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Since the inception of Share International magazine, Benjamin Creme’s Master has provided articles to be published not only at the time they were written, but also whenever appropriate according to world circumstances.
by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme, September 2005
However much they may try, politicians and other leaders find it more and more difficult to control events and to keep their ‘ship of state’ on an even keel. They find that, despite their expertise, it careers helplessly on its own as if under the guidance of some unseen hand. That unseen hand, of course, is the logic of change. They fail to understand that the rules and methods by which they work belong to the past and have little relevance to the problems and needs of today. They meet and discuss these problems, but invariably retreat from actions that alone would solve them. Meanwhile, in varying degrees, the people suffer, and wait for reason and insight to alleviate their distress. They know in their hearts that deliverance is possible and should be theirs, but lack, as yet, the structures and power to make it so.
Not for ever will the people wait. Already, the signs of dissent and impatience are appearing across the world, urging the leaders to engage with their needs and afflictions. The leaders, men without vision, look to promises and palliatives to halt the mounting demands for fairness and justice. They do so in vain. The peoples of the world have caught the vision of freedom, of justice, and peace, and will not let it go. They, rather than their leaders, will outline the future and shape it to their needs. Thus will it be. This new force in the world – the voice of the people – is rapidly gaining strength and cohesion and will play a major role in world affairs from now.
Maitreya awaits His opportunity to augment the power and influence of the people’s voice and to steer its course. Many are the strands which form it and disparate their aim. Wise must be the guidance, therefore, lest it lose its way and dissipate its strength.
Single and simple, therefore, must be the demands of the people. Many and varied are their problems but universal are their needs: peace through justice and freedom are the needs of all men. Sharing, Maitreya will advise, is the key to the creation of trust without which naught is possible. Share and make blessed trust, He will tell the world, and know the blessings of justice and peace. No other way, He will solemnly remind the nations, will bring them the peace for which in their hearts they yearn. Thus will it be, and thus will the people call for sharing and therefore peace. A new and potent world opinion will demonstrate its power and render obsolete the manoeuvres and stratagems of the men of power today. Then will Maitreya declare Himself to all the peoples, and dedicate Himself to their service throughout this coming time.
[This article from Share International magazine, June 2016 , is by a senior member of the Hierarchy of Masters of Wisdom. His name, well-known in esoteric circles, is not yet being revealed. Benjamin Creme, a principal spokesman about the emergence of Maitreya, is in constant telepathic contact with this Master who dictated his article to him.]
Q. Because of global warming, ice sheets at the poles are changing and according to NASA scientists there is a shift in the planet’s movement. A researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said there has been a “dramatic shift” since 2000 and while not seen as dangerous, this shift is “due to climate change, without a doubt”. Is it accurate to say that the melting ice is changing the way the earth rotates?
Q. Does the Spiritual Hierarchy of Masters still expect a further collapse of the global economic and financial systems?
Q. It seems as if a lot of corruption, in all walks of life, is coming to the surface recently. Is there a reason why so much corruption is being exposed now? Is it to do with the new energies?
A. Yes, it is the cleansing process of the new energies.
Q. In recent years we’ve seen the rise of various examples of people power – the Occupy Movement, Podemos in Spain, Indignados in Spain and now Nuit Debout in France, which also appears to be spreading to neighbouring countries.
Some of these popular movements seem to fizzle out after a while – why, when at the time they peak they seem so robust and determined? What needs to happen to sustain them?
A. The ability to work and work and work, and to keep going.
Q. Vincent Callebaut, a Belgian architect, has found ways to build cities in the sea and in the water. (1) In the future, will the cities be built on land, and others, in the sea? (2) If possible, could this be a solution to the climate refugees issue?
A. (1). Yes. (2) Yes, one of the alternatives.
Q. In the July/August 2013 issue of Share International, someone asked a question about a dove landing on the stage of Fidel Castro in 1959.
On 25 March 2016, in Portland, Oregon, US, Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was speaking to an audience of 11,000 when a finch landed on his podium to the amazement of the crowd. I was wondering if this bird was also directed by the Masters?
Q. Do you (1) believe we are at the extreme end of the Hindu Kali Yuga (Iron Age). (2) Do you agree we are about to start a new Golden Age? (3) How can that happen when most on this planet are making choices based upon fear rather than love?
A. (1) Yes. (2) Yes. (3) All that will change.
Q. Is the tunic of Jesus that was exhibited in Argenteuil, France, in April 2016, authentic?
Q. When I visited the Basilica of St Denis at Argenteuil, it was undeniable that there was a perceived energy – was it the energy of Jesus? Was Jesus there physically, or was the energy emanating from the garment?
