Richard L. Provencher
A spillage of media sadness through images and detailed stories of defects
in human society hit all of us like a flood of tears. We are inundated with
explosions, people hurrying in fear, faces often blood-splashed. And we can
imagine the whine of ambulances in a-frenzy.
These details threaten to overcome our inner strengths, subdue our passion
for living, and the question is- How to protect our loved ones and the
society in which we are so comfortable? Will it require our high tech
capabilities, or Repressive monitoring of our daily movements in society?
In most of Europe, and definitely in North America we have so much largesse
the balance of the world looks to us with envious eyes. And we begin to use
our well-financed armies and technology to secure a screen of false
ointment that really only protects our physical structures.
Within our minds and hearts, we harbor a new fear that what we have become
accustomed to in our lifetime is now threatened by unknown forces and the
faces behind these actions are not only disruptive, but we do not
And so these threats continue to leap from the pages of our newspapers
showing colored pictures of devastation through bombs, bullets and the
deliberate cause of unwanted human anguish.
Surely we know building fences, which segregate countries, ie Israel and
Palestine; and the securing of airways at international airports simply
presents morsels of opportunity for those dedicated to roles of violence.
I believe too many individuals, thinking they were suppressed from a
lifetime of opportunity have simply have given up their dreams for societal
change. And I believe we should give some of their children a chance at the
brass ring of life.
Unfortunately, many of their parents have little education and a lifetime
of sad memories. And all that is left is the capture of an occasion, a
brief entrance on the pages of an inky newspaper, moments of rapture such
as the Irish gunmen, Mid-East suicide bombers and others who gave up on
mankind and discussed co-operative gestures.
In the name of Nationalism they seem to feel these highly visible actions
are precious moments of fame as they try to change the world. Sad to say
they do not fully appreciate how much they are really destroying it. And,
too often, innocent civilians are caught up in misjudgments, such as
Afghanistan, Bosnia and the September 11 tragedy in New York City.
Faith is the heartbeat of the world; Religion and Tradition sometimes a
chain not only around our ankles, but may hinder positive relationships.
Can we survive without love for each other regardless of gender, age, color
or background? No! We need Faith & Prayer Houses around the world as
participants with a common mission come together in strength and go on to
present a vision of fellowship in the world.
Something must be done to accomplish a sense of peace in our world.
I believe FAITH & PRAYER are the key to this happening. My thoughts are
designed to place persons with oppositional views in a test situation where
they show a willingness to forsake total personal freedom on behalf of a
security conscious world.
We must look to other avenues than the rush to acquire new toys, electronic
surveillance equipment, increased policing and other modes of questioning
of all who come within their watchful eye.
I am against giving up all freedoms for a more secure world. It is simply a
shame we overreact to the damage being done by a small band of Rebels
intent on promoting their brand of justice. Yes, perhaps there will be a
small sense of security that something is being done mostly for political
gain. This, in my estimation is not a cynical view.
Simply, it is an opinion on the silliness of the modes of security used.
Some brilliant people, with misdirected intelligence, look to the hundreds
of millions of dollars spent as a challenge to their egos. And
unfortunately find ways to overcome these protective shields, in spite of
the myriad of costly surveillance newly imposed on a frightened target
The Model for security I suggest is based on dealing with the root issues.
I suggest the building of, or revamping seven edifice locations throughout
the world, with individual quarters situated around a common eating and
recreational area. Each building should harbor one representative from
seven major cultures in the world.
I truly believe Faith is a knowing and understanding of all things
possible. That a union of voices, humankind’s good will and co-operation
are able to be part of the tune. And the recognition of tremendous
abilities within the human race can be harnessed to achieve team goals.
As an example, this can take place in the setting up of Teaching Schools
situated in strategic areas of low tolerance. Where it is known and fully
understood that color and prejudice presents a problem. This may be in
Northern Canada, Mexico, United States, Soviet Union, Mainland Europe,
England or Africa.
Participants can be selected by a body within the United Nations as a model
for understanding, with curriculum developed to highlight individual
strengths, so they may teach tolerance for each other one day. I believe
forty-nine persons selected be a mixture of men and women not yet in
possession of a high school education, but possess untested capabilities.
They should be persons who hunger for a chance to get ahead and prove
themselves worthwhile citizens in this community of nations.
Prayer is the second foundation stone, which I believe most important in
the development of our ability to protect ourselves without sacrificing all
of our freedoms. After all, isn’t it true each army usually prays to their
God, usually before a most difficult challenge?
This is a most sensitive time when unwanted thoughts are usually erased in
pursuit of a personal bonding with their Creator.
As these selected young people reside in their Faith & Prayer sites they
can become role models for understanding each other. I perceive this
situation is where they give up all their freedoms, since they are now in
isolation from the familiar family and territory in which they were raised.
And hopefully through association, they may soak up the importance within
the lives and culture of each individual who now count as friends.
Accentuating a developed friendship over a seven-week period, plans may be
formulated to organize the next group of persons. All who complete this
mission can perhaps be offered full scholarships for further learning.
Some may contest my ideas as simplistic, and unworkable. How do they know?
I am a believer in the human soul and its ability to overcome, if the right
reason came along. All the high technology in the world cannot overcome the
The Americans did not subdue the Vietnamese people in their struggle, nor
the Russians break the spirit of resistance in the Afghan people.
Imagine if we could somehow bring together seven peoples from seven
distinct backgrounds, and have them learn from each other? Customs,
language, dress, artifacts and other significant cultural items could be a
part of their Kiosk built within these seven locations.
I do envision these buildings with a central area providing kitchen and
dining, entertainment and general meeting areas, including seven additions
for each participant. All the décor will be designed in their cultures and
provide a showcase for others to witness and enjoy.
There should also be interpreters available to assist and live in each
Faith & Prayer House. And also act as a ‘Mom and Dad’ couple overseeing the
participants in the program who should be between eighteen and twenty-five
years of age. We must begin a program with the ideals of the young.
I know this world has many gifted, and humanistic persons willing to be
part of something as positive and far reaching as this program. And I am
sure they would be delighted to live in and supervise the seven persons.
As to cost: Each country should have benefactors willing to underwrite all
or share in the constructions costs, and provision of food. International
companies should be pleased to assist with educational gifts on behalf of
those successful in completing the full program.
It would not be fair to restrict the movements and future employment of
these graduating candidates, but hopefully they will either remain with the
program in some fashion, or return to their country of origin. And they may
have a good influence on its future. Remember this is a long-term program
and worth the investment and organizing required. A year of planning, one
to build and recruit should be the time period before beginning programs
the third year.
And each candidate should provide a weekly report of their impressions to a
Board of Directors for each of the seven regions. The tiniest ripple in a
body of water does have significance.
Yes, we do have a choice between security and freedom. However I believe
too much security requires an abdication of our rights, and yet too much
freedom allows some to run amuck within the definition of their own
identity. They must not be allowed to hijack our future. And we also must
not allow too restrictive policing harness our own personal growth.
Ideas expressed here, begun on a small scale, can be carefully monitored to
see if this program is worthy of developing into a more meaningful
adventure. As humans we can conquer the moon. What about the earth?
And wouldn’t it be nice, if we did?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard L. Provencher was born September 10th 1942 in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, Canada, 650 Km NW of Montreal. Experiences as a Miner, Newspaperman, Welfare Officer, Social Services Administrator, and United Way Executive-Director, combine with a love of Nature to form the basis of his writing. He has many poems and short stories in print and Online in various Canadian, USA and other journals. His Juvenile, Poetry and Short e-Books are
online. Richard lives in Truro, Nova Scotia with his wife, Esther. They have four grown children.