Equality, empathy and a full stomach

This week started with a couple of blows for equality, as the Church of Scotland voted to allow actively homosexual men and women to become ministers and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed its third reading in the Commons. Reactions, of course, varied – some were ugly, but one of the best came from a thirteen year old. In Caron’s Musings she reproduces the school essay in which her daughter argues passionately that “A place where same gender couples are treated as legally equal to heterosexuals is a place one step closer to destroying homophobia before it destroys many more lives.”

There were also some ugly reactions to the shocking events in Woolwich, with “retaliation” attacks and EDL marches. Some of the news coverage seemed to fit that old cliché by giving the “oxygen of publicity” to (alleged) murderers brandishing bloody meat cleavers. How do you cope, personally, with such horror stories on screen and page? What’s in Kelvin’s Head has some sensible suggestions, ending with the thought that “The only acceptable revenge is living well.”

How do we teach that to our young people so that they grow up, like Caron’s daughter, to show tolerance and empathy? If you’ve read my previous Roundups you won’t be surprised to hear that one of my answers would be books and reading. What better way to learn about and understand the lives of others? I was therefore pleased to report via Anabel’s Children’s Literature Blog on two prizes for children’s books which highlight diversity and social justice. Given that Refugee Week Scotland is coming up next month, there’s a particular focus on stories about refugees.

Todayoutof10 in “I think, it’s art” neatly illustrates another of Kelvin’s suggestions: “Know that the answers cannot always be found merely in words and thoughts – music and art and religious practice can be places where answers are to be found.”  The post links to an excerpt from “The way things go”, a video installation at GoMA by Peter Fischli and David Weiss, which leads to a discussion on what art is. I too was mesmerised by the video and agree that it’s definitely art. As todayoutof10 says, “I think art is something that enables us to celebrate being human.  Artists represent how they think about things and in doing so, they give us the opportunity to do the same…..I believe it merely requires us to experience and connect.” Connection, that’s the key to understanding and empathy.

In other news the Land Reform Review Group has just published an interim report, four whole months after its deadline for responses. Basedrones, Community Land Scotland and Land Matters have details and opinions aplenty. In the Yes / No independence debate, Bella Caledonia offers an interesting twist: Don’t Know Week. From 8-15 June, Bella will be “publishing people we haven’t published before without fear or favour who have legitimate questions, concerns or confusions about how to vote. You are invited. Yes you.” Start polishing your contributions now!

Finally, this has been National Vegetarian Week. Tinned Tomatoes has celebrated with a different post every day, including one on other veggie blogs if you want to investigate further, while How to be a Gourmand had me drooling with her Trio of Grilled Aubergine, Feta and Mint, and Foodie Quine has been out foraging for wild garlic and making it into pesto (can’t you just smell it?) Staying in the kitchen, you’ll need somewhere to keep all those veggie ingredients you’re going to rush out and buy after reading all that. In a Bun Dance might have just the solution for you. Or not. She’s had a bit of trouble with her “storage solutions” this week. As for me, I’ll have to go. I’m now incredibly hungry. Bon appétit!

Comments are closed.