A. His energies were emanating from the garment.
Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the Master Jesus, have appeared at Benjamin Creme’s lectures. They also appear, in different guises, to large numbers of people around the world. Sometimes they use a ‘familiar’, a thoughtform, who seems totally real, and through whom the Master’s thoughts can be expressed: They can appear as a man, a woman, a child, at will. Occasionally They use the ‘blueprint’ of a real person, but in most cases the ‘familiar’ is an entirely new creation. More recently the Masters also work through their spokesmen and women and representatives. Accounts of such experiences are regularly received by Share International magazine and, if authenticated by Benjamin Creme’s Master, are published.
These experiences are given to inspire, to guide or teach, often to heal and uplift. Very often, too, they draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way, some fixed intolerance to, for example, smoking or drinking. Many times the Masters act as saving ‘angels’ in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. The following letters are examples of this means of communication by the Masters.
On 25 April 2016, just when we were about to close the Information Centre (in Amsterdam), two middle-aged gentlemen came in. We asked if we could help them. One of them said with a smile, “Well, maybe we can help you!” They asked about “The gathering of the Forces of Light”– which they had read about on a flyer somewhere – and its meaning in practical terms.
They had an air of calm and loving authority about them. They asked about what “the gathering of the Forces of Light” meant, how to make it practical and the meaning of the work of this group. One of them also referred to the word “darkness” on the flyer and the difficult times for many people, and his companion asked how the work of this group is helping. We talked for about 30 minutes and they kept nodding as if knowing and agreeing with Maitreya’s priorities and how to solve today’s world problems.
We spoke about unity as a soul quality in relation to the separateness and strong individuality of humanity. One of the men said there’s also resistance to change and I added, “out of ignorance (addressing which is part of our work) and people are afraid to lose their individuality and freedom”. The analogy of the Masters came up and I said, “The Masters still have individuality”, at which one man smiled and said: “Oh, now you’ve really got my attention.” One of them mentioned the analogy of the drop becoming part of the ocean, to which I replied “But (for some) that can also evoke fear of losing identity,” to which he replied, “Oh, that would be fine by me,” which made us laugh. He said: “There is also another analogy of the green bird flying in the green tree. It looks as if it became one with the tree, but it is still a bird.” As if illustrating that (a fear of) losing identity certainly doesn’t have to mean a loss of consciousness.
They also wanted to know about Transmission Meditation and, after giving them the background information, they asked if we could do a short meditation, after which they thanked me heartily and left.
(1) Were these men, who – as on previous occasions – came in just when we were about to leave, “special”? (2) Is there a message in the fact that recently many spokespeople have come to the Centre just after closing time or after the starting time for a lecture or workshop? Could it be that it is a hint that now, in these extraordinary times, more is required of us – that we need to work just that bit more, put more energy and effort into it than ever before?
Information Centre co-workers, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms: (1) They were spokespeople for the Master Jesus. (2) Yes!)
Two letters from the same person:
(1) Roughly more than 20 years ago, I lived for some years in a very difficult situation in Nice and afterwards in Mougins, south of France. I finally left this region and returned to my father’s home to recuperate. I was scarcely out of the train in Perigueux when an old woman approached me in the street. Spontaneously, she suggested I should visit a naturopathic doctor for healing. I was persuaded she was an exceptional being. Was she a Master?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘old woman’ was a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)
(2) More than 20 years ago, I was invited by a girlfriend to spend Christmas holiday with her family, in Objat, France. While we walked in the street, we passed in front of a carousel for children. A man was standing, watching people pass by.
I had hardly time to look at him when I suddenly felt a strange sensation. I deduced that I had met a completely exceptional person. He said a few words, perhaps “good night”, which I didn’t understand as I was so distracted by the situation. My friends noticed nothing. Was he a Master?
P.B., Toulouse, France.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was a disciple of one of the Masters.)
On 25 March 2016 a dear friend came to see me. She and her husband are being sorely tried in life this last year. I talk with her about help, show her Blessings in previous Share International magazines and said, “There is always help, only we do not always recognize the help, because it is not always as we would like it.” During this conversation her smartphone rings (with a normal ringtone) and she has a short exchange and turns her smartphone to silent.
