A Change Is Coming

personal reflections on human rights...and other stuff

Universal Children's Day: Giving Refugee Children a New "Normal"

Today is Universal Children’s Day, celebrated November 20 to mark the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child over a quarter century ago. It’s a day to recognize children’s rights and to shed light on the progress made in securing such rights while not forgetting the challenges and disparities that persist. In last year’s State ofthe World’s Children issued by UNICEF (there should be a new one soon), it highlighted some persistent realities:  
  • Almost half of children under 5 in the poorest countries do not have the right to an official identity; 
  • The poorest 20% of the world’s children are twice as likely as the world’s richest 20% to be stunted by growth;
  • Children in 4 out of 10 households in the world’s poorest countries do not attend primary school;
  • Girls still have less access to quality education than boys in the world’s poorest nations;
  • Children going to school in the world’s poorest nations have inadequate access to toilets (both at school and at home);
One of the encouraging aspects of the report is that it highlights stories – of inspiration, innovation, care and dedication – on how to fulfill children’s rights. The stories focus on things that make sense: engaging youth, sparking creativity, working with communities, and reaching all children, among others. Reading the report, I came across something UNICEF refers to as their “Innovation Map”  – examples from around the world of successful projects. To take but one example, a project in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan (established in 2012 and currently hosting about 80,000 Syrian refugees) aims to solve the problem of girls and women unable to access the female toilets in the camp because there was no lighting. Channeling electricity to the toilets was not possible due to vandalism, so solar panels were installed above the toilets to provide the electricity for proper lighting.

Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
It’s a small innovation, but a necessary one. Just for a moment imagine what life is like in a refugee camp. In the case of Zaatari, the number of toilets available means that an average of 51 people share one toilet. The average person reading this blog probably shares a toilet with less than a tenth that number.

Crappy toilet statistics are only one aspect of living in a refugee camp that makes life harsh. Each refugee has 35 litres of water per day (the average consumption for Canadians was a whopping 251 litres per day in 2011). Just over half of the 28,000 school-aged children are enrolled in one of three schools operating on double-shifts. Two field hospitals have 55 beds in total (remember, there are 80,000 people living there, with 80 births per week). To put it simply, life in a refugee camp sucks. The connotation of “camp” implies a temporary condition, an in-between living arrangement from what used to be your home to a place where you don’t have to worry about being killed on a daily basis. The reality of such camps is quite different: a sense of permanence settles in, a sense of despair, and a sense of normality. I’m reminded of a TED Talk by George Takei in which he discusses his time as a child in a Japanese internment camp during the Second World War: “Children are amazingly adaptable. What would be grotesquely abnormal became my normality in the prisoner of war camps. It became routine for me to line up three times a day to eat lousy food in a noisy mess hall. It became normal for me to go with my father to bathe in a mass shower. Being in a prison, a barbed-wire prison camp, became my normality.

As adaptable children are, they shouldn’t have to consider life in a camp as “normal.” There are nearly 50,000 children living in Zaatari camp now. However miserable life is in that camp, conditions in other camps, not to mention the unimaginable struggles Syrian refugees have faced crossing into Europe, can be even worse.

The sheer number of Syrian refugees is astounding. In total, Jordan currently has over 630,000 refugees; overall the number of registered Syrian refugees is nearly 4.3 million. A quarter of them – more than one million – are children. When I try to get my head around such numbers and weigh the reality of refugees’ lives with the ongoing debate of closing our borders to them, I find it very difficult to accept any argument – founded in ignorance, fear, xenophobia or racism, but often a mix of all these things – that supports measures to ignore their pleas and maintain their suffering.

Canada’s new government made a promise to welcome 25,000 refugees by the end of this year and is currently in the process of making sure this happens. Under normal circumstances, it’s an ambitious target, and recent terrorist attacks in Paris (and Beirut, and now Mali) have prompted some to put into question the need to adhere to the deadline of December 31 or even to admit refugees at all. To me, the date is not relevant; moving refugees out of misery is, and whether or not it takes two months or a little longer shouldn’t be a benchmark for success. The government’s approach is a sound one, since it focuses on refugees already registered in camps in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. The least Canadians can do is extend a warm welcome to those in need, and give a new place for thousands of refugees to call their home. It’s time to give refugees another option of what "normal" can be.

