According to historical wisdom, the ancient Druids would sometimes stand between opposing armies to try to broker peace. They were clearly a brave lot and I don’t recommend this action for current conflicts (i.e. don’t try that at home…), however there is a growing need to stand up for peace, stand alongside people of all faiths and none (especially our Muslim cousins who are suffering the most) and speak out against the escalating violence of our time.
The conflict that have spread across the Middle East are not driven by religion, indeed very few conflicts are. Most conflicts are driven by poverty, politics, greed or ecological destruction, but many are blamed on religion, which some studies have shown has only been a drive in 7% of conflicts.
If you think that last week’s Paris attacks were about Islam attacking the West then think again. Just consider how many Muslims have died at the hands of ISIS, in the first 8 months of 2014 almost 10,000 according to the UN. Sadly, our western media down plays the deaths, the bombings in Beirut and Baghdah just prior to the Paris attacks hardly got mentioned in the news. And if you think it was the refugees that conducted the attack then I suggest you start reading a better class of newspaper as it is the gutter press that behind the idea that a bunch of people running away from violence could instigate more violence.
Yesterday, a young man on the Tube defended a Muslim woman against racist abuse. While he was rightly held up as a hero by the Metro, this type of hate crime is likely to be fired by the gutter press and fascist groups. We must stand strong alongside people of other faiths.
There can be only one solution to the refugee crisis and the violence, a political solution. So how can we as Druids or other Green Warrior Mages make a difference?
- Write to your local Imam to express interfaith solidarity for the pressures they are facing
- Write to the local press to spell out the need for peace rather than escalation of conflict
- Sort our own lives out to reduce our impact on the world: stop flying, shopping and driving. Leadership through living
- Talk about peace with everyone and write to your MP to let them know that there should be no escalation of violence
- Welcome refugees and work with them to ensure they have some sanctuary
- Challenge people who think that religion caused the conflict
- Arrange a rite or perhaps a multi-faith vigil
Writing this weekend, John Beckett ends his piece with a great quote: “The world is hard and it’s getting harder. We cannot allow it to make us hard people. That will serve neither ourselves nor our values. Instead, may we grow stronger and wiser, and may we care for ourselves, each other, and the world around us.”