We resume our conversation about ‘help’ and … a few minutes later all of a sudden “divine music” starts coming out of her smartphone, without her having touched it. Confused, she tries to find out what is happening by touching all kinds of buttons. We do not understand it at all, are quiet and impressed also by the kind of music that started with a tambura (an Indian stringed instrument) with a tone that is continued for a long time and takes you at once in another world (a world without problems) where only divinity rules. Then singing voices started as a kind of “invocation”, clearly spiritual or religious music, wonderfully beautiful, as if it came from a temple.
When, after about a minute, the music stopped we resumed our conversation. After a few minutes the music started again, again with the tambura, followed by the singing. We were absolutely perplexed – so beautiful and tranquil-making was this gift; we immediately accepted it as a miracle.
Would you please help us to explain this?
M.o.t. N., Bilthoven, the Netherlands.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the music was a gift from an important individual who works for the Master Jesus.)
In March 2016 my girlfriend and I were on the way to pick up her daughter from school, when we saw a homeless man on one of the intersections we were going through. Usually there aren’t homeless people at this particular intersection. We searched our pockets for some cash; realizing we didn’t have any, she says, why not give him one of our grapefruits. I gave him a grapefruit and his face simply lit up. The man proceeded to walk away to where he had been standing but then turned around, walked back towards us and said, “Thank you so much, this is better than money,” with the biggest grin on his face. I was so moved by his gesture, and the thought that there are so many people out there who are simply hungry, that I began to cry uncontrollably for about 5 minutes. A few minutes down the road both of us asked each other if we had just had an encounter with a Master because of the energy of the experience and the location of the homeless man.
S.G. and Y.P., Raleigh, NC, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the homeless man was a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)
On 9 February 2016 I was at the Veterans Health Care Hospital in Dallas waiting to see my doctor for a routine check-up.
A black gentleman came over and sat in the empty chair next to me. He was nicely dressed and friendly. As he sat down he initiated a conversation with me and introduced himself as John. He said that he was a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and had been clean for two years. I congratulated him for his strength and courage to become sober.
He told me that his wife had died about the time he became sober and a week and a half later his mother passed away. I told him that he demonstrated incredible resolve and will power to remain sober at such a difficult time in his life, especially losing his wife and mother almost at the same time. I was trying to be encouraging to him.
John turned to me and said: “Yes, you have to learn to let go and let God take care of you. You can’t do it all yourself, you have to let God handle things.” What he told me next shocked me: “You may not be able to change a tire now because you are older, but that’s alright, that’s when you need to trust God, to let God take care of things for you.”
This shocked me because two days earlier I had a flat tire on my truck and didn’t feel like fixing it, so I called a tire service and had them change it. I felt sad that at the age of 73, I no longer had the energy and strength to perform a simple task like change a flat tire. It seems that life is winding down for me and I have been thinking a lot about my life and if I have done anything to benefit humanity.
I begin to think that “John” was someone special because to me, it is beyond coincidental for him to have used changing a flat tire as an analogy, especially since I had told him nothing about myself.
He said he had to go and as he and I rose to say goodbye I told him that I really enjoyed speaking with him. He said likewise and walked away. I watched him for a few seconds, looked at the door where my doctor would come for me and when I looked back for John he was nowhere in sight.
Since my visit with John I have been much happier and I feel as if I have stepped off the whirlwind treadmill that we can become immersed in if we are not careful. I quit worrying about business and when a challenging task is before me I remind myself to let God guide me and take care of me. It has been a much welcomed relief, and happiness is again in my heart.
Can you please ask the Master if John was someone special?
B.A., Rowlett, Texas, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that ‘John’ was a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)
Droplets of fragrant oil have been trickling down an icon of St John the Baptist at a Greek Orthodox Church near Chicago, USA, since July 2015. Parishioners at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Homer Glen, Illinois, where the miracle is taking place, believe the oil has healing properties and is a blessing from God. “It’s breathtaking,” said Reverend Sotirios Dimitriou, the parish priest. “It’s so powerful to see such an act of God before your eyes.”
“The oil, which parishioners believe to be myrrh, exudes from the icon’s halo, wings, hands and beard,” according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. “Collected every week by a reservoir of cotton at the base of the icon, Dimitriou regularly extracts the oil into a pitcher, then saturates cotton balls, which he seals in plastic bags for parishioners to take home and share with their loved ones. So far, he has handed out more than 5,000 samples.”
Dimitriou, who suffers from nerve damage, said his health has improved since he found the miraculous oil on the icon. Others have also reported healing from the oil. One man said he went to the doctor about a blockage in his artery, but the blockage had disappeared. Another parishioner reported being cancer-free after touching the oil.
