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 Blooming Stars

No Hope, No Life

             A culture of deception, duplicity, suspicion, equivocation, corruption, and cover-up seems to have become a way of life in this world of ours. It is not what one is but what one has, and how one looks that are important. It is not what one knows but whom one knows that helps to get ahead in life materially. Appearance has pushed reality to the back-seat. There are many kinds of cosmetic surgeries and make-ups for the rich and not so rich to improve one’s look by enhancing or reducing one’s bust or removing blemishes, creases, wrinkles, or folds. There are creams or washes to darken or altogether eliminate one’s grey hair to look younger. It is the façade of a building, not the functionality and the convenience within, that matter. The erosion of the moral landscape reached its culmination not long after September11, 2001. Our lies stealthily caught up with us. Nineteen depraved and deranged men master-minded by a fanatic criminal mind could not change our culture and our way of life unless we allowed it.

            That day especially humanity lost, and terrorism triumphed in destroying a civilization of trust developed over millennia, and crowning a paranoid culture already in the making. We allowed that to happen, and we need to take responsibility for that. We have been culpably negligent in preparing ourselves spiritually. We need to do some serious soul-searching and prepare ourselves morally and spiritually for any crisis. We need to evolve some basic common tenets that we can agree on even as we come to terms with our differences. A nation is a group of diverse individuals who are governed by a constitution that enshrines certain values and goals for that nation. I cannot think of any constitution that goes against fundamental human rights and moral values. Absolutely everyone on the globe was negatively affected by the evil consequences of the horrific events of that day in September 2001 that etched in our minds. It shows how overreaction, lack of due spiritual reflection and awareness, and poor leadership can make the difference between a culture of hope and a culture of despair and doom. We get the spiritual or political leadership that we deserve. Leaders do not lead as they are led by opinion polls and surveys of public views. We need to prepare politicians for one term so they can do a good job for the common good.

            In the present scenario, a politician may not be re-elected or survive unless he/she gives what one’s constituency wants. It is not unusual for politicians to raise funds for their re-election soon after they are elected. A pastor of a church may not get the approval or promotion if he does not raise certain amount of money for buildings or other projects. We are at a juncture now where principles in politics are not valued, and where time-honored values in spirit life do not matter. In a way we are reaping what we have sowed over the years neglecting our spirit. When we are not fair and just in dealing with one person in the world, our behavior is going to have a bad ripple effect on the entire world. More specifically, we need to admit that we failed to deal with the large community of Palestinians – no less brothers and sisters than the neighboring Jews of Israel - fairly and justly. When I visited the land holy to the Jews, Christians, and Muslims in 1981, and spent about three weeks walking meditatively in and around places where Christ spent important years of his life, I came across Palestinians living in tents from 1948 onwards as sardines packed in a can. A people that has no hope has no life. The deep despair on the faces of Palestinian children marring their innocent, spontaneous laughter very vividly told me the pathetic story of their plight. Their tears cry up to God for justice. For us to get out of this clean, we need to confess and make just amends.

 

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