Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
The Goodfight, a band from Atlanta, GA, announced that they would give away % of the revenue generated by their new record “Good & Evil” towards providing people with access to clean water through the work of “charity: water“. Charity:water is involved in building wells and training nationals to maintain those wells on continents, in some of the most desperate places on earth. Find out how they are fixing the problem at charitywater.
I have no horse in this race, but these doctors from the US inspire me greatly:
This request letter was sent to President Obama’s office on 8.21.09
Dear Mr. President:
This September, as the healthcare debate rages in Congress, our core group of six doctors from Oregon will be embarking on an historic road trip across America. We will be conducting town halls in twenty-six cities as we make our way to Washington, D.C. Our mission is to educate our fellow citizens as to why a single payer health care system is the only means to lasting, substantive health care reform for this country.
All told, our group has 191 years of combined, real-world medical experience, much of it spent working in a system that serves neither patients nor their doctors. As physicians who have sworn an oath to behave in accord with the highest possible ethical, medical standards, we have all reached the same conclusion: it is our professional obligation to speak out against a for-profit system of health care that is fatally compromising the health and well being of our patients, their families and our nation.
We will be in Washington D.C. on the morning of Oct. 1 and it would be a distinct honor if you would meet with our modest delegation to discuss the future of health care as well as the moral, social and fiscal imperative of a enacting a single-payer system for America at this moment in our history.
Dr. Paul Hochfeld Emergency Room Physician -Corvallis, OR
Dr. Eugene Uphoff FamilyPhysician-Portland, Oregon
Dr. Samuel Metz Anesthesiologist-Portland,Oregon
Dr. Michael Huntington RadiationOncologist-Corvallis,Oregon
Dr. Joseph Eusterman Internal Medicine-Portland, Oregon – Retired
Dr. Robert Seward InternalMedicine-Portland, Oregon
Created and operated by fellow artists, and making a difference in the lives of critically ill children, is Beads of Courage:
June 2, 2010: You can vote for “Beads of Courage” to receive $25,00 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project by going here. A breakdown of how the funds would be used is included on this page.
The blogs written by MSF/Doctors Without Borders volunteers are heartwrenching and inspiring! One could get lost for days in reading the accounts of these dedicated individuals; their backgrounds range from psychiatry to engineering to nursing but one thing that they all seem to have in common is a love and respect for the people that they are caring for. These blogs are not only inspiring, they are incredibly educational.
Can we each be a hero or a saint, even in some small way, however briefly, however “small scale”? I believe that we can. No matter what scale they occur at, our efforts are important.
“The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.”
~ Felix Adler
I am currently reading James Orbinski’s “An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century” and am having trouble putting it down. Orbinski is one of the founders of the Canadian branch of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders/MSF); in he served as Chef de Mission for MSF in Kigali, Rwanda during the horrific civil war and genocide. As president of MSF, the doctor and humanitarian accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on their behalf in ; his remarkable Nobel Lecture is available here.
One can do a search at iTunes for “James Orbinski” and listen to Dr. Orbinski “In Conversation with Alan Gregg” about “An Imperfect Offering” — there is a choice of audio or video.
CBC’s “Sunday” interviewed Dr. Orbinski about his new book; watch it here. (sorry, CBC has removed this wonderful interview, and the “Sunday” site)
This link will take you to a radio interview with James Orbinski on CBC’s “Sounds Like Canada”. (apologies: sadly , it seems that CBC has removed the “Sounds Like Canada” web page and its interviews, as well as the podcasts available at iTunes).
CBC’s documentary, “Evil Revisited”, was awarded the 2005 Canadian Radio Television News Directors Association Award. Dr. Orbinski returns to Rwanda with CBC journalist Sasa Petricic in this incredibly moving piece. (note: CBC has also removed this excellent documentary about one of Canada’s most remarkable citizens; thank you to the kind commenter — Mr. Petricic? — who provided the Vimeo link for “Evil Revisited”!)
George Stroumboulopoulos interviewed Dr. Orbinski on CBC’s “The Hour”; watch it here. (believe it or not, CBC has removed this as well!)
Dr Orbinski is one of the founders of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, a not-for-profit pharmaceutical research and development entity focused on the diseases of the South. He recently co-founded Dignitas, an organization focused on community based treatment, care and prevention of HIV in the developing world.
“An Imperfect Offering”, and this man speak to me on a very deep level. Each of us is responsible for each other, and each of us needs to act. As Vikram Seth so eloquently puts it in his book, “Two Lives: a Memoir”:
“May we see that we could have been born as each other.”
Update: CTV’s “W” aired “To Hell and Back: helping the world’s most desperate/Charity’s Not Enough”, on Saturday, April , 2010. This interview with Dr. Orbinski, as well as a written article is available at the W web site. Dr. Orbinski talks about his experiences, and drives home the idea that charity must only be a starting point — that it is not a substitute for public policy in making necessary change in our world.
Update: October 2010, CTV’s Canada AM has a feature clip/interview with Dr. Orbinski in its “Transformational Canadians” series, produced in conjunction with the Globe and Mail and La Presse.
The documentary film “The Imam & the Pastor” from FLT Films is well worth watching. A trailer of the film, as well as information is available here.
Here’s part of an excellent review from the web site Initiatives of Change:
“At a time when many in the world are wondering whether friendly relations are possible between those of Muslim and Christian background, the Nigerian protagonists of this film emphatically assert that they are.
In recent years, Nigeria has been rocked by ethnic and religious conflicts, with tens of thousands killed and whole communities devastated.
In the 1990s, Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa led opposing, armed militias, dedicated to defending their respective communities as violence broke out in Kaduna, northern Nigeria. In pitched battles, Pastor James lost his hand and Imam Ashafa’s spiritual mentor and two close relatives were killed.
