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101 Columns in weekly newspaper FORUM in 2016 and 2017

Also available in the book 'Lichtpuntjes'

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Bright spots Terroristic attacks

When violence comes, the law of the jungle comes as well.


A eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Everything has already been said, shown, analysed. And yet. There are no words to
describe the terroristic outrage done to Brussels, Europe, the world. The spiral of
violence leaves us in shock.

The history of mankind shows many different forms of violence. In all centuries, in
all times. An ideology can change human beings into monsters, to whom lives of
other people have become worthless. Everything is sacreficed to a false interpretation
of patterns of thought, which reset the brain like poisonous snakes.


These violent young men and women have mothers. Mothers who cherished their
children, breast fed them, raised them, but wre forced to abandon them due to evil
forces and see them change into programmed machines.
A different culture is no excuse. No more than authorities stirring up hatred. Millions
of people flee and seek refuge because they can’t endure the suffering any longer.


Today hate and violence are entering everyone’s life. Those who lost their loved ones
so brutally and unexpectedly have no tears left . Those directly involved, but also
everyone who follows the news on radio, television, iPad or cellphone are
overwhemed by anger, impotence, despair and intense grief.


Impressive letters and articles are sent to the newspapers. Whole and partial solutions
are put forward. But who knows the answer?


Perhaps there is only one answer. And that’s a total change in mentality. It is the road
to tolerance, to freedom of thinking without hurting others. But that road is long and
impassable for many. Only young people may have the flexibility of mind to enter
new roads. It is a huge responsibility for everyone involved in the lives of youngsters
to show them how to pursue the course to a world in which respect and tolerance are


Child-soldiers are trained to murder, set fire, and to use force. Any moral sense is
oppressed. If this kind of brainwashing is possible, then the opposite should be
possible as well – convincing young people that another way of living, without
violence, is also possible. But that requires incredible effort and patience, lots of
understanding and love and an unremitting struggle against prejudices.


Can we bring ourselves to make such drastic changes?

Bright spots listening

Listening and hearing are not on the same wave-length.

Everybody has his own path. Every one of us will find their own way. Each path is
only one of a million paths (L.F.B.).


My daughter sent me the beautiful poem ‘Listening’.

At once I was caught by the name of the poet, Leo F. Buscaglia Ph.D. Years ago I
received one of his books that has been among my favourites since: ‘Living, loving
and learning’. It’s filled with marked sentences. Wordly wisdoms everyone of us
comes across one time or the other.


He taught me ‘I can be right, and you can be right. We both can be right.’
None of us has a monopoly on wisdom. You need to have confidence in the other
person to dare let go your own points of views, to open up to other opinions. This is
all based on listening, really listening, from which we can go on together.



If I ask you to listen to me and
you start giving me advice,
you do not what I ask you to do.
If I ask you to listen to me
and you start telling me
why I should not feel
what I do feel,
you do not take my feelings seriously.
If I ask you to listen to me,
and you think that you have to do
something to solve my problem,
you abandon me,
however strange that may seem.
So, please just listen to me
and try to understand me.
And if you want to talk,
wait a while and I promise you
that I, in turn, will listen to you.


However, true listening is hard. We all are eager to tell our own stories so we forget to
listen. It isn’t always easy to hear and to understand the nuances, the hesitations, the
careful balance between divulging and being reticent, between asking for attention
and giving attention.


There is one word that sets right any awkward attempt or misunderstanding. And that
word is LOVE. Let your heart speak and radiate love and all failures will be forgiven,

Song by Eva Wiselius

Singer-songwriter, Eva Wiselius, wrote the following song in response to the column Listening.

March 16th 2019

Luister, alsjeblieft
Praat even niet
Probeer me te begrijpen

Luister, alsjeblieft

Praat even niet,

Voel je wat ik voel


Hoor je mijn gedachten

Als je in mijn ogen kijkt

Zie je de woorden

Die ik zeggen wil


Als je naar me toekomt
Met een hart, met een verhaal

Zal ik ook horen wat je zeggen wil

Luister, alsjeblieft
Laat mij niet in de steek

Door er te zijn,
maar niet te horen wat ik zeg

Luister, alsjeblieft
Ik ben er ook voor jou

En als jij praat
Kijk ik niet van je weg

Hoor je mijn gedachten

Als je in mijn ogen kijkt

Zie je de woorden
Die ik zeggen wil

Als je naar me toekomt
Met een hart, met een verhaal

Zal ik ook horen wat je zeggen wil

Ik zal horen wat jij zeggen wil

Bright spots Friendship

Friends come and go, but friends of the heart stay with you a lifetime

A four-leaf clover is hard to find. A real friend also.

Truel friendship goes hand in hand with the freedom of asking, saying, doing and being.

Looking back on old friendships my time perspective can play tricks with me. Events long gone seem
to be deeply rooted in today. As if they happened yesterday. The reverse happens also. Yesterday
seems ages ago because details have faded. How selective are we? What is the reason why a trivial
incident remains settled in our memory forever? And other, in our eyes less important events, sink into

There is still so much to discover in our brain, although new processes are being unraveled every day
and new insights are being developed. Mankind made an enormous jump in the past 1000 years. But
then again. We haven’t lost our primitive instincts at all. Our impulses win the battle over reason. We
still grant no space to other views. We feel very strongly about empathy, but when it really comes to
the point, we will hide in our own unshakable points of view.

What has this to do with old friendships?
It’s a natural process to lose old friends. There are countless reasons for that. Equally, there are enough
arguments for friendships to survive the ravages of time. People who realize the importance of old
friendships in their lives are happy people. Friends who know your roots, know who you were as a
child, were with you during your development through the years, mutually. Friends who put things into
perspective, correct you, with whom you can be yourself at all times and with whom you never run out
of words.


All the same, in spite of mutual good intentions, any friendship can get off the rails. One train goes on,
whereas the other stays in the depot. However, there may be a moment when both trains travel to the
same destination, simultaneously. Why not wave to each other. Why not get off at the same station for
a short stop. Why not bridge the years, not by looking backwards but by travelling together from there
on. Wish each other a good trip or travel. (Or, as we say in our family, a good ‘flip’).


Little jokes in families and between friends, moving on to next generations, add to mutual well being.


Yvonne Mulder

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