Find out how to help: The CBC Montreal website recently published a useful post on how Quebecers can help

Update November 23: I referred to the government's plan as a "sound one" - now that the government has indicated it will not allow unaccompanied men into Canada, it's not looking sound, nor is it fair. Tom Mulcair summed it up well by saying: "While security concerns remain of vital importance, will a young man who lost both parents be excluded from Canada's refugee program?" He added, "Will a gay man who is escaping persecution be excluded? Will a widower who is fleeing [ISIS] after having seen his family killed be excluded?" A proper security screening is important for any refugee, regardless of their status as accompanied or not, and regardless of their sex. It is, as many have noted, very uncanadian.

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Creative Nonfiction: The Almost Road

The pavement is fresh, hot and black with a sidewalk that reminds me of the boardwalk in Beirut that hugs the sea. For a moment I think I’m there.

“This wasn’t here last time I came,” I tell my friend who’s driving me around. People are still littered on the beach, enjoying the last few hours of the weekend by the sea.

“No, in fact it’s no more than six months old,” he says. “It was constructed by a telephone company that refused to pay taxes to Hamas. They said they already paid to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah so why pay taxes twice? So they struck a deal and decided to take some of their profits to build this road.”

We drive north and pass through some of Gaza City’s main streets. “Ninety percent of the shops have nothing but goods made in China. Compare that to twenty years ago, when most of the textiles, shoes, and other goods were made here in Gaza. We even exported them to the world.”

After a few minutes the road leads to nowhere. It suddenly stops and turns to sand. “You see this area on the left,” he points to open land surrounded by cacti. On what used to be a football pitch, sheep graze. “This used to be an American school. It was attacked, then it was destroyed it and now there’s nothing left.”

Most of his sentences either end with “now there’s nothing left” or “now it’s controlled by Hamas.” The old resort that used to sell alcohol still operates but sans booze. A stable created in Arafat’s time is now a wedding hall. We pass by a huge mosque right smack on the beach erected by a rich politician. Whatever’s left of the road we’re on gets cut up and diverted because of the construction of a sewage treatment plant.  The newish Movenpick hotel changed hands because it could not be a five star hotel and sell booze with an open swimming pool.

During times of incursion, tanks and bulldozers trampled the streets with ripper shanks and cut the road in the middle. You still see the road opened up, left to decay and become part of the sand. It’s desperate, it’s desolate. Children fly makeshift kites, some fabricated out of sheets of paper. Others are crappy cheap plastic hexagonal kites most probably imported from China through the tunnels. Amidst the garbage, bald and burned tires, donkey shit and horseshit, arid land, smashed fences, emaciated sheep, makeshift houses made of scrap metal with old palm leaves as roofs. Flying a kite seems to be the only thing to keep children amused, to look up to the sky as a form of distraction of the miserable reality around them.  It’s all they’ve got.

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Creative Nonfiction: The Coffee Break

I tell the participants to take a short break. I say 15 minutes, but I know it means 30, and that’s OK.

Participants leave the room and head for the hallway where coffee, tea and snacks await. I take a couple of minutes to prepare for the last activities to end this third day of our human rights workshop. The crowd by the cookies dissipates; only the lousy cookies remain. I see one participant from Baghdad idly playing with his coffee cup.

“How’s your family?” I ask Ayman. I spoon Nescafe into a coffee cup and fill it with warm milk and hot water. The milk does little to ease the bitterness of the vile coffee powder. At this point I need as much caffeine as possible to overcome jet lag.

“They’re fine thank you. My youngest is still into Spider-Man.” He pulls out a recent photo on his mobile phone. Two young brothers beam gapped smiles. The youngest one, no more than four, sports a Spider-Man shirt.

I want to suggest Spider-Man gloves, the kind my sons have, but I doubt he’d find them in Amman. Stores scatter the city with dusty rip off versions of shirts, shoes, socks, underwear, schoolbags, toys, and watches with images of Sponge Bob, Spider-Man, Dora the Explorer, Batman, and the ever-present Mickey Mouse.

