Our world today faces the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Islamic State ideology with fear.
As the British Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed concern for all Democracies under such threat which is of course ‘hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality’, we cannot overlook the fact that anywhere in the world where such hostility is felt, it’s time to make a change happen.
Like Berton Braley in his poem ‘Start Where You Stand’ tells us to not ‘mind the past’ since ‘the past won’t help you in beginning new’ but move on, it’s time the world too does away with hatred and truly begins to believe in the dictum of ‘live and let live’. Even in a parent relationship this needs to be made note of. A parent is responsible to guide the child till s/he reaches an appropriate age of independence of thoughts and responsibilities. Then on needs to learn to let go of the bird and sit back and admire its flight. Differences of choices in matters of religion, worship, lifestyle and partners have to be allowed liberally if love is to be maintained with peace.
Extremist’s views of religion have done enough harm to mankind in their autocracy. Liberalism is not only a duty for tomorrow but also for today and as Abraham Lincoln said, ‘You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today’ we need to stop the ‘backward look’ and begin another ‘chapter in the book’ of our lives.
Each man’s independent success to preserve democracy will be the ultimate success of humanity. Yes of course there is ‘much of work and strain and stress’ since the old ‘woes’ have only brought death, mourning and despair. Like Braley puts it, ‘The future is for him who does and dares’.
Man was not born to hate but to love and yet surprisingly he today does not flinch from destroying love. A lot has already been destroyed, a lot is being destroyed today and if we do not take a stand to start where we are today the destruction will not cease till it nullifies all rays of loving hope.
The crucial moment is when in the face of hostile extremism man needs to hold on firmly to faith in love and its quality to bring about change.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Braley however clings to expressions of hope, “What has been, has been; yesterday is dead/ And by it you are neither blessed nor banned;/ Take courage, man be brave and drive ahead,/ Start were you stand.”
The storm of extremism has roiled the still lake of peace. The poet puts emphasis on perseverance just as the British P.M. labels the same perseverance as ‘the struggle of our generation’.