“When people see this, it’s just a reminder that God is still alive and still working through us and it’s a reminder that there’s still hope in the world for us,” Reverend Dimitriou said. (Source: chicagotribune.com)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the miracle is being manifested by the Master Jesus.)
A Samoan woman who received bleeding wounds on Good Friday, 25 March 2016, has sparked controversy in the Pacific island. The stigmata occurred when Toaipuapuaga Opapo, 23, was enacting Jesus’ crucifixion in a play put on by her local church, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS). Film of the play shows blood running down her arms, and later emerging from her side. She also has wounds on her palms and feet, and marks on her forehead which appear to mimic the imprint of a crown of thorns.
In a television interview with TV1 Samoa, Mrs Opapo said: “I’m just another human being… but my body has been used as a reminder because God knows that the faith of his servants are [sic] dying.” She said for the past three years she has had a “sickness” causing her to have visions.
Miracles of the stigmata are largely a Catholic phenomenon, the most famous recipients being St Francis of Assisi and St Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), although Ms Opapo is Protestant. Catholics believe it to be a manifestation of a deep empathy with Christ’s suffering, but some Samoans are accusing her of faking the wounds. Meanwhile the CCCS are investigating the claim.
Samoa is largely a Catholic country, and Samoa’s Catholic Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailelel Malielagaoi, has called it a miracle. “We should be happy about these events… if it happens to someone, it means they are holy,” he said to the Samoa Observer. (Source: BBC News)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the miracle was manifested by the Master Jesus.)
US Senator Bernie Sanders presenting his paper ‘The Urgency of a Moral Economy’ at the 25th Anniversary of Centesimus Annus, at the Vatican, Rome, on 15 April 2016. (The bright light pouring into the room is confirmed by Benjamin Creme’s Master to be a blessing given by the Master Jesus.) (Source: Michael Shank Twitter)
US economist Jeffrey Sachs and Senator Bernie Sanders at the 25th Anniversary of Centesimus Annus, at the Vatican, Rome, on 15 April 2016. (The light columns are confirmed by Benjamin Creme’s Master to be a blessing given by the Master Jesus.) (Source: Michael Shank Twitter)
Taken by J.G., in Lérida, Spain, on 3 May 2014, this photograph shows the wedding ceremony of his daughter. (Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the light beams are blessings from the Master Jesus.)
Sent by J.V., Tortosa, Tarragona, Spain, this photograph of her 96-year-old aunt M.D., and grandson was taken in September 2014. (Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the light surrounding them is a blessing from the Master Jesus.)
This photograph taken on Saturday 16 April 2016 shows the baptism of Camilo, son of V.G.G., in Cordoba, Argentina. Sent by L.F., Malaga, Spain. (The bright light seen after development of the film is, according to Benjamin Creme’s Master, a light blessing from the Master Jesus.)
This photograph of F.N., with his son J.I., was taken in the Samadhi Garden, in San Juan, Argentina, on 15 September 2014. (Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the column of light is a blessing from the Master Jesus.)
Sakurajima volcano, on the island of Kyushu in Japan, erupted on 5 February 2016. This photograph shows three UFOs (top right hand corner) in the nearby sky. (Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that they were spacecraft from Mars.) (Source: theaustralian.com.au/news)
On 27 April 2016, E.S., from Auckland, New Zealand, took some photographs of the sky from her garden after a group meditation. She reports: “Suddenly on the photograph this beautiful coloured object appeared.” (Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the object was a spacecraft from Jupiter.)
Compilation - an extract
We present a selection of quotations on the theme of ‘The human family’. The quotations are taken from Maitreya (Messages from Maitreya the Christ and Maitreya’s Teachings – The Laws of Life), Benjamin Creme’s Master (A Master Speaks and Share International), and Benjamin Creme’s writings.