Now the two men are co-directors of the Muslim-Christian Interfaith Mediation Centre in their city, leading task-forces to resolve conflicts across Nigeria.
The Imam and the Pastor tells how they made this remarkable transition. It is both a moving story of forgiveness and a case-study of a successful grass-roots initiative to rebuild communities torn apart by conflict.”
Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas was inspired to put Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” speech to his music and produce this inspiring video. You also can view the video here, and also read his thoughts about being inspired to create it.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.
Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.
Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and
pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.
Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the
ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King
who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality.
Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.
Yes we can heal this nation.
Yes we can repair this world.
Yes we can.
We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant ……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a
reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this
nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.
Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon
are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA;
we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we
are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we
are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in
the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast;
from sea to shining sea —
Yes. We. Can.
From “THE CURE AT TROY”
by Seamus Heaney
Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.
The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker’s father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.
History says, Don’t Hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.
Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky
That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term…
[excerpted from Seamus Heaney, The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’s Philocetes(Noonday Press, 1991)]
A politically active Congolese band made up of disabled musicians…read about them here. To watch the video, click the image below twice (you’ll be taken to the Youtube site to watch it). You’ll know why I find them inspiring when you watch and listen to them, and read about their story…
(the video has been removed from Youtube…sorry!)
I like that they can hear a song, enjoy it, yet at the same time think about important social activists — regular people — and be gently reminded to think about what they can do to make the world better.
The video ends with one of our favourite quotations:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead
On her web site “Give a Day”, Canadian physician Jane Philpott answers a common question:
Q: Isn’t the situation of AIDS in Africa rather hopeless? What difference can we really hope to make?
Dr. Philpott’s Answer: There is a West African proverb which says: “The river may be wide, but it can be crossed.” There have been many situations in history when one might be tempted to despair that things would ever change. But in recent years we have witnessed the end of apartheid government in South Africa; the collapse of the Berlin wall; and peace accords in other long-standing conflicts. Yes, the crisis of AIDS in Africa is an exceptional one. Thus the response all over the world must also be exceptional. You can be a part of this worldwide response. Make a difference in your world. Give a day!
Tired of waiting for others to change the world, these students did something about it:
Students should visit the Dollars for Darfur web site to learn more about how they can get involved.
There are so many ways that each of us can help make the lives of others better, or happier. The “Pay it Forward Challenge” asks each of us to raise our awareness of others, and do something to spread kindness. Many people have come up with creative ideas in response…there are too many to list here, so just click on the link to watch and read about them! At this URL, you’ll find ideas on how you can make a difference to the lives of others. (sorry, the links have been removed by the site)
~ Buddhist wisdom ~
When someone is wronged,
he must put aside
all resentment and say,
“My mind shall not be disturbed;
no angry word shall escape my lips;
I will remain kind and friendly,
with loving thoughts
and no secret spite”
Quigley and Retik
Patricia Quigley and Susan Retik are two American mothers who were widowed on 9/11. The two women have founded an organization “Beyond the 11th” to help widows and their families in Afghanistan.
“The situation for widows in Afghanistan is desperate. While the collapse of the Taliban has resulted in general improvement in the lives of women and girls, these new opportunities are still out of reach to the Afghan widows who lost their only means of support. Illiterate and unskilled, they struggle to provide the most basic of needs – shelter, food, and clothing – for their families. International relief organizations estimate that in Kabul alone, there are 30,000 – 50,000 widows, struggling to support an average of five children on less than $16 per month. In other parts of the country, the situation is even worse.”
Learn about the documentary made about these women, and listen to them speak about why they are doing this, here: Beyond the 11th: a Principle Pictures documentary
Daniel Paul’s book and extensive website are a gift to society, and should be required reading for all North Americans and Europeans. The book “We Were Not the Savages” is “a history of the near demise, caused by the European invasion of the Americas, of ancient democratic North American First Nations; with special focus on the Mi’kmaq, from a Mi’kmaq perspective.”
Please have a read!
I find it difficult to watch this without feeling inspired:
From wherethehellismatt.com: “At the end of 2005, Matt left on a 6 month trip through 39 countries on all 7 continents. In that time, he danced a great deal. Matt dances very badly, but most people don’t seem to mind. Matt is not rich. Matt also doesn’t have some magical secret for traveling cheaply. He does it pretty much the same way everybody else does.”
It seems that Matt Harding is still dancing, this time, with lots of company: Where the Hell is Matt 2008
Dr. Chandrasekhar Sankurathri, otherwise known as “Dr. Chandra”, lost his wife and two children in the tragic bombing of Air India Flight 182 from Canada to London in 1985. After three years of working through unbearable grief while employed as a government scientist in Ottawa, Dr. Chandra decided that he needed to “do something useful.”
Inspired by his late wife’s concern for the poor in her native India, Dr. Chandra opened the Sarada School — named for his daughter — in wife’s home state of Andhra Pradesh.
After school is over for the day, the school bus is busily picking up blind and nearly-blind patients awaiting free cataract surgery at the Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology, named for Dr. Chandra’s son. India has about a quarter of the world’s blind! Staff of the hospital is local, and receives a small salary and room and board. Five opthamologists are paid $1,500 per month; each surgeon performs approximately 150 surgeries per day.
From the Nobel Prize site: Interview with Elie Wiesel, December 10, 2004. Interviewer is Professor Georg Klein.
“Elie Wiesel talks about his perspectives on the world after World War II, recollections of his time in concentration camp (5:33), the indifference of the world (12:35), antisemitism (16.34), the importance of education (22:06) and that the tragedy of the Holocaust could have been avoided (24:23).”
On the right hand side of this linked page, be sure to look for Mr. Wiesel’s Nobel Lecture, his biography, and links to other information regarding this remarkable man under “Other Resources”.