Category Archives: Global Events

Haiku: Where Is Our Humanity?

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Mahatma Gandhi

Haiku: Where Is Our Humanity? - Collage of Refugees worldwide

Haiku: Where Is Our Humanity? – Collage of Refugees worldwide

We sit, stare, at horror shows…
Lives maimed, wasted, at war zones
Children blown apart…

A day of bloodshed
Planes falling from “friendly” skies.
Human carnage, grows…

A night of anguish
Mothers hold dying loved ones.
Mourning engulfs us …

Faces of conflict
Refugees from everywhere
Exits blur entries…

We watch, in silence
Where is our humanity?
Mothers, babies, killed…

Leo Tolstoy said, “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.”Are we doing a good job serving humanity? Like many of you, I feel equally challenged by the horrific events happening around the world. War, epidemics, hunger, loss of life, poverty, refugee populations growing every day.  I don’t want to lose faith in humanity, but how do we ever justify the death of innocent people? How do we ever explain the “rationale” for shooting down commercial airlines? How do we explain the endless conflicts and wars to our children?

Each day I see a news report of another life lost, another child hurt, another futile battle fought, another senseless act of wickedness inflicted on humanity, I feel the pain of loved ones and cry along with them. We can choose to pretend it’s happening elsewhere, but it’s happening everywhere and our silence won’t make the atrocities go away. Where is our humanity? When did our beautiful earth turn so ugly?
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Reflections: World Humanitarian Day

“The moral authority of the United Nations depends on its ability to help people most in need and it must do so with the highest ethical standards and professionalism.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Council of Foreign Relations, New York, May 2006

Reflections: World Humanitarian Day, August 19th

Reflections: World Humanitarian Day, August 19th – Honor Each Other


World Humanitarian Day 2014 Message

Today is World Humanitarian Day and it is particularly poignant because another brave soul, James Wright Foley, a photojournalist who dedicated his life to bringing photos and news to the rest of us from war torn zones, was brutally executed today. My condolences go out to his loved ones… RIP James. Where is our humanity? What must we do to find common ground and respect for each other on this planet?  Are you familiar with this important day? Do you know what it is all about? I’ll shed some light and, hopefully, you will join me and many other Messengers Of Humanity to remind us all to give compassion, care and consideration a chance in our interactions with each other; it is imperative for the survival of our planet.

“Since I am still strong enough to produce and work harder to support others, I think I have to use my energy for that until I get old.” Jack Kahorha (Aid Worker)

Reflections: World Humanitarian Day, August 19th - Help Each Other

Reflections: World Humanitarian Day, August 19th – Help Each Other


World Humanitarian Day 2014 trailer: Voices from the Field

What Is World Humanitarian Day? “It’s a day to commemorate all people who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the world.” WorldHumanitarianDay.org

World Humanitarian Day came about because of another inhumane attack that occurred on 19 August, 2003. On that terrible day, 22 aid workers were killed in a bomb attack at the UN headquarters in Baghdad. So many families lost loved ones that day and, sadly, many more aid workers have perished in conflict ridden countries across the globe. We honor them all for bravely serving others under perilous conditions. Today, and on every August 19th, we pause …” to commemorate all people who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the world.”

This year, several aid workers/humanitarian heroes are being honored for their tireless service. In addition to our journalists, servicemen/women, aid workers and a long list of others, I will add healthcare workers and Doctors Without Borders. Why? Because they often go against the natural human inclination to flee life threatening diseases and conditions to serve others in need. Who would you add to this list?  What does being a humanitarian mean to you?

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RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon…

“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” Robin Williams

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon "O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done..."

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon “O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done…”

Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) passed away at his home in Marin County, California, leaving behind three children and wife, Susan Schneider. Initially, when I heard the news, I thought it was yet another bombastic, social media hoax. I couldn’t fathom how Robin Williams, one of the busiest comedians who was full of joie de vivre, could possibly end his life. Why would he do it? To all appearances, he lived a charmed life… How could he do it? He was loved by family, friends, fans and strangers. Oh no, not him. What could make him do it? Depression – that insidious mental health condition that leaves us with intense feelings of pain and sadness. It wasn’t a hoax and I am heartbroken. Robin, like many others who’ve gone down that path, could no longer hold on…

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon "O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done..."

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon “O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done…”

My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends who, like many of us; celebrities and ordinary folk, are reeling in shock over his sudden demise. Robin was a beloved stand-up comedian, actor, father, friend, film producer, and screenwriter. He was one of the funniest, most eloquent, and zaniest comedians of his generation; he always made me think and laugh. He was a consummate performer and a fearless man who wasn’t afraid to speak openly about his personal struggles with substance abuse … and depression. Robin had a huge heart, a generous spirit and a quick wit. I so wish he could have held on. RIP Robin Williams. Thank you for sharing your gift of humor with so many!

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.” President Obama

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon - A collage of some of his popular films

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon – A collage of some of his popular films

Even though Robin Williams won his Oscar for Good Will Hunting, my favorite roles were Mork & Mindy, Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. He was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and received one Academy Award for his  Best Supporting Actor role in Good Will Hunting. His other awards were two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards. He kept a busy acting schedule and had a number of projects completed and in the works when he died. His suicide brings back very painful memories for many of us and raises the question: What are we going to do as a community to battle this particular mental health condition? *If you, or someone you know, is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)*  You can also get Help via NSPL.  As a teacher, Dead Poets Society held a special place in my heart and I share the below in his honor and memory.

O Captain! my Captain! By Walt Whitman
O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
The arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

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