Christmas truce of 1914, a story of hope

Christmas truce 1914

British and German troops meeting in No an’s land during the Christmas truce.

A few years ago, I was listening to the radio and the host told a Christmas story. It was a sad and hopeful story at the same time as I had never heard. The story told that at Christmas Eve during the war, soldiers began to sing in the trenches. Soldiers of the enemy clan began to sing in turn. The two clans emerged from the trenches to meet and have a dinner together. The two enemy clans celebrated together in peace. During the days that followed, the routine of war resumed and soldiers of every nation went back to the war with its consequences. This story has changed my way of seeing the war.


What is the Christmas truce?

According to the records, the Christmas truce represents several ceasefires during the Christmas period between the French, British and German troops during the World War I in 1914. The ceasefires were the initiative of soldiers on the front. During this period, the soldiers came out of the trenches to celebrate. Christmas trees were placed along the German trenches. German and British soldiers met in the middle of the no man’s land devastated by bombs to sing Christmas carols and exchange gifts. These events lasted for a short period until the military authorities put an end to the truces.

Christmas truce on Wikipedia

What lesson should be learned from the Christmas truce?

During the holiday season where people are generally more sensitive, these events have emphasized more the true human nature. This nature is often stifled by military orders that come from the direction of the country. The direction of a country is a few individuals who give orders to thousands of soldiers. What soldiers do is not necessarily the reflect of their intentions, but rather what comes from the direction.

If we let the soldiers managing the wars, I think we would not have the same wars. Nobody wants to die at war. Nobody wants to kill strangers and innocent victims. Soldiers are without doubt in the best position to decide about their future. Unfortunately, they must obey the leaders.

This historic event should inspire us. It should become a tool to prevent wars. Like the soldiers celebrating in peace when leaving the trenches, what are we waiting to make each war day, a day of Christmas truce?

The end of the world might not be the one you expected

End of the world

End of the world

It seems that the end of the world would be on December 21, 2012. This is certainly not the first end of the world planned and certainly not the last. Other predictions are already passed and guess what? We are still alive. This is not the catastrophe of December 21 that I want to talk here, but a more down to earth reality that has already terminated the world of millions of people around the world: war and weapons of mass destruction.

A phenomenon that worries many nations around the world is the creation of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons. Some countries are gathering the material required to make nuclear weapons. We can presume that these weapons will be used in the relatively near future. Who will be the target? Several countries are at war in the Middle East and I suppose it will be one of these countries. However, political tensions exist around the world.

Weapons of mass destruction have already been used. In 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by an atomic bomb. The technologies are progressing rapidly and we are able to make weapons more powerful. Can you imagine the day when a nation will be able to create a weapon capable of destroying a whole country? It will probably not be a bomb, but bacteriological weapons or being able to spread viruses.

With weapons more powerful, that day will probably come and it will be the end of the world. I do not believe that the entire planet will be destroyed, but the world could face an extreme pandemic. There have been pandemics that were fatal to nations. The influenza viruses, for example. The world could relive this on a larger scale. This kind of event would shake the economy, already fragile for many countries. Once the economy damaged, this could cause more poverty and social chaos. Civil wars could be generated.

It is probably not a gigantic bomb that would create the end the world, but a series of chaotic events that would eventually kill many people. We can presume that many people would survive all these events. There have been several major cataclysms that ended the reign of several prehistoric animals, including the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. Life survived anyway.

If you look in the past, there have been civilizations such as the Mayans and Egyptians who have disappeared. However, there are people in those civilizations who have survived, but there seems to be a huge bridge between these modern civilizations and ancient ones. It is more likely that the end of the world would be the end of the world as we know it. We notice that the world is changing, but sometimes there are abrupt changes, but without being a complete end.

Unfortunately, as long as we are not going to invest more in the social aspect of our societies, this is the kind of scenario that may occur. I feel that we cannot stop change and that kind of scenario is inevitable to different degrees. I got hope that nations can be better controlled by world organisms and prevent a major attack. Because we cannot control completely the world, despite the best intentions, my best advice is: “Enjoy life!