Regard Us as brothers, eager to help. Look on Us as guides to the future, for We know well the way. With Our Brotherhood behind you, you cannot fail. Our inspiration will be yours, and from that source of strength will flow the knowledge and the power with which to fulfil your dreams. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘We are not discouraged’)
Allow Me to share with you My Oneness with the Father, to reveal His nature to you, and to lead you to His feet. My way, the simple Way of Love, will lead you into His arms. My friends, there is much, much to know of the nature of God. All but a tiny fragment so far remains hidden to you. With My help you will come to know the glory of the Being in which you dwell, and of which you are a reflection. (Maitreya, from Message No.139)
[The Christ] comes because He loves humanity. That is the basic reason for His Return – because it is the Will of God, and because He loves humanity. He is responding to the cry for help from humanity, which rose to Him during and after the war and is still rising, and He has answered that call. But He comes as a very simple man, who, because He is Who He is, can see through all our little difficulties, and loves us nevertheless. (Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom)
Many are the times, throughout his long history, when man has lost his way, but never, until now, has he strayed so far from his destined path. Never, before, has he been in such need of succour, and never, until now, has that help been so readily available. For long ages, the Law has restricted the measure of aid which might be given; man’s free will is sacrosanct and may not be infringed. Today, for the first time in countless centuries, more aid can be freely given than ever before. Today, at his moment of greatest need and despair, the bountiful hands of his Elder Brothers can open, and provide the succour he longs for. All that is required is the request from man himself. All that is needed is the readiness to accept the advice and wisdom of the Brotherhood, and to change direction. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The Teachers and the taught’)
As soon as humanity sets up a cry for help – for more light, more information, more technology, more awareness, in a word, of its own nature and purpose – then that is given. The cry is heard by Hierarchy, and the word rings out: “Open the gates” – the floodgates of light, knowledge, inspiration, guidance. All of that pours out from the Masters in answer to the cry. That is what happened in 1875 with the publication of The Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled (H.P.Blavatsky). That is what happened before the war through the Agni Yoga and Alice Bailey teachings: presenting new light and knowledge for the exploring minds of those ready to absorb and respond – and to do something about it to serve the Plan. (Benjamin Creme, The Great Approach)
Men, all men, are potential Gods and needs must create the conditions in which they all can flourish. We will help you to do this, gladly, when you take the first small step in that direction. That first step is not difficult nor fraught with risk. You have nothing to lose and your divinity to gain: that first step is called Sharing. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘Help is needed – and offered’. SI September 2006)
My Plans unfold. My heart embraces all who know Me, who come to Me for help. Thus shall it always be. My brothers and sisters, My help is yours to command: you have only to ask. Take My hand, My friends, and let Me take you with Me into your glory. (Maitreya, from Message No.49)
If men accept Me they shall come into the truth of their Godhead, and in the shining raiment of that Truth shall stand revealed as God. That Promise I do solemnly make. Help Me, My friends, to do this work for you. Reveal, now, the Spirit of God which already shines within you, and together in Truth let us remake this world. (Maitreya, from Message No.54)
Maitreya is in the world, but once He emerges openly, every action that we take in the right direction – that is towards oneness, justice, freedom for all people – will invoke His help and energy. He will potentize our actions and the changes will proceed with enormous speed and order. (Benjamin Creme, The Awakening of Humanity)
Whenever mankind is afraid it turns to God or the Angels for help and assurance. Thus it is today, in the midst of man’s deepening crisis. On all sides, the cry for help arises and, in answer to that cry, the Agents of God respond. We, the Architects of the New Time, know that deep in the hearts of all men lies a firm belief in higher help and guidance, and it is Our joy and Our age-old duty to provide them….
Soon, in large numbers, men will see Us, know Us for what We are. We are your Brothers, gone ahead before you; your willing Guides and Helpers; your Higher Intermediaries; your Mentors and Teachers; your Muses and Inspirers; your faithful Servants and eternal Lovers. We answer your call for succour and enter your domain. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The Masters enter man’s domain’)
Allow Me to help you. Allow Me to show you the way – forward, into a simpler life where no man lacks; where no two days are alike; where the joy of Brotherhood manifests through all men. (Maitreya, from Message No.3)
To rebuild the fabric of your lives, new materials and new skills will be necessary. Replace the outworn forms with the new energies now available, and learn to create in relationships forged in joy and love. Temper your lives in the fire of service and contribute your share to the work of change.
With Us as guides, all is possible. All will be remade in beauty and truth. Willing hands will be there to help you and naught can delay the New Beginning. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘A time of change’)
Since each man is a potential God, it behoves each man to manifest his divinity. Our task will be to help you to do this, and by the quickest route. Our experience is long and tested, Our wisdom sure. Our hard-won knowledge will serve you well. This being so, there is naught to fear as you stand on the threshold of the new time. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The moment of truth’)
When you see Me, you will see a Friend, a Helper, not a God. Know this, My brothers, and work with Me as equals. Let fear not cloud the bond between us, but let us together, as friends and brothers, serve the Plan. (Maitreya, from Message No.88)
That Plan involves the coming into the world of Maitreya and the Hierarchy of Masters and Their inspiration, through humanity, of a new civilization. If you keep this as the measure of where you are, who you are and what you do, you cannot go very far wrong. Then you work in the direction of the Plan itself. Invoke the aid of Maitreya – invoke His inspiration and guidance in your work. He says: “My help is yours to command. You have only to ask.” (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission Volume Two)
Be assured that Our help will be forthcoming, that Our advice will be yours for the asking. We know the true needs of the race but men themselves must choose with free will and glad acceptance.
