. Wayne, last year played for Rockford club.”Repository: State Library and Archives of Florida, 500 S. Bronough St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250 USA. Contact: 850-245-6700.Archives@dos.state.fl.us >
Persistent URL: www.floridamemory.com/items/show/56235

Parenting the Soul – Butterfly Effects for Change


This is a most amazing story written by my friend, Ann O’Sullivan. Ann is a psychotherapist whose has begun an initiative called Parenting the Soul, which specializes in working with parents to help develop their children’s potential.

http://soulparenting.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/parenting-the-soul-an-introduction/

My next door neighbour, Eleanor, came to my door with a colourful bunch of garden flowers. Her seven-year old face beaming, she thrust them towards me.

‘These are for you,’ she said.

I received them delightedly, chatted for a while, cementing the bonds of genuine affection that were growing between us.

Eleanor had come to my neighbourhood a few years previously, her family having been relocated by the Council as part of an initiative to integrate problem families into more stable neighbourhoods. The initiative was having limited success. My old neighbours, resentful and unhappy, made no effort to integrate the new families. And the new families slept in their new homes, but returned to their old neighbourhoods for friendships and socializing. The best point of contact between me and my new neighbours was Eleanor, with whom I had become fast friends.

Two weeks later, she came to the door again, another bunch of flowers clutched in her chubby hand, telling me that she and her cousin Johnny had picked bunches of flowers and were selling them door to door at €2 each in order to make money for sweets.

I looked doubtfully over the hedge at the concrete apron that was her front garden, and smelled a rat. I had imagine that the previous bunch may have come from her Granny’s house, but several bunches? I didn’t think so.

Squatting down so that we were at eye level I said: ‘Darling, where did you and Johnny get the flowers?’ She gestured to an unoccupied house on the other side of mine.

‘In that back garden’ she replied.

I gently explained that the flowers weren’t hers to pick, they belonged to whoever owned the house.

‘But nobody owns that house!’ she told me triumphantly.

So I explained that somebody did own the house, they just didn’t live there. And so she shouldn’t pick the flowers because they weren’t hers. She was crestfallen, and a bit cross with me, and went away with a sullen little pout.

For a time there was a bit of bad feeling between us. Eleanor was angry with me for no matter how gentle and kindly I had tried to be, she had felt reprimanded. But I persevered in chatting with her whenever we met and eventually she got over it, and friendly relations were established between us again. She never mentioned the flowers again, and neither did I.

One year later, I was out and about in the garden, chatting to Sheila, a longtime friend and neighbour. Spotting Eleanor in the distance reminded her to tell me that a few weeks earlier when I had been away, Eleanor had knocked on her door. Gasping for breath from running, she pointed at the vacant house next door to mine and said: ‘My cousin Johnny is picking flowers in that garden and he shouldn’t be, because that’s not his house, it belongs to somebody else.’

Sheila spoke with Johnny while Eleanor looked smugly on, a small little girl who had learned, and internalized, a valuable lesson for the life of her soul.

Eradication of Evil


We can never eliminate tragedy – even in a perfect world tragedy will exist.

Evil, on the other hand, as it is created by us, is well within our control to eliminate.

So, how do we eliminate evil?  Are there fundamental actions we can take that will help to eliminate evil from the world?

If evil is not a force in itself but an absence of good (just as darkness is absence of light) then it would stand to reason that there must be things we can do that will increase ‘the light.’

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
Henry David Thoreau

I wonder what we can actually do to strike at the root of evil and let goodness flourish?