SONGSOPTOK: Let us forget for a moment the UN definition of ‘humanitarianism’. What is your personal definition? In what context would you apply the word?
C MICHAEL MILLER:  Jesus summed up our responsibilities in two laws ..the 1st having to do with our responsibilities to God,the second and the one with which we are concerned is "To love your neighbor as yourself" 

SONGSOPTOK: What, according to you, are the specific types of events that call for humanitarian actions?
C MICHAEL MILLER:  That can be as little as giving food and respite to a single homeless persons on one’s own local streets to giving aid to whole communities decimated by the violence of war and afflicted with lack of food and shelter in various parts of the world . I consider us all one family as all are descended from a single source whether one believes in evolution or creation ; that we are one family is a "given" . The fact that the "leaders" of most nations still have the "Hitler" view that they are "superior" to the others doesn't escape the notice of most "thinking" people and seriously inhibits the efforts of those who wish to act in the behalf of others who are suffering the various diseases among the world’s nations . We should not be careless about our own responsibilities to care for our own human family. 

SONGSOPTOK: Can individuals play a significant role in initiating or participating in humanitarian actions? In what way?
C MICHAEL MILLER: Yes indeed, individuals can have very significant influence in this area. History has recorded the lives of more than a few who have managed to both teach and walk in a life that has affected deeply how others choose to live with respect to both their immediate "neighbors" and those in other nations. Most Nations have those they idealize in this area both from a nationalistic perspective and a religious one . What most governments of most nations hold dear , I don't ..the effect of one single good teacher can impact much of humanity or all of it . Sometimes the "word" is slow to get out but it will eventually have impact upon those who hold life as the dearest gift we have and can give.

SONGSOPTOK: What should be the role of the world community, especially organizations like the UN, to encourage humanitarian actions in different countries, especially those suffering from internal war or external aggression? Do you think that their efforts are sufficient? If not, what else should be done to help the countries / societies / populations in need?
C MICHAEL MILLER: The world community is divided , Mark 3:35 "If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand" Most frequently the true aid in many parts of the world are not given by the governments but by those who have connected to supply what is needed (generally this comes from another community or organization or institution whose sole purpose is to address these issues) I spent almost a year working for "World Vision" I can say I came away with an altered perspective as to what is able to be done even in what could be considered a small way .I do not think the efforts of any single organization can effectively change what six thousand years of written history demonstrates about the natures of governments (the Bible refers to the march of world powers as predatory beasts each determined to destroy the one before it) indeed truly it has been individuals who have come together to address specifically those needs that have achieved anything at all in these areas. The Nations may give lip service to the ideals but the continued war on life is pretty much in practice, just follow the money .Really is all boils down to our being personally involved in learning what those needs are addressing them individually and teaching them to our children. Since all don't currently have a "world community" view ...that is a difficult subject to address outside of getting involved on the personal level. Then to discuss how are we going to wake those who want to remain "asleep at the wheel”...Too many of us have rolled the issues of our humanity around in all the discussions and reach the BUT..

SONGSOPTOK: What should ideally be the role of the governments in humanitarian actions – both in afflicted countries and in the other countries of the world? Are government activities sufficient in this context?
C MICHAEL MILLER: That's pretty easy now isn’t...to take the weapons of warfare and turn them into farming tools ..I favor removing all industry that builds the aims of war be taken off the planet entirely..And those who love war to go with them ...war mongering profiteers should be given no place to live here.. But seeing those who hold the power aren't about to let it go ...well divine intervention might be needed..No...The governments of the nation’s activities are not even remotely close to focusing on the "real problems" of humanity. Nor does the education in the nation’s schools teach the next generation to give consideration to them. The whole teaching program needs to be overhauled to give those learning both the knowledge and tools to address the deepest issues dealing with life. It is unfortunately true that the given powers in the world are corrupt and corruptible. Any who hope to achieve a life of truth will not be able to fully operate within those institutions. Truly only those who are committed on a personal level without the constraints and shackles of nationalistic and religious ideology are certain to be able to act effectively in both teaching and living a "life committed to doing what is good" and passing those principles on to others . Jesus did not start a "new religion" he taught his followers to "love their neighbor" (in real life not some imagined later life) right NOW. A true leader teaches others "how to live" now. The examples of the world governments are subjective to what they desire for themselves not for others. I digress the only power that should be given any government is fulfill service to their own communities first, not war on outsiders to provide for their own. We can never expect a predator government to be anything but a predator the same goes for religion. 

