Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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Harvard University Commencement speech

I have a confession to make. Although I have a rather soft spot for our Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, I have not voted for the party she represents since the 1970s, and I feel I’m unlikely to so for the foreseeable future. Our Jacinda has just about the right balance of optimism and pragmatism. She has been criticised by some for being too empathetic and kind and that leaders should be powerful and crush the opposition. But I disagree. Shouldn’t the very values we teach our children also be displayed in our leaders? I believe they should.

Earlier today (NZ time), Jacinda delivered the Harvard University Commencement speech for 2022. I have included two Youtube clips of her speech: the first being highlights selected by Guardian News (4:34), and the second being her entire speech (24:29). But first, here are the closing paragraphs of her speech as transcribed by yours truly:

You are, and will always be, surrounded by bias. You will continue to be exposed to disinformation, and over time the noise you are surrounded up by will probably only get worse. And perhaps that is why when your own constitution was adopted, benjamin franklin was asked what had been created and he replied [quote] “A republic if you can keep it”.

If you can keep it. Yes diversity of voice in mainstream media matters. The responsibility of social media matters. Teaching our kids to deal with disinformation; the role we play as leaders, it all matters. But so do you. How you choose to engage with information, deal with conflict; how you confront, debate; how you choose to address being baited or hated; it all matters. And in the overwhelming challenges that lay in front of us, and our constant efforts to reach into the systems, the structures, the power, don’t overlook the simple acts that are right in front of you: the impact that we each have as individuals to make a choice; to treat difference with empathy and with kindness – those values that exist in the space between difference and division, the very things we teach our children but then view as weakness in our leaders.

The issues we navigate as a society, after all, will only intensify. The disinformation will only increase. The pull into the comfort of our tribes will be magnified, but we have it within us to ensure that that doesn’t mean we fracture. We are richer for our difference, and poorer for our division. Through genuine debate and dialogue, through rebuilding trust in information and one another, through empathy, let us reclaim the space in between. After all, there are some things in this life that make the world feel small and connected. Let kindness be one of them.

Jacinda Ardern – Harvard University Commencement speech 2020
Jacinda Ardern receives standing ovation for Harvard speech on gun control and democracy | Guardian News
In full: Jacinda Ardern delivers Harvard University Commencement speech | nzherald.co.nz


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Is the violence over? I have my doubts

As much a I prefer not to “interfere” in the politics of other nations, the influence that America has on the world due to its wealth, size and power, persuades me that I cannot in good conscience ignore events in that nation. From time to time I will share posts written by others more skilful than I on the American situation. This post by Padre Steve is one such post. With apologies to the good padre I have given the post a new title that reflects my concern.

I fear that Padre Steve is may well be correct: The great trial facing America has just begun. The violence is not over.

Friends of Padre Steve’s World, I watched the second day of Donald Trump’s second Impeachment trial transfixed by the masterful way in which the House Impeachment Managers presented the documentary evidence and connecting the dots from the election night until 6 January. I struggled to think of a title for the article because the evidence […]

The Impeachment Prosecutors Open: The defendants denounce the law under which their accounting is asked. Their dislike for the law which condemns them is not original. It has been remarked before that: “No thief e’er felt the halter draw with good opinion of the law.” — The Inglorius Padre Steve’s World


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“Say I Slew Them Not” Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and the U.S. Response to COVID19 — The Inglorius Padre Steve’s World

If you haven’t read the article (below) by Padre Steve, do so. It has relevance to every nation, every community, every social group. This quote from one of the commenters on that blog ring true:

The quote by Martin Luther King comes to me often these days: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

jilldennison

Friends of Padre Steve’s World, I have to admit that the amount of ignorance in the defense of evil that I see daily is simply mind blowing. It makes me shake my head. But then I cannot be surprised anymore. Over the weekend I saw a poll in which nine percent of Americans said that […]

“Say I Slew Them Not” Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and the U.S. Response to COVID19 — The Inglorius Padre Steve’s World


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Adam Serwer, a staff writer for The Atlantic and a Shorenstein fellow, discusses the lasting appeal of white supremacist ideology in light of an avowed white supremacist’s attack on two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people and injured dozens more.

via Harvard fellow examines rise — and roots — of white supremacy — Harvard Gazette


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

The recent terror attack on two Christchurch Mosques by what appears to be a small group of White Supremacists is a most unwelcome wake-up call to a nation unused to such extreme acts of violence. In the immediate aftermath the commentators all seemed to agree that such an event seemed totally out of character in […]

via CHRISTCHURCH SHOOTINGS, PERHAPS WE HELP THE ENEMY BY DEFAULT — Bill Peddie’s website


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

I write this with heavy heart and deep sadness. My thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy in Christchurch; I stand by them, as do all Kiwis. As I write this, I hear reports that the youngest victim was just five, pursued and gunned down in cold blood. There are no words to […]

via New Zealand’s darkest day — Matthew Wright


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

Yesterday, white supremacists walked into the Masjid al Noor mosque and the Linwood Masjid with assault rifles in their hands and hatred in their hearts and Christchurch, a city still recovering from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, will not be the same. Around 3:00pm yesterday, I was sitting at my desk on the University of […]

via Reflections on the Christchurch Attack — Adventures with Pete


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern one day after the Christchurch terror attacks. There’s a line in U2’s One that people always get wrong: “We’re one but we’re not the same / we… 438 more words

via For Christchurch: U2’s ‘One’ And Why The Word In The Song So Many Get Wrong Matters — The Roxborogh Report


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

No one can learn to love by following a manual. (MC) I am just an ordinary person trying to grapple with a hate crime. Normality amid tragic circumstances is bizarre. Today, I walked the dog, chatted to a neighbour, watched a large peloton of bike rider’s speed by, and did the weekly shopping. A normal […]

via Yesterday, when hate was unleashed, we lost our innocence. — Fiftypluskiwi


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

What do we do when the worst happens? This isn’t New Zealand, they said when the news broke. Of course, it is, because it happened here. It can happen anywhere. It’s happened in almost every town I’ve lived in at one point or another, now. But New Zealand is seen as a haven, a too-good-to-be-true […]

via They are us, New Zealand. — My Impression Now