Friday, 1 July 2016

BRIDGE-BUILDING BETWEEN PEOPLE & NATIONS AFTER BREXIT & THE ELECTION OF A NEW USA PRESIDENT


Brexit has  triumphed by playing on the negative and often Xenophobic  fears of Britons who perceived a threat to their quality of life from incoming refugees and immigrants, particularly from Eastern Europe, "taking away"  their jobs, overcrowding their  local schools and clogging up their national health services. And in the USA, Donald Trump has played on the emotional and negative fears of many Americans by singling out Muslims and Islam at large as a potential terrorist threat to America. How sad it is that the world is becoming steadily more polarised ! The end of Britain's membership of the European Union and the possibility of a more "isolationist" and exclusive USA under the  leadership of Donald Trump as a future US president do not promote “sharing  together for the common good” of all nations - rich and poor. 
This is where bridge-building between people of different nations, cultures, religions and ethnicity in the interests of better understanding, finding the inherent  "common good" in all of us, and striving for an improved quality of life for all  is so vital for  the future peace and harmony in our world. Worldwide poverty and the growing gap between "haves" and "have-nots" and the destruction of our environment can only be properly addressed if communities and nations stand united. At national level we need to build-bridges between nations, not diminish them or break them down. Bridge-building is not about sacrificing one's values and one’s identity but rather sharing for the common good. At local level we need to build bridges between families and communities and between members of different ethnic, language, cultural and religious groups. Bridge-building between these groups can only have positive outcomes. It is especially relevant in today’s world of pervasive racism and religious intolerance. Interfaith dialogue and co-operation between Christians, Jews and Muslims is not about diluting one's particular faith or belief  but about focussing on what unites us, instead of what divides us! Those who fear that doing this may  “dilute” their faith or belief cannot, per se, have a very strong faith.

It takes courage and boldness to move beyond any of  one’s comfort zones but this is what is needed if we are to join hands at local, national and international level and unite to solve the problems pervading the world we live in today. Unity is strength.