Friends from Conflict Zones Showing the World a Better Way.
Photo shows myself and my colleagues from Iran, Iraq, Kashmir, Libya and Yemen enjoying each other’s happy companionship at our workplace café. Though their homelands and their families are suffering from conflict-be it in the form of occupation, bombings, oppression, civil war, invasion, ethnic discrimination, religious discrimination, economic sanctions…, nevertheless here in Ireland these lovely individuals are united in friendship. This is as it should be.
It makes me feel hopeful that our species will ultimately become ‘civilised’, and that humanity will be bonded together by peace, equality and respect. Since time immemorial, too often we have allowed individuals to take control by using diversity in culture, religion, ethnicity, skin colour and gender to sow hostility and mutual distrust rather than as a strength and something that we should celebrate.
I am also proud that our university and our country (in spite of its many social and economic problems that need radical solutions) promotes tolerance and diversity. This is the view expressed by many of my present and former asylum seeker friends towards this country and city over the years. It is still at many levels an ‘Ireland of the Welcomes’, due I feel primarily to two reasons. Firstly we were until recently a nation of small farming villages portraying the friendliness of rural folk everywhere towards strangers. Secondly, as an occupied, oppressed and colonised country for 800+ years, many of us instinctively feel empathy towards other peoples that are victims of conflict.
But we have got to remember too that we are all neighbours living today in one global village and more than ever before we need to stand together against a common foe in a truly 'just' war, namely to save the planet from the ravages of human-induced Climate Chaos that we increasingly see every day. From the Arctic in the north to Australia in the south, the world is on fire.