United Nations

As a rule, I don’t follow world news anymore. It’s a matter of keeping my sanity intact, staying focused on, and buoyed by, the good (news) in my life and the world at large.

But once in awhile, it’s hard to avoid it completely; whether by virtue of a flecDSC05785k picked out of an eavesdropped conversation between friends, or when surfing online and stumbling upon a newsworthy headline.

Which is what happened yesterday, when I spotted a story about a UN resolution that passed by a majority vote, permitting the Palestinian delegation to raise a flag – a significant change in world politics (at least at the UN level).

The story – with support from some sides, doing battle with outrage from the other – reminds me of just how fractured the body of nations really is: Countries represented that, if left to their own devices and resources, might conjure up a whole lot more peaceful relations and harmony.

It reminds me also of how much more harmonious life can be.

Take my birthday dinner a few evenings ago: Seated around a ground-level table, guests from many corners of the world – 10 countries counted! – gathered together for good food and drink. I ‘forbade’ presents – but received a few gifts nonetheless. And since I was the birthday girl, I honored each friend with a gift of my own creation; a tiny rolled-up scroll, tied up with blades of grass, filled with expressions of gratitude to each one.

Then here’s what happened: Germany spoke with South Africa. Britain dialogued with Australia and Italy. The Netherlands continued a conversation with New Zealand. And while Russia fed (another representative of) Britain, Israel and Canada talked music – and hardly any politics at all. (The US  declined the invitation, citing health reasons).

Then something magical happened: Italy moved places to converse with Israel. Canada struck up a chat with Australia while Britain listened in. Russia and Britain (II) maintained their positions. And Italy moved across the floor (and table) – to engage with Israel.

DSC06749Nobody had to intervene.  Cultures didn’t clash. Still, you could hear a smattering of foreign (ie non-English) languages.  Sweet music to my ears.

Nobody had to blow whistles, bring in mediators, call a Security Council meeting or send in the (peacekeeping) troops.

Flags weren’t raised, bullets weren’t fired, lawyers weren’t called in.

We played a bit of musical chairs. (It was a birthday party after all!) But mostly, everyone stayed grounded.

It would seem that, right here in tiny Ubud, we, de facto, united nations.

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