“At last I’m in a Ken-free zone,” I thought to myself.
Driving to the station yesterday to get on the tube to the Mind Body Spirit Festival, the news came on the radio and it was all about Ken Livingstone and his alleged anti-Semitic remarks.
We all have our opinions about what he said but it cannot be denied that Ken does have an unfortunate way of presenting things, however innocently intended, which is guaranteed to have the red rag to a bull effect on some groups of people. He is not noted for his tactfulness (and in fairness there’s nothing to say a person has to be tactful) but even if it’s true, the very idea of Hitler being pro-Zionist is completely ridiculous! My feeling is, if you want to change the world, don’t antagonise people, better to get them on-side.
Truth is, and anyone who has even the most basic understanding of human psychology will realise this, if you have relatives who perished in the holocaust, as I have, these comments are going to be received as highly inflammatory, provocative and even hostile, even if they were innocently intended.
All his life Ken has chosen a path of conflict, that’s his nature and that’s fair enough, especially if you are a politician who wants to change the world. By contrast I have always tried to follow a path of peace, love and awareness because that’s what I’m naturally drawn to – therefore there’s bound to be a clash between he and I, and our beliefs.
Of course I am biased, but I can’t help thinking that the best way to make improvements to the world, to our society and to our lives in general is by getting people to work with you towards a common goal, not by antagonising them. It is unfortunately true that conflict begets more conflict, whereas harmony begets more harmony! I know which of those two options I prefer!
Purely from a political point of view it is perfectly fair to criticise Israel, her Government and policies, which Ken has done for relentlessly for decades, and claim that’s not being anti-Semitic. But in the interests of balance, it wouldn’t hurt to mention just a few positive things about Israel now and again, and there are plenty of examples. If nothing else, a more balanced presentation of the facts would lend more credibility to his criticism.
I can’t help noticing that, in keeping with the tradition of left wing politicians always supporting the underdog, Ken always supports the Palestinians, even at times when they can hardly justify laying claim to the moral high ground.
Ken has succeeded in highlighting the fact that conflict between people is always extremely painful for all concerned and is not only totally unnecessary but also utterly futile. If only the Israelis and the Palestinians and other Arab nations could put their heads together, and there hearts too of course, just imagine what wonders they could create by sharing their talents. This conflict – any conflict – is a cruel waste. Only undertakers and the armaments industry benefit from discord between people. Everyone else suffers.
All of which leads me neatly to the Mind Body Sprit Festival.
I went there yesterday and I did not detect any anti-Semitism or any other kind of intolerance, or even any judgement, between the many diverse people I met there. Instead meditation, chanting, healing and health seemed to be the primary interests, and just being in that environment was like a breath of fresh air.
At regular intervals one must drink deeply from the well of hope, faith and harmony.
You can still catch the Festival. It’s on all day today and tomorrow at London’s Olympia Exhibition Hall. For details just Google Mind Body Sprit Festival 2016.
Enjoy, and peace be with you, whoever you are.