If men choose rightly, for a just partition of resources, Our hands are freed to help them even more. Our experience and knowledge will be freely given, Our wisdom and love put at the service of all. We await with confidence the appeal of men. Then will We enter openly into your lives as trusted Brothers and Friends. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘A new realism’)
Each man is a lighthouse and sheds abroad his light for his brother. Make bright your lamp and let it shine forth and show the way. All are needed, every one. No one is too small or young to take part in this Great Plan for the rescue and the rehabilitation of our world. Resolve to do this and be assured that My help will not be withheld. (Maitreya, from Message No.13)
The year 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and many institutions are putting him centre stage. The British Library is hosting a major exhibition and has put online the only surviving manuscript in Shakespeare’s handwriting – a scene that echoes today’s arguments about refugees.
The fragment is from revisions to Anthony Munday’s Elizabethan play The Book of Sir Thomas More. Shakespeare contributed a speech covering the events of the May Day riots of 1517, which revolved around the question of whether refugees should be allowed into the country. Immigrants from Lombardy in Northern Italy are being threatened by Londoners who accuse them of taking jobs and money from the locals, and want them to be deported. The same arguments were being put forward at the time the play was written, with respect to Huguenot refugees.
The play was never completed or produced in Shakespeare’s lifetime in case it incited unrest at a time of religious tensions that had created an unprecedented refugee crisis in Europe. In a series of speeches written by Shakespeare, Thomas More makes the case for the humane treatment of those forced to seek asylum. In an impassioned and persuasive speech to quell the upheaval, Sir Thomas pretends to agree with the anxieties of the rioters who are demanding the expulsion of the refugees. Shakespeare’s words make an eloquent appeal which surely chimes in our contemporary ears.
“Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silent by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you: you had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another….
… say now the king …
Should so much come too short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whither would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbour? Go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, any where that not adheres to England, –
Why, you must needs be strangers: would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the elements
Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? This is the strangers’ case;
And this your mountainish inhumanity.”
(Source: bl.uk; playshakespeare.com; theshakespeareblog.com)
The Vatican Pontifical Academy of Social Science organized a symposium on the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s landmark 1991 social encyclical letter Centesimus annus. The symposium, on 15 and 16 April 2016, focused on two major questions: economic, political and cultural changes over the past 25 years, and how Catholic social teaching has engaged the world so far and how it could do so in future.
Centesimus annus was itself an anniversary marker, celebrating the centenary of Rerum novarum, Pope Leo XIII’s seminal 1891 encyclical on social matters in the modern world. Centesimus annus was written at a moment of massive change and upheaval in politics and when an unprecedented increase in wealth and living standards across the globe were threatened by exploitative interests. Its purpose was to present a vision of morally ordered liberty at the service of humanity.
Among the 35 economists, academics, church leaders and politicians invited to the conference were US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, economist and director of the Earth Institute.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs delivered the first paper, “Changes in the World Economy Since 1991”, noting the prescience of the encyclical and its warnings which went unheeded. The basic challenge is that “self-interest must give way to the Common Good”. He described the effect of unfettered greed when it works in tandem with power and becomes the driving force behind the market economy. Corruption and crime go unpunished; the powerful are not held accountable, but such is the culture of impunity that they are able to maintain their positions.
Professor Sachs said that in the last 25 years, US economic policy in both parties has been to favour multinationals, trade agreements and profit above all other considerations with disastrous consequences: greater extremes of inequality, environmental degradation, corruption, more financial instability than ever. Scandals uncovering corporate greed and corruption have shown that major banks act as if they are above the law. He was also unequivocal in his criticism of 25 years of American delay on climate issues.
In conclusion, Professor Sachs outlined a mission: “Our most urgent practical tasks are: first, to forge a new global consensus on sustainable and human development that includes China, India, Africa and other centres of world civilization. Second: the most central issue, I believe, is to end impunity – to be able to speak honestly about the powerful, about the rich (it’s frightening to do so, by the way) – but it’s vital that we do so.” He concluded with a call to heed Pope Francis’ vision of developing a common goal – one world with a common plan. “The Sustainable Development Goals are as close as we can come to calling for a moral order...they call for combining economic development with social inclusion and environmental sustainability.”
