During the autumn and winter of 2015 to 2016 I worked as a volunteer on the Greek island of Lesvos, in the midst of the refugee crisis. The TV pictures showed only the most dramatic and tragic events. I experienced several of those too, but my most vivid memories from Lesvos are the positive ones.
This article is a reminder of the fact that most humans are basically good. I do believe there is hope for us.
Some of my best memories from Lesvos:
A strong contrast to the bleak TV pictures: newly arrived refugees playing volleyball on the beach, setting up a makeshift net, killing time while waiting for transport to the other side of the island. [Read more…]
What should your country ideally look like in 10, 30 or 50 years time?
Following the news or listening to conversations , it is very seldom you come across anything about how people vision the future of their country. And that is the case in any of the countries I have visited or lived in. People may have some visions related to specific issues, such as a fossil free society, or less poverty. However very few, if any, say anything about what an equal and just society would actually look like. Painting vivid pictures, that makes others think : “I want to go there!”
We Need Visions
Visions give people hope and purpose, and can give rise to mass movements. Therein lied the greatness of leaders such as Gandhi and Mandela. They articulated dreams of a better and brighter future. Dreams that so many shared; and subsequently became an irresistible force the old regimes could not resist. [Read more…]
The issue of woman’s emancipation is actually about man’s emancipation.
In this video, Jan Eliasson ( the previous Deputy-Secretary General of the United Nations), talks about how Olof Palme, a former Swedish prime minister, explained this to him:
In a nearly fifty year old paper ,“The Emancipation of Man”, Olof Palme, elaborates the matter and highlights the disadvantages of men’s traditional roles. In many parts of the world this paper is still highly topical. In other countries, Palme’s ideas would be regarded as ridiculous. I, as a woman, could even be arrested for posting this blog. [Read more…]
You might think the headline sounds unfair. It is not the people of South Sudan or Afghanistan’s fault that their countries are in such a mess, with millions of people suffering and thousands being killed. They do not deserve that. You are of course right. However, if you look at it from a society level, and not an individual level there is a cause and effect. Hence, the word “country” in the headline, instead of “we”.
However, there are two aspects of human behaviour that has an immediate effect on the kind of leaders a country end up with.
Narcissists create tremendous damage, frustration and suffering. They are everything but mature. And they believe they are so grandiose that they are entitled to hurt and damage other people. Narcissists are not always easy to detect, but it is important that you do, to know what you stand up against.
What has worked for me is to show that I do not agree with them.
I am not a psychologist, and I will not dwell on the differences between a narcissist and a psychopath. When you hear the words “narcissist or “psychopath” you probably think on a “it-is-all-about-me” person. And that is what I mean about a narcissist in this article. A person who probably has what is called a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The most ridiculous example I have experienced was a Head of a department, where I once worked, who summoned all his staff to an urgent meeting, telling them, while he was sobbing, that his wife had left him, and what a terrible time he was going through. And this was a government agency, not a local corner shop. No wonder the wife left him. [Read more…]
Harriet Tubman is the face of the 20 US dollar banknote.
Harriet was born a slave, adamant in her claims for better conditions for her fellow slaves. She was continuously beaten by her owners. The beating included a head injury that gave her headache for the rest of her life. Her back looked like a battlefield.
She escaped to the north and started helping other slaves to escape to Canada. During the American civil war, she headed an army expedition and after the war she was involved in the female suffrage movement. One can hardly find a better example of a person possessing high integrity.
There is a dearth of integrity in the world. Corruption, poverty, conflicts and environmental degradation are mostly results of decisions made by people with little integrity. The same regards bad work environments causing stress and ill-health. People with authority, too often, do not act as the leaders and role models they are supposed to be. We cannot wait for “they” to change. We have to do it ourselves. [Read more…]
You have good friends at work, and though some tasks are tedious, you usually look forward to coming there.
Your colleagues support you; and you do your best to support them.
Most often you solve problems together, and your team leader clearly shows that she appreciate you and your efforts.
She sees you as a person, encourages you to develop and she focuses on common results.
Unfortunately, you belong to the lucky ones. According to a survey some years ago, merely 13% of workers world-wide are engaged in their jobs. In East Asia the figure was down to 6 %.
For aid workers, the main problem is not lack of engagement, but lack of support. According to a survey done by the Guardian, 79% of the respondent aid workers had experienced mental health issues. 66 % stated a lack of support from their employers as the main factor behind their ill-health. [Read more…]
In a previous post I wrote about the connection between disasters and corruption.
In this post I will focus on solutions.
The detrimental effects of corruption on development (and hence disaster risk) are established. The same regards what constitutes a good, efficient and low-corrupt society. “Accountability”, “transparency” and “rule-of-law” are usually part of that package.
The tricky thing is how to get there. How can the transition take place? From a society permeated by corruption to a, if not perfect, much more well-functioning one? [Read more…]