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Tristan Blythe: Can we build a better world?

01 Nov 2023 Voices

The images of the violence and devastation in Israel and Gaza that have dominated our screens and newspapers over the past few weeks is truly heartbreaking.

It is clearly a difficult situation that evokes strong reactions, but what cannot be forgotten is that it is civilians that have borne the brunt of these horrific scenes. Although a long-term solution to the already existing tensions seems further away than ever at the moment, there is a real human toll and a humanitarian duty which needs to be remembered and acted upon.

Sadly, as Charity Finance went to press, this seems to have been pushed down the agenda as the situation continues to escalate.

Like the outbreak of war in Ukraine in 2022, this is a world event that UK charities have been quick to respond to. A number of international aid charities have launched fundraising campaigns to help them get humanitarian aid to Gaza.

It can only be hoped that this aid reaches those in need quickly, and that the current conflict acts as an impetus to both sides realising that retaliatory violence won’t lead to a lasting peace which benefits ordinary citizens in Israel and Palestine, and drives out extreme groups.

This, of course, may be dismissed by some as wishful thinking (and, of course, it won’t be easy). However, if we cannot even conceive of a better world then it is impossible to chart a path to it or take the action needed to create it.

All charities are in some way doing this. They have seen a problem in society that needs solving and act every day to try to address it.

This does need to be done with a healthy dose of realism and practicality, alongside the belief that situations can improve.

This kind of change is never easy, and the length of existence of some charities demonstrates this. However, we all must strive to take even small actions as individuals and bold actions as charities.

As has been covered before, charities have recently been criticised in some quarters for speaking out and campaigning. Yet, for many, this is a core part of their mission and reason to exist. Charities are experts in their areas and society needs them to have a strong voice on a range of issues to inform decision-makers. Obviously, charities cannot not be party-political, but political parties should be listening to them if they want to build a better society and world.

Tristan Blythe is the editor of Charity Finance 

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