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Light in the Darkness

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on August 27, 2021 13:50

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When bad news of the Kabul airport, Haiti earthquakes, political corruption and the pandemic threaten to overwhelm, it is hard to maintain a balance. Here in the southern hemisphere, it is early spring, and elsewhere, too, humanity blossoms.

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Sunset after a tropical cyclone. Author's photo

In the Namaqualand, spring has come. There are no great news coverage, no breathless television analyses. The flowers are prolific this year and the desert glows with a riot of colors. This beauty is there, not for quick consumption or for serving some commercial or political need. It just is. Perhaps those evanescent flowers bloomed just for you and will be wilted and gone tomorrow. There is no charge for its beauty, no strings attached to the wonder. It is there. 

Profusion of beauty. Author's photo

South African politics recently experienced a conflagration of violence, the result of divisive politics and ethnic mobilization. The result was an overwhelming collective movement across all political, ethnic and communal borders. People came together to protect, help and rebuild. Emblematic of this was the iconic Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman who told how his organization received funding to help dispossessed people. He comments on how hard-hit businesses turned away assistance, pointing out others more in need of help. 

Sooliman is no stranger to helping across cultural and religious barriers. His organization, Gift of the Givers, has been at the forefront of crises from Bosnia to Pakistan, from Haiti to Indonesia. His message to young people is that, consistently, people relate to people despite religious and other differences. 

An old song on YouTube tempted me recently. Terry Jacks sang “Seasons in the Sun” in my student days, but the recent comments are striking. Strangers shared their deepest sentiments, sadness and losses with total strangers. The outpouring of humanity and of caring is overwhelming. I quote two: My brother died unexpectedly recently. We listened to this when momma died. Now I listen alone and miss my brother😭😭😭😭 152 people replied. Another: If you’re watching this in 2021, I love you and you’re not alone. 13 replied.

A friend recently completed building a sailing boat in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He calls it the boat the internet built. His success is not so much the fact of having built what will be a research vessel at the disposal of students and researchers, but the community he built around it. An illustration: A twelve-year-old once asked on a YouTube post about help with an unrelated computer problem. Instead of flames and unfeeling comments as are usual on social media, numerous people replied with helpful advice and encouragement. As I write this, my friend is looking for assistance to get the boat launched. 

 

Hardships bring people together. After the Black Death in Europe, communities that overcame differences and divisions flourished. Our present crises of political decay, disease and distrust will be overcome by humanity, kindness and mutual support. 

 

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on August 27, 2021 13:50

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Source: BBC

Justin Welby asks for acts of love, charity and international aid to be continued after Covid.

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