SONGSOPTOK: In your opinion, do religious institutions play an important role in humanitarian actions? In your own experience, what kind of actions have you witnessed that have been pioneered by religious institutions?
C MICHAEL MILLER: I would have to admit that probably most of the attention given to those needing assistance in the areas we are discussing have actually come from these types of institutions. As perhaps those who have actually received some perspective regarding our own personal responsibility would be inclined to participate in such activity towards their "fellow man”. In that hopefully those leading such institutions have attempted to pass along to others the need to be personally involved in the pursuit of building life instead of pursuing "death”. I do think some have tried to address the problems but have found they are shackled in their efforts due to law and ideology in various parts of the world. But, I have to say it's truly the individual leaders, not the broad field of religion of itself. Few over the centuries are taught anything but "tradition" or have "full indoctrination" of what any one particular religious system teaches. I would have to supply that as a general rule those who lead with a heart of love are those most inclined to connect themselves to any given pursuit in addressing these needs. Love is something we are designed to be able to enact in life but "religion" has frequently disabled its ability to affect our actions. Those who believe that we should love our neighbor as ourselves are the most likely to get involved in such institutional pursuits.(outside of one’s daily living) 
One could find more power to service others in a collective way as also generally it takes a collective to overcome the obstacles of laws , religion , and governments to provide these things to other countries. A collective in the now is more able to get things done since one will be coming against both law and ideology in order to service these needs.

SONGSOPTOK:  Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) are often in the forefront of humanitarian actions and yet there have been widespread criticism about the efficacy and utility of NGOs in different countries, especially in Asia & Africa. What is your own experience? Should NGOs be given more power and independence where humanitarian actions are concerned?
C MICHAEL MILLER: The only true power is that which builds , enlightens , loves and serves all of mankind ..Any power that assails or impedes these things is detrimental to humanity and requires removal from the premises of earth. No lasting good can "live" in an environment devoted to hurting others or the planet...be that governments, religions, or institutions .Any not committed to teaching and building the ideology of excellence in "loving your neighbor as yourself" cannot have the outcome most desirable for humanity. The only power that should be given are to those who pursue these "characteristics" in ourselves and others and instill them deeply into one’s own field of thought and practice. I'm afraid a deep overhaul of what humanity chooses to "believe" in needs addressing..My only true influence is the ability to pass these along to my children as teaching and to put them into practice myself.That is the only power I have in the communities of the nations. But I must restate I was sufficiently impressed by what World Vision was doing to affect my perspective that more need to collect together to stand up and support those who choose to build life and not destroy it . Rather as much as I know what the world might hope to see in the UN and its affiliate organizations, well anyone who uses war as a resolution cannot succeed in anything but passing on the same both in ideology and practice . NGO's are without a doubt serving in a greater capacity to service those needs, but do so individually. The impediments to the collectives are many, and while those of us here discussing the needs will find our own governments and bankers funding destructive, self serving corporations busily assailing and plundering the nations and the collective organizations who desire to truly serve.

SONGSOPTOK: What should be the aim of humanitarian actions in afflicted countries – short term relief or long term actions that would help societies build up their own strengths and resources? Please share your knowledge or experience about long term actions undertaken anywhere in the world.
C MICHAEL MILLER: Providing food, shelter. And medical needs is indeed strictly short term ..Any long term effects as I formerly stated must come in a complete overhaul of what humanity is taught and holds dear. Education; that both addresses the character of our humanity as well as the personal needs of humanity must reach the hearts of all those living. Indeed that will take centuries if not a millennia to teach all of humanity to pursue these things. But the divisions of religion and nationality etc are in severe disagreement as to what "they think”. The perspective of "killing the competition" is deeply rooted in the psyche of most "religious" and nationalistic thinking. Jesus taught that laying down your life for others was the ideal way of fully demonstrating how love works indeed we see instead the opposite being lived out with regard to most "religious" institutions . The only lasting way is to make the root of all that we teach with regard to our perspectives about life is that it is a precious gift worthy of our full attention , and NOT JUST OUR OWN life but that of OTHERS IS EQUALLY PRECIOUS. The true strength in a person is the ability to teach and practice "what is beneficial for life" in every respect . A close look at "religion" over the histories written have decidedly exposed what is really practiced in them . While my personal perspective is that all have come from one source, then we are all required as responsible children of that source to love each other. (Yes I am a learner in life in as Jesus stated "keep on seeking") but we will keep knocking on that subject anyway.

