Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Happy New Year!

It feels like an eternity since I wrote my last blog entry...

For those who know me personally, you will know that I find it very difficult to 'switch off' and relax. I'm not really one for sitting about and taking it easy. However, that's exactly what I did manage to do over the festive period. Jamie and I spent Christmas down in the Borders with my parents, and we had a great and very relaxing time.

Now that we are back home though, I am back to writing the 'to do' lists that people have so frequently teased me about over the years. And boy, there is a lot to do! But my New Year's Resolution is to be far less stressed about everything that I have to do, and to take more time to reflect and to appreciate my family and friends.

Taking a break gave me a lot of time to think about why it is I work so hard, and what I hope to achieve. I'm not really an ambitious person career-wise. It's much more important to me to enjoy my job and to know that I am doing something worthwhile, than it is to earn loads of money and climb the status ladder. I am extremely privileged to be doing my current job, because protecting human rights is one of the biggest challenges facing this planet (as well as protecting the planet itself from threats like global warming). In my job I encounter so many horrific stories about how people have been treated by other human beings. I find it so difficult to comprehend what makes one person harm another. How can a human being torture another human being? How can they inflict such horrendous pain? How can they have such a capacity to hate? How can people get away with it? Why is it that we turn on our TV screens and open our newspapers every day to be bombarded with images and tales of intolerable suffering?

Apparently, the sheer volume of misery that we are faced with makes us more immune to images of suffering. Not me. It seems that the older I get, the more the turmoil and injustice of this world affects me, and I feel more powerless with it. The problems of this world are so huge and so complex, that trying to solve them seems impossible. Perhaps that's why so many people don't even try.

Anyway, before I descend into a blackhole of depression and take you with me, I do want to end on a note of optimism. As individuals we can only play a small part in making the world a better place. In my job, I am playing my part in defending human rights - here at home, and around the world. I am also politically active, and working hard to help achieve independence for Scotland - both to make my country a better place to live, but also so that Scotland can play a part in helping to make the world a better place too. On my own, I can play a small part. But I'm not on my own. I am a member of a growing political party that believes in equality for Scotland with independence. I am also a member of a human rights organisation with millions of supporters worldwide, campaigning and taking action to defend human rights.

Rather than making resolutions to eat more healthily and exercise more (which most of us should probably do anyway), just imagine what a difference it would make if we all pledged to do a little more to help others and make the world just that little bit better...

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