15th December, 2016 - Posted by Gavin - Comments Off on Hope

This week on our blog, Suzanne talks about hope and how important it is for us now, more than ever:
Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul-

And sings the tune without the words-

And never stops- at all-

Emily Dickinson

Beyond ideas of right and wrong there is a field,

I will meet you there.


So how do we maintain our hope in these difficult times?

I think solidarity and creativity feeds the bird that sings in our souls.

After the American election many responses were written and heard.

The one I appreciated most was from the  previous director of the Take One Action

Film Festival. He encouraged us to ‘dig deeper’ and reminded us of the Rumi quote above.

Digging deeper means to me keeping faith that love and resistance will prevail.

And to dig deeper into my own capacity to be caring,and effective in bringing about change.

Two days after the election the Shakti Drama Group performed ‘Dancing in Freedom’

at the Museum of Edinburgh. It was the opening night of an exhibition celebrating 30 years of Shakti and 40 years of Scottish Women’s Aid.There were feminist footsteps stencilled on the Museum floor.The atmosphere was of resilience,perseverance,exuberance and love.

We performed again at the Shakti AGM. This time we were filmed,and the video was taken to New York by one of the Shakti Drama Group and will be shown at a Conference on Gender.

I have recently been at 4 events which fed the bird of hope.

The first was a talk by a young woman activist who works for Peace Direct in Pakistan.

She had lived experience of being drawn towards extremism as a solution and had then turned her own life around. She now mentors and develops mentors for other young women and men in her community. She told us of the remarkable success of the grassroots organisation she set up in improving countless young people’s lives.

The second event was a launch of ‘16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.‘ The event was called Fearless Women. it was organised by Actionaid and was in The Scottish Parliament. Two of the Speakers were from Nairobi, Kenya. They both spoke vividly about their work with grassroots women’s organisations to make their communities safer for women and girls. The room was full of images of powerful women from all over the world working in N.G.Os and imaginative creative organisations that contribute to the safety and empowerment of women and girls.

There was cross party support for the event and there had been a debate on gender violence that afternoon in the Parliament. Ten years ago that event would have been in a church hall.
One fact that stood out for me was the statement that ‘the number of countries with domestic violence legislation has increased from 7 to 127 countries in the past 25 years,’with collective action led by Women’s Rights Organisations being pivotal in securing such change.

The third event was a Conference I went to yesterday on Islamaphobia.
Pinar spoke on the Panel about the increase in institutional racism in the UK, especially through the media. One of the speakers spoke of the long haul, of her lifelong commitment to opposing racism in all its forms.
What was hopeful was the energy of all the people gathered in that room.
There was a sense of naming the worst of the oppression,sharing that,and then the determination to overcome and transform that by speaking out and acting in solidarity.
Of never giving up.

The final event I want to share was a retreat I went to on Chaos and Stillness,
facilitated by Margaret Sylph. She spoke about the Chaos Theory in Quantum Physics. That all systems fall into chaos and disequilibrium and that within systems there is a phenomenon called strange attractors. These cause the systems to eventually return to equilibrium. The fractal theory I think it is called.

I feel thankful for being part of a great global movement for change.
That is what keeps the  bird of hope in my soul singing.

Posted on: December 15, 2016

Filed under: News

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