David M. Grossman – USA
In February 1982, precisely forty years ago, I accompanied a film crew to Honduras. We flew into the capital, Tegucigalpa, and then drove for hours out into the emptiness to a village called La Vertud near the Salvadorian border to a refugee camp run by the United Nations to house refugees fleeing the civil war in El Salvador. The village was so poor that folks came to the refugee camp for food.
Most of the displaced Salvadorians were hard working small farmers and their families fleeing across the border in fear for their lives from the Salvadorian army as well as what were generally termed the gorillas, a coalition of groups attempting to overthrow the oppressive government regime which the US was propping up.
Without getting into the politics of the whole affair, it makes me step back and reflect how little the world has changed in the last 40 years or the last 400, come to think of it, along with how much has changed.
With the overwhelming sweep of events around the planet at present it is all too easy to feel powerless as individuals to help the situation in meaningful ways caused by so much antipathy between people and countries. Still that does not give us a pass to not do what we can.
A few statements by Wm Q. Judge and J. Krishnamurti might be helpful here:
"When one stops to think, to weigh, and to consider what is one’s duty, or which of many duties should be performed first, it is indeed perplexing and difficult to know what to do. But if you will do just what lies before you without thinking about all the other things, and without troubling your mind about all the things you can’t do, then it will all be different and everything will grow brighter for you. Do what you have to do now, and don’t trouble about other things, they will be looked after in due time; but what will help you in all these matters is to be content, to do what you can, and to let the rest go; act with a high motive; have kindly feelings towards all; do some little act of kindness every day and try to realize that the end of all this will be happiness and peace for all humanity. Then, a foretaste of that peace will enter your own heart. There is a bright side to life, and what makes the brightness is the love which each of us may have for humanity.”
William Q. Judge, Letters That Have Helped Me, p.177
"As you live your life each day with an uplifted purpose and unselfish desire, each day and every event will bear for you a deep significance - an occult meaning - and as you learn their import, so do you fit yourself for a higher work.”
William Q. Judge, The Path, February 1887.
“To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right. It is important to understand that this is our responsibility, yours and mine...”
J. Krishnamurti, Book of Life
“The world is not something separate from you and me; the world, society, is the relationship that we establish or seek to establish between each other. So you and I are the problem, and not the world, because the world is the projection of ourselves, and to understand the world we must understand ourselves. That world is not separate from us; we are the world, and our problems are the world's problems.”
J. Krishnamurti, Book Of Life
The following photos of some of our fellow humans in difficult times that I encountered for a few brief moments forty years ago has led to this train of thought (DMG)
Arriving at the camp, stepping down from a truck
Two young girls forty years ago, looking down at the camp. Where are they now?
Photos © David M. Grossman