“Does he like books?” I offer. Having two young children of my own, I appreciate the added bonus of purchasing gifts that take as little space as possible in a suitcase.

“No. He prefers guns.” Well, screw that.
“How’s your mother?” I ask.

“She’s all right, but a few weeks ago we had a scare.” That meant anything from being held at gunpoint to avoiding a rocket blast.

“What happened?” I venture.

“We were walking home from the market when we saw a tank at the end of the road,” he begins. “Usually, when we see that it means there is trouble somewhere in the neighbourhood. There could be insurgents with guns. So we stopped and decided to backtrack towards the market. That’s when we heard the bullets smashing into the walls in front of us. The tank ahead started to veer off down the streets. It seemed like the bullets were getting louder and louder. Even though we must have been caught in the hail of bullets for only a few seconds, it really felt like a lot longer.”

“What did you do?”

Ayman takes a sip from his coffee and pulls a drag of the cigarette. He knows the smell annoys me, so he puffs sideways. “We started running down the street as fast as we could. We were in an area with small shops and people’s homes. I ran up to a door on my left that I saw someone close a moment before. I banged loudly on the door but they did not open for us. I tried to grab my mother’s hand but she was gone. I guess in the mess of it all we must have gone in different directions. I looked around like a crazy man and yelled her name but I got no answer. There were only more bullets whizzing through the air.”

He takes another sip of his coffee, blinks and keeps his eyes closed for a moment longer, reliving the memory. “I figured I had to find a place to get away from the bullets, so I kept knocking on door after door. Everyone locks their door nowadays in case they are attacked. It didn’t used to be like this.”

“People don’t want to open the doors, even for innocent people who are trying to find shelter?” I ask.

“The problem is,” he counters, “it’s hard to tell an insurgent from a civilian. It’s easy to yell from the other side of the door and say you’re being attacked, but in fact you’re the one doing the killing.”

A group of people sitting in the hotel lobby laugh at someone’s joke.

“Anyway,” he continues, “I eventually knocked on a door and someone was nice enough to open it and let me in. The gunfire continued.”

“You were lucky they opened the door for you.” He nods.

“I waited until the noise of the bullets ricocheting off the walls stopped. It was only a few minutes but felt like a long time in my head. All I could think of was my mother and whether or not she was all right. I thanked the family and they slowly opened the door to let me out onto the street. The tank had disappeared. Usually in cases like this, the Americans hear the gunshots and they start to fire in the streets. People know by now to run as fast as they can. I walked back the way I came and hoped I would see my mother. By that point, there were a few other people who had come out onto the street. Our faces are all the same. It’s like we’re all scared, but too shocked to show it. As I turned the corner I saw my mother was walking close to the wall, very slowly.”

“I’m sure she was happy to see you,” I say.

“Of course. And I was so relieved to find her safe. When the bullets rang out she ran in another direction and was fortunate that the first door she knocked on opened. A father and his two sons opened the door for her.” His cigarette’s close to burning his fingers. “We went straight home after that. We didn’t really talk to each other until the next morning.”

I have no way to respond to his story, only a vacant and inadequate look of sorrow. He puts out his cigarette in the nearby ashtray and pastes a smile on his face as another participant joins us. It takes me a moment to realize they’re talking about where to shop later tonight.
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New Videos to Promote a Better Understanding of Human Rights Education for Palestine Refugees

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) recently released three new animated videos to help promote a better understanding of the human rights education program it has in its schools. The videos, each about five minutes or less, illustrate some of the human rights education activities that take place in UNRWA schools; UNRWA operates schools in five Fields (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza). I'm pleased to have participated in this project by working on the screenplays for each video.

The first video is about equality between boys and girls:
Here's the first video, with a description from UNRWA: "Palestine refugee students of all ages learn about human rights in their everyday lives through the Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance Education Programme, funded by the United States. In this short animation, young boys and girls learn to respect each other’s rights regardless of gender."

The second video is about human rights in local communities. 
Here's the description from UNRWA: "In this short animation, young girls discover their rights in the community, in particular the right to a clean environment. The clip forms part of the United States-funded Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance Education Programme, through which Palestine refugee students of all ages learn about human rights in their everyday lives."