Would you call 911 for a homeless person?

Homeless man sleeping in the street

Homeless man sleeping in the street

Probably like many people, you go downtown occasionally and come across homeless people. This is the situation of many people who live or work in the large cities of North America and elsewhere in the world. When you see a homeless person, do you call the police or 911?

A few days ago, I saw this video (After officer’s gift, homeless man ‘lit up like it was Christmas) of an officer named Lawrence DePrimo who bought boots to a homeless man probably to keep his feet from being amputated as the winter is getting closer. Lawrence DePrimo is surely a very generous man, but this homeless person needs more than a pair of boots.

A few weeks ago, I met a homeless man in the Old Port of Montreal. He limped a lot and seemed to have difficulty speaking. His condition was very miserable. This is far from being the first time I see this kind of situation. Obviously, this man lived distress and was struggling for survival. Many people have already visited the emergency department for problems much less severe and they received appropriate cares.

In addition, many children have been brought back from the street to be supported by host families because people had reported the children to the authorities. So why when it is a homeless adult who is in distress, we are doing nothing?

I guess the answer comes from the fact that it is because the system cannot do much for them or almost. When you are an adult, it looks like we take for granted that you can fend for yourself, so we let you take the steps to get out from the street.

If I see someone in distress, like many people, I tend to dial 911 or call the police. Furthermore, like many people, I got used to see more homeless people along the streets and pass by. Sometimes, I could give a few dollars. Sometimes, I am tempted to call 911 because many people have already done so with good reasons for less serious problems than the homeless people found dead frozen. I am aware that if I called 911, they will would return the person in the street and that would not have changed anything.

We are so used to seeing homeless people abound in the town centers that we assume this as the norm. Probably, you think I am exaggerating with 911. I heard many times, in the news, announcers said they had found a homeless man dead in the cold on a bench during winter. Many of them are very sick physically and mentally. They have a poor diet and have little or no medical care. Many have ended up in the street after a severe depression.

911 is not a solution to get these people out from the street. However, I think if we took a step back from what we are accustomed to seeing, we would act differently. Imagine that you do not know the problem of homelessness. So what would you do for someone in the street, which has increasing health problems and suffering that exceed the ones of many people in our emergency departments?

A new blog is born

I have thought for a long time that things were going to get better with time. Probably because I heard so many people promising a better future because of the new technologies. Despite the technological progress, yet I see the public health care system deteriorating and the number of homeless people increasing in the streets. The debt of several countries is constantly increasing. The politicians make a lot of promises, but I have the impression that nothing moves. If we project into the future with the ongoing trend since several years, we quickly realize that the problems will get worse. Despite the best intentions and all the technology of our modern world, societies do not seem quite solid and structured to face the world of tomorrow. The planet lives a situation that has never occurred. The number of humans on Earth is greater than ever. Mineral resources are collapsing with forecasts of 10 to 30 years for non-renewable resources more in demand than ever. Never the impact on the planet of every human being has been greater than today. There is no solution to solve the overpopulation problem. Are you really able to imagine the world in 20 or 40 years?

After several years of reflection on the society, I have come to believe that there is a lack a real investment in the social aspect. We have invested huge sums in technology, but this does not help people to live way out of poverty or simply be happier. Only a part of the answers is in the technology. The rest lies in the way we structure our society and the values we teach. Fortunately, many people seem interested in the social aspect. For example, we can see a movement to put in place sustainable development, fair trade and organic agriculture.

Over the years, my ideas have accumulated and I had to find a way to make them accessible. The blog seemed the best way to share them and also having a social commitment.


About this blog

Who's this blog for? - This blog is for all people interested in social innovation.

Why should I follow it? - Because we need to get people involved about social innovation and we need to define better society models. Our societies are so complex and changing so fast that our social responsibilities are required more than ever. Actually, the world has never been changing so quickly. This blog is a hub and source of inspiration for people interested in solving our social issues.