SONGSOPTOK: It is often seen that the strongest help and support comes from within the communities affected by conflicts or natural disasters. How, in your opinion, can communities be empowered to successfully face such situations? What, in this context, could be the role of formal or informal grassroots organizations?
C MICHAEL MILLER: Those who have suffered the afflictions of the things we are addressing are the most likely to understand its perspectives and to look for ways devoted to affecting the future needs of those who undergo them. I would hope the many miseries that mankind has suffered would help to teach him how to see what others are feeling and the things that are needed. The insight of suffering can give great impetus to many in seeking solutions but the real issue nearly always comes down to the same "lack of concern" that is the true "affliction" of the human heart .Again we come back to the ability to effectively teach the hearts of generations to love life and to be good to each and every other person that is living..Jesus called it leaven; teaching that is; and that it must completely saturate all that we believe and live . But again personal examples and involvement are what give power to building these kinds of environments and to have them be effective. When community comes together they can accomplish much from building a house in a week, to training others how to do both grow and build their own lives and the lives of others . It is a sad thing to watch governments and religions come in and shackle those who would pursue these values. We don't even have to study history we can watch it "live" now. I have seen what the involvement of a "collective" of people can do and frequently it follows the voice of just one person who wants to get involved from house building , to church building to raising an event to help others ..People do have power , they are just as frequently not to know they have it or how to use it . Again that would be in the teaching area, the ability to educate those in the community. Jesus taught in the community, he taught without cost to others, to focus on the things most valuable with regard to life both for oneself and for our neighbor.

SONGSOPTOK:  Women and children are most vulnerable in situations of conflicts or disasters. What, according to you, are the specific actions that need to be taken to ensure the safety and security of women and children?
C MICHAEL MILLER: The weakest ones always suffer the most . I might see some avenues that can be addressed but how can one do anything but enact daily those things we believe in .I am brought to tears so frequently by the things many are suffering today , and feel that powerlessness both in a personal and a financial way .When I was young I thought about joining Peace Corps but life took some very unexpected turns .Finding out I had little knowledge of what peace is as well as having some very conflicted views of life as well as just the day to day survival of being a single mother of four and little help from any source . I have always found those who have suffered the most with personally the littlest finances were the most generous of givers. It's a hard thing to watch others suffer and have little or no power to secure the requirements for their needs; it's a situation I'm all too well familiar with. I don't have full answers to many of these kinds of questions, I'm still on the quest myself of learning who we are as children of the cosmos and brothers and sisters in life as well as the ignorance we are raised in so that we are the slaves to ways of living that are not beneficial for ourselves or the planet as a hole. There are so many issues and much to be learned and too little time to do all that needs to be done and learn. How can one ensure the safety of others , I wasn't able to prevent "injustice" to my own children due to the lack of virtue in the society in which I live , but I certainly won't hide that it occurs on a daily basis in every part of the world .One doesn't have to suffer war to become intimately familiar with its teeth ,  I know few who have not been bitten in some way and saturated with the poison of mans tyranny , violence , and ideology ; it's everywhere one exists here . It is the daily venue in the news, media , policy , and ideology and is the true war that exists within the paths of mankind. We are waging a war against the savage self serving influence of the leaders of the very institutions to which many are looking for hope . So I hope to pass quietly through my small space here , not let my voice be trampled and continue to learn how to live in accord with all that we deem "precious".

SONGSOPTOK: How do you, as an individual, practice humanitarianism? Is it an important part of your value system & mental make-up? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us.
C MICHAEL MILLER: Yes , but I don't tell others what I do but I can make suggestions for those who desire to be more active in this area .There are so many ways one can locally "practice" humanitarianism . Most communities have facilities that care for the aged and infirm ( not just age but mentally unstable) Many such residences have needs for clothing , undergarments and funds for other services for the infirm in the community . I belong to a couple of forums where we discussed where one can give without being "seen" . Locally we have food banks, clothing drives , even supporting an event to raise funds for someone locally suffering injury or loss . There are many "institutions" which take a more aimed intent in servicing those who suffer in other nations such as "World Vision" (this is one whose funds are not so abused to profit themselves but the majority actually does get to service that which they say they are for) One can have bagged meals and groceries for those "panhandling" on the streets as well as being involved in a more central setting to provide meals and shelters. There are also many women's shelters for the battered and abused who have finally taken the step to protect themselves and their children who need funds and support . One can support the local soup kitchens and shelters for those who are unable to care for themselves and have suffered the loss of jobs due to the economy. Again also maintaining a voice that will continue to support educating others in what it is "to be a good neighbor" unlike many of our current institutions which have proved to be "bad neighbors" (that includes governments, religions, and corporations who are self serving) There are "charities" aplenty, one does need to do a little investigation to be sure it's not one that can be profit oriented where the funds will never reach the proposed intended. . Since dishonesty is rampant my preference is local contributions to local organizations with a public accounting for where those funds will go. Any who hide their expenditures should not be considered honest or as a charity institution.



1 comment:

  1. I am speechless. I have listened to Michael and she always seems to have the same thoughts as I do. However I cannot express them the way that she does. I thank her.


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