Diwali: Keeping the Darkness at Bay

As we approached the new millennium more than fifteen years ago, there was reason to hope we were entering an enlightened age – one that was leaving the old prejudices behind. Today? There appears to be a growing intolerance in the world. There are more and more clashes between people with shared histories, but with different perspectives from which they see. Colleagues, neighbors, even friends are told by zealots that they should not mix with “others.”

But try imagining yourself in the shoes of a Syrian refugee, who has survived to escape war at home, only to reach a country where no one wants you; or of a young AfricanAmerican who sees police only as hostile, and never as protecting or serving anyone you know; or of a grandmother in Northern Ireland, able to bring up her children in peace, now fearing a resurgence of old hostilities in the time her grandchildren.

Diwali, or Deepavali, is the Hindu festival of lights. Many religions around the world have festivals that seek to bring light when the days are shorter and colder. Whatever our faiths or beliefs, may we be aware of our own inner light, as it pushes aside ignorance and arrogance, to make room for understanding and enlightenment. Trying to walk in the shoes of another brings us closer to understanding, and it is only by striving to understand that we can move toward peace – peace within our communities, and peace within ourselves.

We have pulled this blog out of our archives this Diwali, to rerun it for our readers. Sadly, the hardships mentioned are still applicable two years later, but we continue to work for peace and understanding in the world.


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