Finally, the third video is about learning to stand up to bullies. 
Here's the description from UNRWA: "In this short animated clip, young girls learn how to respond to a bully and stand up for their rights. The clip forms part of the United States-funded Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance Education Programme, through which Palestine refugee students of all ages learn about human rights in their everyday lives."

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A Letter to My Sons: City of Dreams, Gaza

Dear Alexandre, Dear Sam,

I’m back in Jerusalem, writing to you from the comfort of a guesthouse that’s part of a cathedral over one hundred years old. It’s relatively quiet save for the traffic outside my window, my room is sparse but pleasant, with archways defining a ceiling three times my height, and a garden a few steps away that a travel enthusiast would probably label as quaint or charming.

I do my best to appreciate my surroundings, but doing so after a trip to Gaza only compounds the conflicting thoughts I have in processing what I’ve just experienced. I have felt sadness and anger, frustration and disbelief, despondency and despair; yet in equal measure I have seen tenacity and hope, cheerfulness and gentleness, dedication and stoicism.

Over three years ago, in my first letter to you from Gaza, I described the beach view from my hotel window as “beautiful, and it’s full of garbage.” This time, my hotel offered a similar view, although added to the garbage were piles of rusted scrap metal and heaps of crumbled concrete. The scenery going through town and all over the Gaza Strip wasn’t all that different; it was dirty, but once in a while you saw a massive, stinking garbage bin in which people with busted brooms dumped their crap. There were occasional mounds of concrete where buildings once stood. Once in a while you’d see a mosque or an apartment building that would look fine and you’d wonder why no one was in it until you’d turn the corner and realize the front had been bombed to pieces, steel rods sticking through pulverized foundations.

There are no traffic lights that work. Banged up cars share the road with carts pulled by ragged donkeys and emaciated horses, trucks that would have failed any road safety check just about anywhere else on the planet, and a parade of international vehicles including the armoured one I was in. Billboards have layer upon layer of faded, posterized martyrs either looking thoughtful or brandishing guns and rocket launchers. The buildings are grey and brown and the roads are just as drab. There are plenty of people milling about, some merchants selling fruits and vegetables in their carts, others smacking the dust off their displays of children’s clothing or cheap toys made in China. Flocks of uniformed students pour out from the walled schools and flood the streets with their brightly coloured cheap backpacks adorned with Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob, and Mickey Mouse always offering their best smiles. Candy wrappers littering the ground mark the students' homeward journeys.

As we drove up to the blue gates of one school yesterday, the words “We need homes” were spray painted in red. After the violence and destruction that shook Gaza last summer, there are still thousands of people who have no homes left, and with winter’s sting approaching, the suffering of many will only worsen.

I felt tremendous trepidation coming to Gaza this time. I wanted to know how people were doing without prying. When I asked a friend how things were, he looked at me and spoke with his usual, even tone: “My father passed away two days before the end of the war.” Upon seeing my face, he went on to explain that his father did not die as a result of the violence this past summer, but that he’d been battling illness for some time. Still, I reflected somberly, how horrible for his last days to be spent under the veil of constant fear.

My friend told me that it was the first time he’s ever felt truly frightened and helpless. “We were staying at a safe house at one point,” he told me. “I received a call telling me that the house was going to be bombed within five or ten minutes. But when I phoned the police, they could not verify the threat. I didn’t know what to do, so I told the people inside the house about the threat, and they kept on asking me to tell them what to do. But how could I know what was right? What if I told them to go elsewhere and that place would be bombed? How can I have this responsibility to tell someone what to do? I can't do that, I simply can't.”

He decided to stay in the safe house and insisted others make their own decision as to stay or go. In the end, everyone stayed and the house was not bombed. His story reflects only one moment from that horrible time, a time in which he, like so many others, felt defenseless. The depth of fear and despair Gazans suffered was enough for many people I met to label what happened as a “war,” whereas in the past, there were conflicts or incursions.

People are still recovering from the devastation; later that day my friend said his colleagues went to the beach “for stress relief because of the war.” Going to the beach doesn’t sound like much, but when there is so little to begin with, a group of colleagues going to the beach together is as much therapy or freedom or stress relief or faith in God to keep their spirits up and show up for work tomorrow.

