US and Syria, French presidential elections, United AirLines: anything I can do?

How do you cope with the news? Do you also experience waves of anxiety, and fear for the world we are creating for our children?

I have spent the last days arguing about the American policy, desperating about the French presidential candidates and hysterically retweeting about how United Airlines forcibly dragged a 69-year-old man from its overbooked plane.

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What a great sense of opportunism!

Violence calls for violence, I think it is in our human nature. It drives me crazy to hear that there is nothing we can do.

For over a decade, I have been hands on: a proud International Red Cross delegate, deployed in war affected countries, where I knew my little presence would contribute to alleviate the fate of victims of violence.

I felt part of a like-minded team. We were there to assist, our mandate was clear and the ICRC structure made us feel supported and safe. Endless hours in a Land Cruiser on muddy Liberian trails, sleeping in places even Google earth has never heard about, looking for any trace of mines signs in Sudan .. It is all forgotten the moment you finally find the recipient of this Red Cross Message that has traveled from Australia all the way to this tiny tukul in South Sudan. It is more than a paper, it’s a family life line. It tells the story of a son who fled the war and walked for months to eventually find a safe haven in a refugee camp in a totally foreign country. It took him years to get his “refugee status” and start anew in Australia; a decade to finally trace his family back home.

17909119_120300003106939902_355330012_nIn our days of growing extremism, it breaks my heart to think about the fate of those people. When I was a “tracing delegate”, I read endless Red cross Messages. All the stories had one thing in common: the incredible resilience of the refugees and their families. Whenever I talked to some of them, I never heard complains. Only “thanks to God, we made it“. Their faith, their stamina, their incredible strength taught me humility. Back then I felt useful. But now?

The French presidential elections are an endless source of anxiety. How come in a country of 64 million people we couldn’t find a single inspiring candidate? Again, I will vote by default, not for a candidate I trust, but for the “least worse“. I never ever voted for a candidate with my heart, but only to block the extrem right party. Now it seems that the communist party and the extrem right have high chances to pass the first round. Extrem left and extrem right?!!!! What do people hope out those choices? what are we so scared of that we’d let extremist lead us ?

I could dwell on the negative  but I won’t because it would totally depress me.

Instead I believe that more than ever, we need to re-focuse:

Instead of naively waiting for leaders, let’s do things alone, person to person. I won’t go to Syria to help, but I can do something for the Syrian refugees, by seizing any chance to promote understanding and empathy. It all starts with us, at our little level. We don’t need to be a soldier, a politician or an aid worker.

We have other weapons. Moral and technological ones. I bet the CEO of United Airlines misses the goo’ ol’ times where there were only landline phones! The videos captured on mobile phones went viral, and check on  #BoycottUnitedAirlines to see how people are reacting to it ! There is always something we can do.

Expose the wrong doing, boycott, support even with a tweet if it is all you can do for now. And let’s beat anxiety by talking more about our blessings than our problems.

Have you tried it yet?


5 thoughts on “US and Syria, French presidential elections, United AirLines: anything I can do?

  1. Just shared a post on air passenger rights on Facebook. Everyone should know. What happened to that poor guy was just disgraceful. And the CEO was like, “This is an upsetting event TO ALL OF US HERE AT UNITED.” Such a revealing statement — he’s thinking about how upset *they* are. Not the fact that they could have just so easily upped their incentive till someone volunteered.

    1. Exactly ! His statement didn’t even express a bit of empathy nor regret . So shameless ! And as you said they could easily have upped their incentive or pick up randomly .. someone in first class ! At least the video went viral and United Airlines PR has lots to work on …

  2. Yes, we do need to re-focus. I think this is why I’m so draw to teaching, particularly primary school teaching because so much happens in terms of learning and development in the primary school years. An amazing teacher can change a life, and an amazing teacher can help a student or a group of students re-focus on what’s important, what’s good, and what’s right. I believe kindness and empathy in daily life are the seeds for a better world. If everyone was just a little big kinder, the world would be a better place.

    Last year at this time I was just as concerned about the upcoming U.S. election as you are now about the French election. Now, with the current progression of U.S. politics, I see no bigger incentive to start small, spread kindness and empathy, and work for a better world. The fact that I work for a company that is building itself on crossing cultural barriers through teaching is also a bit of an in your face to my president. 🙂

    1. I totally agree that the youngest children are exposed to respect, empathy and self knowledge is the best. It is where it all starts .. “planting the seeds” as we say 🙂 Keep it up, I know you are great at it!

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