Thoughts on the week

As we launch a new format to our weekly newsletter, our sympathies are with the families of the 4 Israelis who were innocently murdered while dining last night in Tel Aviv and with those who were injured.

We are indeed living in unique and challenging times! But who would willingly trade our lifestyle with that of even 20, 50, 70 or 100 years ago, let alone much further back in time.

Still some may say the 1970s was an exception – a period when a new consciousness seemed to flourish, stereotypes and prejudices were confronted & challenged and for a brief period new paradigms seemed possible.

Often today from weariness our perceptions slip and we think much of history just repeats itself. But this week we saw two new firsts – the first woman to claim nomination as a presidential candidate in the USA, the first black Muslim to be given a highly-publicised state funeral.

Where almost no one will argue that the American presidential race has left the rest of the free world shaking its head in trepidation and disbelief; the contribution and legacy of the late Mohammad Ali is different. Ali’s greatness wasn’t confined to his pugilistic skills as an iconic boxer but in using his celebrity to advance racial equality, human dignity and social causes.

His ability to overcome obstacles, his brashness, his declaration of being the ‘greatest in the world,’ inspired a generation of black children not only in America but in Africa and around the world, carrying forward with greater effect the vision of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Ali’s protest of American involvement in the Vietnam War cost him 3 years of absence from boxing. His firmly-held principles and even his unpopular decisions (like joining the black supremacist Nation of Islam), made him an advocate, role model and even hero. No doubt much of it early on was driven by egoism.

But perhaps Ali’s lasting achievement was standing-up for black rights at a time when racist views were unwilling to change. His self-sacrifice and public persona undoubtedly shaped the post-1970s. Sadly, another iconic figure from those heady and optimistic days is gone.

As an aside, the funeral will be conducted in the Islamic ritual. Jews in particular may be surprised to see the similarities between our two faiths in this life-cycle event.

Separately, in October 2015 a series of nature photos were taken to highlight what is called Sacred Geometry, showing a perfect symmetry built-into our world. For a stunning look at these inspiring images, please click here.