The teachers I met over the past three days play a significant role in helping children keep their spirits up while providing a safe and sheltered environment in school. I saw them encourage students to express themselves, to be creative, to participate in class and to proudly assert the rights they have, or at least should have. In one activity in which Grade 3 students drew a new city where they would all like to live, one student showed his artwork and explained to the class, “This is Freedom City. And there’s a school here, because that’s where we go to learn.” Another child’s city was “City of Dreams,” and was drawn next to the sea

To a cynic, such an activity is meaningless, and if anything gives false hope to children who will more than likely live in poverty for years to come. But human rights education has always been more than learning about rights. It’s about helping create a culture of human rights among all people so that we can live a life of dignity and treat others as we would want to be treated by them. Hoping for a City of Dreams in a place that is so often associated with despair, destruction, and hate gives me reason to believe that today’s children will have the strength to dream and contribute towards a better world than the one we’re living in. If a child can do that while living in Gaza, there’s still hope that they will be kinder than those who today act only through violence.

I guess I’m hoping for a City of Dreams too.

Je t’aime Alexandre, je t’aime Sam.

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Still trying to believe in faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse

A while ago someone asked me how I handle working in places like Gaza and then return to the quiet, peaceful place that is my home in Montreal.

“I have an ON/OFF switch,” I told him. “I switch it OFF when I need to and forget about the misery I leave behind.”

However simplistic – or in fact uncaring – an answer that may be, it remains essentially true to what I do. Being in the presence of my children at home forces my switch to the OFF position; I can’t feel sorry for my friends in Gaza while I have to take my kids to a swim meet, or make them supper, or yell at them to clean their rooms. I just can’t feel all the time.

The escalating violence in Gaza pains me tremendously; my switch has flipped ON and OFF too many times in the past days. When four boys were killed on the beach in Gaza July 16, the pictures I saw were devastating, and so painful and raw and horrifying that they can never be unseen. As I looked more closely at one reporter’s account my heart sank when I saw the pictures he’d posted. He was staying at the same hotel I’ve stayed at in Gaza a number of times, and one photo showed a man carrying an injured boy into the hotel’s restaurant. I saw the man’s burly face and bushy beard and realized I knew him. He’d carried my luggage once or twice upon my arrival at the hotel; always had a nice smile, always wished me a good day. And there he was, carrying a bloodied boy in his arms.
Carrying a wounded child at the al Deira Hotel, Gaza.
Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images
Seeing the man I knew carry the wounded boy made the violence more immediate, more urgent and desperate, and to use Anthony Bourdain’s words on Twitter in relation to a photo of the children, “so devastating.” It broke my switch. I have such a hard time processing the images I’m seeing from Gaza that I can’t think straight anymore. Half my Facebook newsfeed pops up with friends sharing the latest images of children gored by the bombings; the other half shows friends on sunny beaches during their vacation. In one particularly stark contrast this morning, one friend posted a video of babies being tickled, while the next feed from a different friend showed a disemboweled infant in Gaza cradled in a man’s arms. Last week I switched off the misery in Gaza and even resorted to the fluffy stuff by posting a few of my own sunny, life-is-good pictures from a peaceful beach.

I think of the people I’ve met in Gaza, the mothers, the fathers, their children. I think of the homes they’ve invited me to, I think of their smiling faces, I think of their resolve, their kindness, their fears, their squalor, their blood. None of what’s happening now makes sense. To make matters more difficult to understand, so much of the violence gets filtered through rhetoric from people posting an astounding amount of hatred online directed at both Israelis and Palestinians. Every argument and opinion advocating one perspective is counterbalanced with an opposing viewpoint that invariably starts with “Yes, but.” None of that helps us move forward, none of that helps stop the violence, the fear, the anguish.

I am not pro-either side, nor am I anti-neither. I am pro-peace, I am pro-human rights, pro-love and pro-anything else that makes sense if you want to live in a world in which you’re happy and safe. The leaders on both sides have undertaken actions that are reprehensible. The Israeli government’s defense measures have resulted in the deaths of over 300 Palestinians, most of whom are civilians. Its actions are abhorrent and considered by Human Rights Watch to be unlawful acts. Rockets launched by Hamas into Israel are an equally abhorrent act, and while the death toll is astoundingly disproportionate between the two sides, the anguish caused to Israeli citizens is something no one should ever have to go through.

