This morning I read an email from a dear friend I have known for years, yet never met in person. He was born and raised in Darfur, now thankfully studying abroad in safety. His email was about his extreme concern for his family and friends that remain in his homeland, the violence having once again recently escalated. This year alone has displaced hundreds of thousands.
My friend knows all too well what can happen, having lost myriad friends and family members to this seemingly endless genocide already. He knows when a family member comes to visit, it may be their last. He knows that a long walk for the family’s water may result in death upon return. He knows firsthand that those who protest in peace risk detention and torture. He knows full well that sometimes they are released after a few days, and sometimes they are not. Continue reading
For much of our history as a species – and perhaps particularly in modern society – we have often seen ourselves as isolated beings, solo actors on a small stage with a few select fellow thespians. Today we can actually track scientifically the neural dimensions of our narrow definition of self. When our resonance circuits are engaged, we can feel another’s feelings and create a cortical imprint that lets us understand what may be going on in the other’s mind – because it is like ours – and our mind and our brain turn on our mindsight mechanism. We uncap our inner lens and take a deep look into the face of the other to see the mind that rests beneath the visage. But if we cannot identify with someone else, those resonance circuits shut off. We see others as objects, as “them” rather than “us.” We literally do not activate the very circuits we need in order to see another person as having an internal mental life.
– Daniel Siegel
Contrary to the popular notion, distance does not always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes distance just makes it harder to relate. And the implications of that extend far beyond its relevance in romance. Distance has many meanings and contexts. It can be geographical, as in, physically ‘far away’, historical, as in, things that happened ‘long ago’, or circumstantial, as in, life experiences where ‘nothing like that has ever happened to me’.
Empathy is about being able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and caringly feel what it is like to be there. These factors of ‘distance’ make empathy more difficult. Unless we really ‘get it’, and can ‘relate’, it is hard to care very much, or feel compassionate. Continue reading
April 2014 Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month
They are committing the greatest indignity human beings can inflict on one another: telling people who have suffered excruciating pain and loss that their pain and loss were illusions.
– Elie Wiesel
Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future
A free six-event commemorative film series featuring stories of survivors and their children
The Armenian Genocide – PBS (2006)
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
7p – 9p
1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA 92612
(See below for free PARKING details.)
Speakers: Barbara English, Jeff Mallinson, Levon Marashlian
Space is limited.
Camp Darfur, a traveling, awareness-raising six-tent refugee camp exhibit, (one for each genocide being commemorated in April), will be on campus outside the venue location beginning at noon.
Community booths from our partnering organizations will also be set up in the same area beginning at 5:30p. Continue reading