We were Strangers Once

While delivering his speech on November 21, 2014, the then US President Barack Obama had, in his 15 minute address from the White House, said in relation to the new policies of US immigration — that deporting millions is “who we are” and cited Scripture, saying: “We shall not oppress a stranger for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.” He also further added: “Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law?”

Though these statements by the then President of the United States are related to their country’s immigration policies, the words used by the President are very thought-provoking in the larger sense of the term.

Yes, all of us were strangers once. No one can claim to be the absolute owner of everything. Nature is meant for the sustenance of all living beings. There should be a limit to extraction from nature. One should take only that much from nature which is required for our livelihood. This was also emphasized by our Indian Prime Minister in another context while delivering a speech.

Plundering nature for the luxuries of the humans at the cost of other living beings create an imbalance in the living pattern on the earth. How and when this is going to affect the chain of life cannot be predicted or calculated. That is because humans have limitations in understanding this pattern. Nature is supreme and it has its own laws within which it works for the purpose of its sustenance.

Coming to the second part of his statement where he mocked the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick the fruits for the society and make their beds never get a chance to get right with the law, one can extend the concept to what all cruelty we are inflicting on other animals, apart from humans in many places, just for the sake of enjoying one’s own life in a luxurious manner. If we look around, one can see the repetition of cruelty just for the sake of the comfort of humans at the cost of other lives.

Therefore, all living beings have their own right to live well on this earth. Humans are only one among the millions of lives. Many species of life forms are getting extinguished due to plundering by humans. We may not get time to reverse the damage if we do not wake up now. The clock is ticking, the transition is leading to deterioration and there cannot be a reversal. So it is time we reflect and think about each of our actions so that we do not hurt nature beyond a point.

GREG RAKOZY JERRY KIESEWETTER

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