I’m not one to posit any answers to this conflict. I never have been, and never will. The only thing I’ve been trying to do for the past three years is to work with Palestinian teachers in Gaza on teaching children about human rights. Respect for each other, equality for boys and girls, tolerance, strengthening links with communities, and learning to resolve conflicts peacefully (well, the small interpersonal kind at any rate). I think of the bombs raining down on the skies of Gaza and wonder about the futility of teaching any of that in the first place. But then again, even in times of relative peace (or at least non-violence), children were still eager to learn about human rights, despite living under an oppressive regime (I learned quickly that saying “Hamas” in public was akin to saying “Lord Voldermort” in the early days of Harry Potter’s stay at Hogwart’s). I suppose there should never be a reason not to teach anyone about human rights, even if they don’t have many to begin with.

As is often the case, it’s so difficult to move forward and teach children human rights values when they are surrounded by circumstances that counter everything human rights aspire to achieve. As a teacher working in Syria told me a couple of months ago, “Yes we can teach children about human rights, but what about the people who are dropping the bombs?” Or to put it another way, as Ralph Fiennes says as the concierge Gustave in the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel which I recently watched to turn my switch off and forget about misery, “You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant... oh, fuck it.”
Tell it like it is, Gustave.
I have to believe in the faint glimmers Gustave mentions, and try my best to leave out his last three words. I’ll probably go back to Gaza one day, and see friends whose lives have been fractured, and knowing them they will continue to search for happiness and peace and a life of dignity every way they can, but the anguish of these past days will stay with them forever. Right now, I don’t think any of them have them have the option to turn off their switches. But for those of us who can show our support, we should. Taking to social media is one way, demonstrating in the streets another, or even signing a petition – here’s one for the Canadian government to take a stronger stance on forging peace. Does any of that ease the suffering – maybe, maybe not. But as a Palestinian friend once said to me, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

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Ignite the Mandela in us all

Celebrating International Human Rights Day 

My younger son has been fuelling a recent obsession of creating elastic bracelets using a loom. “Everyone’s doing it at school,” he tells me. A couple of weekends ago his teacher encouraged the students in his class to disconnect from all electronic devices – TVs, tablets, computers, iPods. My son managed to stay disconnected the whole time and indulge his new passion of bracelet-making.

Late last week he came up to me after school. “Daddy, I want to make bracelets and sell them at school for a dollar each. I want to raise money for the people who are victims of the typhoon in the Philippines.”

I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. “Uh, well OK. Did somebody ask you to do this?”

He shook his head. “No,” he replied. It’s my own idea.” He told me he’d ask a good friend to see if he could help too. His friend agreed, and my son wrote a letter to his principal asking permission to sell the bracelets.

His principal has yet to get back to him, but after telling his story to a couple of my friends, the friends have already pledged to purchase a few bracelets. Each bracelet he makes takes anywhere upwards of 15 minutes depending on its complexity. His enthusiasm at getting up well before sunrise or staying up late to create these bracelets is admirable, and I’m not just saying that because I’m his father. I didn’t give him this idea of raising funds, neither did his mother, and I’ll be the first to admit that an act like this was never an idea I would have thought of at his age. Like, ever.
The Mandela bracelet.

So whatever amount raised by December 23 will be donated to UNICEF Canada, with the Canadian government matching the donation. With the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing last week, and having learned a little more about his life over the past few days, my son’s been working on “The Mandela,” a bracelet with the six colours of South Africa’s flag. As we mourn such a tremendous loss, the impact of Mandela’s legacy for generations to follow will only be strengthened if we demonstrate a selfless kindness and willingness to help others, commit to treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve, and unhesitatingly attempt to brighten anyone’s day. As we celebrate International Human Rights Day December 10, I can’t think of any better way to hope that our collective future holds much promise if we all put a little Mandela in our words, our actions, and our hearts.

Happy International Human Rights Day to one and all.

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