Posts Tagged ‘Dr Bernardo’s’

Words of Wisdom from Ancient Persia

March 19, 2015

One of the great kings of the ancient Persia Empire stressed his commitment to maintaining social harmony and justice in an inscription carved into one of his monuments. I can’t remember whether it was Cyrus or Darius, but that particular shah-in-shah boldly stated: ‘It is not my will that the strong do harm to the weak. It is not my will that the weak do harm to the strong.’ The Persian Empire, like most of the empires of the Ancient Near East, was a feudal states, which included slavery. Nevertheless, Darius was careful to restore and respect the rights and religions of the various nations he had conquered through his defeat of the Babylonians. And it also shows that the Persian emperors recognised that the poor also had rights, which needed to be respected and protected against depredation and exploitation by those higher up the social hierarchy.

Similarly, Deuteronomy in the Bible demands charity and contains a number of laws to provide support for the widow and the orphan. These include not harvesting the margins of fields, so that families without a male provider could use them to get some food. Other ancient nations in the region also included laws to protect the fatherless in their law codes, while their rulers also boasted of their concern to protect the widow and orphan.

This was millennia ago, and seems now to have been entirely forgotten. Dr Barnardo’s, a British charity set up in the 19th century to care for orphans, said two days ago that there was now no safety net welfare provision in Britain. Despite Cameron’s and IDS’ pious sputterings, the widow, the orphan and the poor are not being protected and supported. Cameron, Clegg and the rest of the Tories and their Lib Dem enablers really do want to take us back to the early 19th century, when the poor could be allowed to starve, or forced into the ‘New Bastilles’ of the workhouses.

Perhaps it’s time we ignored their specious pretexts for their persecution of the bereaved, the sick, disabled, unemployed and marginalised, and went back to the great maxims of the ancient world. And judged the Tories, UKIP and Lib Dems accordingly.

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