On Wednesday November 8th we woke up to snow everywhere and it was still snowing. I wondered what Piper would make of it. Would it put him off his walk? That did not prove to be the case. He was just as eager as usual for his walk; in fact he pulled me hard and was eager for his walk; I had to hang onto him to try and slow him down. I was careful to avoid going up slopes too much as it was slippery and I did not want to slip or fall again; my right wrist has not yet recovered fully from the time Piper pulled me over when he saw a squirrel and suddenly set off!! I sent up thankful prayers that I could still move my fingers so I knew I had not broken anything. Bruising along my lower arm soon appeared and I had to put strengtheners on my right wrist. I held on tight as Piper determinedly took me for a walk and I was just thankful that I managed to stay upright. The cold seems to have exaggerated the scents so Piper ran excitedly with his tail held high wagging with the excitement the scents engender. He loved running up to trees and jumping up about 3 ft into the air, barking at the squirrel he had seen climbing up seconds earlier; he seems to think barking will encourage it to come down to see him! Once home he still kept having to go out into the garden to experience the sunshine on the snow; rain firmly keeps him in, except when it is a walk.
On Thursday he was still enjoying the snow on the walk. He suddenly speeded up and I had to let go the lead, so I did not fall over. I soon retrieved Piper but somehow the lead had come off the harness! I could not find it in the covering of autumn leaves amongst which the light tan lead was totally camouflaged; rather like looking for a needle in a haystack. I had to walk to the local shops just holding his harness, so Piper was somewhat disgruntled at his more limited freedom of movement. When I got to the local shops I bought another lead to replace the lost one. Crossing the snow covered park area Piper suddenly started rolling in the snow with his tail wagging all the time; he absolutely loved it; it did make me laugh to see him. Piper brings us so much joy and fun!
On Thursday afternoon Judith Simpson came to talk about the work of Amnesty International. We sang, ‘O God our help in ages past’. Lynn read the poem, ‘Waste’ by Studdert Kennedy about the waste of war. Molly led the prayer. Judith said we probably all hate injustice, and felt the injustice when we were punished as a child. Those who speak up for the truth can be hurt, tortured or imprisoned. 2 Portuguese students were imprisoned for 7 years as they had raised a glass to freedom. The UN in 1948 declared a bill of human rights. It was the demonstration of the inherent dignity and rights of all the human family. All are born free and equal which is the vision of Amnesty International.
Judith reminded of how Cyrus the great allowed the slaves to go free and return to their own countries; there was freedom of religion too. The Magna Carta gave some rights to the Barons. The French Revolution fought for human rights of the ordinary people. Napoleon overthrew democracy and declared himself Emperor. Rights were fought for but only in Europe, not in other nations. Ghandi insisted that all human beings had rights not just the Europeans. Two world wars, the murder of millions of Jews made the world desperate for a change and the United Nations were formed to reaffirm faith in human rights. Roosevelt decided on the Universal Human Rights of being born free and equal with the right to food and shelter and many more. Human Rights is not enforced by law; it is optional for people to take up; it is still mostly words on a page. Who will make the words a reality? Martin Luther King did; Nelson Mandela did; those who fight torture, poverty and discrimination do. Human rights are choices we make every day as human beings to help and protect each other. We need to begin in small places; school; college; factory or wherever we work seeking equality, justice and dignity for human beings. We need to keep the candle burning until all are treated equally well.
Albert Wood was released on 19th February on his 69th birthday, having been in a Louisiana prison since 1971 for a minor offence. He had been in solitary confinement in a cell 6ft by 9ft for 23 hours a day for 44 years! He was framed with another two people. People had been working for 5 years to free him.
Judith explained that she belonged to a local group of Amnesty International, members of which meet twice a month to write to prisoners who are being tortured and held unjustly. They make a point of sending Christmas cards to prisoners in cells. It means so much to prisoners to receive a letter or a card.
We sang ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind’ to conclude the meeting. We then had a drink and a cake.
On Friday I helped at the Acorn Centre as usual, which I enjoyed. On Saturday we had a coffee morning for ‘Combat Stress’, a cause a late local preacher and one of the founder members of TOC H in Harrogate Bob Wise supported. –