Last night I got to do something special, something that's pretty much a once in a lifetime kind of thing for, well, us regular people. I got to be in the presence of the Dalai Lama!
He came to Syracuse for what we first billed as the Common Ground for Peace Conference, which was held during the day at Syracuse University on the 8th and 9th, and then concluded Tuesday night with the One World Concert at the Carrier Dome, which had maybe 15,000 or so souls inside, which was broadcast all around the world on many cable networks.
I went to the concert, which included a long presentation by the Dalia Lama himself, wearing a Syracuse University visor; that was pretty cool! This man, 77 years old or so, has a great sense of humor, and it was interesting hearing him talking about peace and love and nonviolence. Every once in awhile he had to ask the person on stage with him how to say a certain thing, and when the man said it in English the Dalai's response would be "like that", since he knew everyone else could hear what this man was saying.
The Dalai Lama
When it was time for the music, a little that was before his presentation then a lot afterwards, what you saw was a group of people from all around the world who came together and sang songs about peace, love, and motivation. I'm not going to lie; I didn't like all of them, probably not half of them. The majority of acts I'd never even heard of, and when this guy Dave Matthews came out onto the stage I had no idea who he was; man, I felt old.
But those acts I knew I wanted to hear were outstanding. And some of the acts I didn't know were very good as well. But as I said, they were from all around the world; talk about diversity. Of course there were a lot of American acts, but did you know that Engelbert Humperdinck, who seemed a strange addition to the show initially, is actually from what's known as British India, the term used for those born in India when the British ruled?
You had him, a younger Indian group, an Afghanistan group, a native American artist and Grammy winner, a couple from Africa (one who stated he was a former Lost Boy), someone from South America, and the most interesting pairing on the night, a duo featuring a singer from Israel and a singer from Iran, stating that it was the first time ever to have a pairing of people from those two countries singing together on an international stage, and a small choir of Muslim girls living in Israel and Jewish girls living in Arab countries who came over to show that people from diverse cultures who aren't taught hate can live in peace and harmony together.
Frankly, you couldn't have had a better night in showing the world that diversity can work, that you can bring together people from all types of cultures and have them unite for a common goal.
Strangely enough, the only quote that I remembered from the night came from a man named Oren Lyons, who is "Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation and a Chief of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Haudenosaunee," made a statement that really touched me, and the one I'm closing my commentary on:
"Peace is a dangerous occupation."
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