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The Spiritual dimension of Peace

14 November 2005
Dear Fellow bloggers
Well, suddenly we find ourselves at the end of this wonderful experiment and I like many of you  am going to miss looking to see what  new wisdom was  posted  each day. I am most grateful to Rosemary and all the team at Open Democracy for all the work that goes on behind scenes…it all looks so smooth…but takes a tremendous co-ordination and work to get it all together, so thanks.
I don’t even know if this blog will find a home as I have, unusually for me, not posted all week as I have been away preparing for the Dalai Lama’s upcoming visit to Belfast.
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The theme of his visit is ‘The Spiritual Dimension of Peace' and  it occurred to me that we have discussed virtually every angle of  peacebuilding in the course of our blogging but  not touched on this side of ourselves.

 Have we been avoiding the subject I wonder because it is closely linked to religion, so often the cause of conflict, or is it just that it is difficult to describe so easily neglected in the bigger scheme of things?


 Yet when I think of the great peacemakers like the Dalai Lama, Ghandi, Wangari Matthai  and the many unknown but no less heroic  peacebuilders that I have been privileged to meet, they all share a common quality.- They have all, irrespective of their religious tradition, tapped into a deep well of power that enables makes them be fearless warriors for peace. This seems to come from a centeredness that, rather than turn inward and be self -centred, has managed to transcend the self to a point where the ‘other’ has ceased to be and there is no longer a sense of separation from fellow human beings. Masculine, feminine, pink, black , Jew, Christian, Muslim … it doesn’t  matter,  for what   is done for self is automatically done for others.

 

The spiritual dimension is also important in peacebuilding because it is such a unifying force. By ‘spiritual dimension’ I think of that common aspect of the human person from which the universal instincts like compassion, forgiveness justice and mercy flow.
Finally it is important it seems as a source of nourishment in the personal lives of leaders sustaining them when otherwise it would be easy to fall victim to stress, discouragement and despair. Perhaps we don’t talk about it because it feels so personal, yet strangely it is such a universal force that I do hope we will in time become more comfortable in balancing  both action and contemplation.

Meanwhile may I wish you all continued courage and fearlessness in your endeavours to make this a better, more peaceful world. I do hope we can continue our sharing in some shape or form and again a very big thank you to all at Open Democracy for giving us this space. 

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

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The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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