Rafael Correa: “The key question is who has the main voice in a society: elites or the majority? The market or society? The great challenge of the century is to achieve the supremacy of human beings over capital.
“The world order is not only unfair, it is immoral. Everything favours the most powerful, and double standards are rife: for example, goods produced by poor countries should be free, while those produced by foreign powers, and knowledge, science and technology, should be privately owned and be paid for.”
“The market is a great servant, but a terrible master.... Overcoming inequality, and therefore poverty, is the greatest moral imperative, because for the first time in history, particularly in Latin America, poverty is not the result of lack of resources or natural factors but the consequence of unfair and exclusionary systems. The fundamental moral question, then, is the social question.”
Evo Morales: “We are tired of the double morality of the Empire. They talk about democracy but it is the markets that rule. In countries with capitalist systems, the bankers and businessmen are the ones who finance the political candidates, no matter who wins. The elected government does not rule, the corporations do.”
“The economy in Bolivia has undergone a reform for building justice and equality.”
Bernie Sanders: “The widening gap between the rich and poor, the desperation of the marginalized, the power of corporations over politics, is not a phenomenon of the United States alone. The excesses of the unregulated global economy have caused even more damage in the developing countries … [which] suffer not only from the boom-bust cycles on Wall Street, but from a world economy that puts profits over pollution, oil companies over climate safety, and arms trade over peace. And as an increasing share of new wealth and income goes to a small fraction of those at the top, fixing this gross inequality has become a central challenge. It is an issue that we must confront in my nation and across the world.
“Pope Francis has given the most powerful name to the predicament of modern society: the Globalization of Indifference....
“Our youth are no longer satisfied with corrupt and broken politics and an economy of stark inequality and injustice. They are not satisfied with the destruction of our environment by a fossil fuel industry whose greed has put short term profits ahead of climate change and the future of our planet. They want to live in harmony with nature, not destroy it. They are calling out for a return to fairness; for an economy that defends the common good by ensuring that every person, rich or poor, has access to quality health care, nutrition and education....
“Our challenge is mostly a moral one, to redirect our efforts and vision to the common good.” (Source: ourfuture.org; pass.va; catholicnews.com; radiovaticana.va)
Across Europe anti-TTIP sentiment is growing and having an effect. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Europe in April 2016 to oppose what could be the world’s biggest free trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and European Union. Resistance to TTIP is fierce in Germany, with tens of thousands joining demonstrations across the country. Organizers said 90,000 people attended the rally in the northern city of Hanover and continued for two days. Demonstrations in other European cities also drew protesters, including 2,000 in Brussels, 1,000 in Madrid and Helsinki, and about 300 in Warsaw and Prague.
The EU-US trade deal would not just slash the already low trade tariffs between the two parties but, critics say, would undermine safety and environmental regulations to serve corporate interests in groupings which are in fact supra-national. The most contentious part of the deal includes a clause, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause, which allows corporations to sue governments in tribunals that are above national law. Marchers held up posters reading ‘People have a right to food not profits’ and ‘Beware the TTIP trap – companies win, people lose!’
The demonstrators have also been voicing their anger over the secrecy surrounding the ongoing TTIP negotiations.... Campaigners in Europe say that powerful interests are selling the consumer short in the secret negotiations....
A major concern is that the TTIP deal would also deregulate legislation on environmental issues. The Environmental group Greenpeace has leaked 250 pages of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) documents. “Details from the closed-doors negotiations that reached the public sounded like a nightmare – now we know that this could very soon become the reality,” said Juergen Knirsch, a trade expert at Greenpeace. TTIP could cancel existing consumer protection measures and wouldn’t even consider commitments from the Paris climate deal, Greenpeace said. European agriculture in particular would suffer....
The well-known journalist Owen Jones, writing in The Guardian newspaper (UK) in an article titled ‘Protest never changes anything? Look at how TTIP has been derailed’ makes the case for public protest: “People power has taken on big business over this transatlantic stitch-up and looks like winning. We should all be inspired.” Jones asserts “that notorious proposed trade agreement that hands even more sweeping powers to corporate titans – lies wounded”, brought low by widespread ongoing popular protest. TTIP suffered further as hundreds of leaked documents from the negotiations revealed, in some ways, that the reality is worse than first feared – and now the French government has been forced to suggest it may block the agreement. The documents show that the US is actively trying to dilute EU regulations on consumer and environmental protections. In future, for the EU to be even able to pass a regulation, it could be forced to involve both US authorities and US corporations, and so limiting national sovereignty.
It took people power. Members of the European parliament have been subjected to passionate lobbying by angry citizens. Without this popular pressure, TTIP would have received little scrutiny and would surely have passed – with disastrous consequences. (Source: euractiv.com; democracynow.org; BBC; The Guardian, UK)
In April 2016 around 50,000 people from across the UK arrived in central London to protest against austerity cuts. Demonstrators displayed banners bearing slogans such as “Cut War Not Welfare” and chanting “No ifs, no buts, no public sector cuts” – to voice outrage against cuts imposed on public services by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservative government.
The march had been organized by activist group The People’s Assembly to make ‘Four Demands’ – on Health, Homes, Jobs and Education. These are: an end to government spending cuts and the alleged privatization of the NHS; rent controls and the protection of social housing; introducing a universal living wage and the scrapping of the Trade Union Bill; an end to student tuition fees and “the marketization of education”.
Diane Abbott MP, Labour shadow secretary for international development, described the protest against austerity as “probably the biggest demonstration ever”. Addressing people at the start of the march she said: “Fighting austerity is the political struggle of our time. It is austerity that is forcing people out of work and into zero hours contracts. It is austerity that threatens the future of our young people. There could not be a more important demonstration or a more important movement than this one.”
The march ended in a rally at Trafalgar Square where Len McCluskey, general secretary of the private, voluntary and public sector union, Unite, said: “The establishment shames our democracy. It is up to all of us to work together and send a clear message – that we will fight, fight, fight for a better tomorrow.” Green party leader, Natalie Bennett, told the crowd: “We have a vision of a different kind of society. A society that works for the common good.” (Source: The Guardian; The Independent; The Evening Standard, UK).
In this section, we review developments and opinions which demonstrate that there is an increasingly powerful undercurrent sweeping the world in the direction of synthesis, sharing and co-operation, of new relationships and new approaches.
More people identify as “global citizens” than citizens of the country they live in, according to a recent international poll. Of the 20,000 people from 18 countries interviewed by the opinion research firm GlobeScan, more than half were inclined to see themselves as citizens of the world – the first time in 15 years of tracking that a majority identified that way.
The trend was particularly noticeable in developing countries such as China, India and Nigeria. Among wealthier, industrialized countries, people tended more toward national identification, and were more likely to see the negative aspects of globalization. The survey reflected encouraging trends toward acceptance of intermarriage between ethnic groups, approval of immigration and a sense of “world citizenship” reflected in taking responsibility for global problems.
The poll paints an overall picture that “is quite positive about the direction the world is taking… towards a more interconnected society,” said Lionel Bellier, associate director of GlobeScan. (Source: Common Dreams; The Christian Science Monitor)
A joint initiative between Bangladesh’s leading news agency BDNews24 and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund) Bangladesh has created Prism – a national platform for vulnerable and marginalized children. Prism allows children to air their views and become part of the broadcast media to reach policy makers in order to promote issues affecting children’s lives. Over 100 young journalists will be trained in Prism’s first phase of the initiative that will allow them to cultivate their own views of their rights and the world around them.
Prism enables children to look through their own lenses, literally, to champion their rights and to ensure child participation in the broadcast media. The aim is that this project will be self-sustainable in time and run as a professional video news service like APTN or Reuters.
Launched on 10 April 2016, Prism has been piloted in seven districts of Bangladesh, with 15 volunteer reporters in each district. The $50,000 (£34,000) one-year project, funded by UNICEF, aspires to produce a video clip every day.
In Bangladesh, where about 40 per cent of the population is under 18, the initiative seeks to create a space for young people to raise their concerns, share their aspirations and – by suggesting solutions – contribute to decisions that affect their lives, said Edouard Beigbeder, the UNICEF representative in Bangladesh.
The young journalists are reporting on a range of issues including environment, culture, tourism and development. A case in point is 17-year-old Prism journalist Mohammed Jahid Hasan Sumon who reports on the economic and environmental situation in the Gazipur district, in the north of the capital, Dhaka. There, industrial waste is ruining the Turag river, where the water was once beautiful and fish plentiful. Sumon has reported on the implications of the polluted river, and how its toxicity means fishing communities are losing their livelihoods. “Through my work I want to tell people problems in my area and the stories of my friends and neighbours,” said Sumon, a student at Bhawal Mirzapur college. Sumon, who writes the reports himself, said he received training from Prism that included camera handling and news presenting. (Source: guardian.com; unicef.org; bdnews24.com)