>The Battle for Recognition – Part 1

>Standing up for Human Rights and Spreading Justice


In my previous writing, peace statement I started off with the thesis; Peace without Justice is Oppression. That study and research has led me down and continually widening and branching rabbit hole of Politics, Economics and Philosophy. Recently my research has once again galvanized around a recurrent theme, that of personal recognition, as the basis of Justice.

Human society began a rapid transformation from authoritarian, totalitarian, top down regimes toward liberal democracy during what is commonly known as the enlightenment period of the 17th and 18th century. Over the past 400 years liberal democracy has emerged as the most stable and fair form of government the world over but this transformation has not been smooth. In most cases the old guard has not given up power easily.

The search for justice starts as a battle for recognition, an often bloody battle at that, where one person or group stands up to another saying; “I am Human too, show me some respect, recognize my humanity, I deserve the same rights as you!” How the powerful or favoured respond to that statement is all too obvious from even a cursory walk through history. It has led to, prolonged oppression, war and injustice.

The thesis which I intend to expand upon over the next little while is that; Justice lives when people recognize one another’s humanity.

Cain and Abel – The first Battle for Recognition

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” [d] And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Genesis 4: 2b-8.

Bloody battles for recognition have been a part of human history from the very beginning. As we see in this early story from the Bible Cain is searching for recognition both from God and his brother when he doesn’t get it he kills the one person who he perceives is standing in his way. The problem is that Cain still does not the recognition he so craves. Instead God threw him off the land and condemned him to life of hard labour. With God still not recognizing Cain and Abel gone there was no one left.

This is the dual paradox of the victorious; God is not interested in our petty jockeying for position and if I am victorious in a battle my fellow man is either dead or somehow less human in my site and therefore his recognition is meaningless.

In times of war, you often hear leaders – Christian, Jewish and Muslim – saying, ‘God is on our side’. But that isn’t true. In war, God is on the side of the refugees, widows and orphans. Greg Mortenson “Three Cups of Tea”.

Anthropologists and Sociologist agree that and Man is the only creature on earth that will risk his life for the recognition of other men. At some point during this battle he either loses his life or his need for self-preservation takes over and he becomes the subordinate of the other. Some will argue that some animals such as mountain goats and wolves also display this tendency. But the existence of the alpha male in the animal kingdom has nothing to do with prestige and everything to do with the strongest gaining access to the best food and mates. No mountain goat will continue to challenge the alpha to the point of death.

In human culture; this has been the origin of the master and slave relationship, monarchy, imperialism, and authoritarian/totalitarian regimes. Victory is hollow when receiving recognition from a vanquished foe. The human desire is to continue to find a more worthy adversary. Thus giving rise to ever expanding territorial wars that are the norm of history from ancient Rome to the Hapsburgs of Austria the Ottoman Empire, British and French Colonial Imperialism and the USSR in more modern times, to name a few.

It was not until oppressed people that were the foundations of these powers gained enough strength, through the enlightenment that these regimes began to crumble from the inside. Beginning in France and the USA, in the 18th century peasants started to demand equality and representation from their oppressors.

What was the enlightenment, how did it effect the development of liberal democracy and how is it continuing today in the developing world? Those are the questions that I will address in upcoming posts.

>My Peace Statement

>Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God.
Matthew 5:9 (TNIV)

Here we go. My first real blog entry…

Through the reading of Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine”; one of the things that kept coming back to me is a phrase that I coined about 10 years ago while sitting in church and listening to a sermon on peacemaking just after Remembrance Day.

Peace without Justice is Oppression

I grew up Mennonite and was baptised into the community of Nairn Mennonite Church, just north of London ON at the age of 17. Since the very beginning the Mennonite Church has officially declared itself to be a Peace Church. But when you make a declaration like that what you are really saying is that I want to protect Justice, otherwise you’re just ignoring and oppressing people with dissenting views. Peace is not simply the absence of war; it is the presence of justice and the absence of oppression.

Oppression does not have to be overt. I can be very subtle. If we aren’t careful majority rule or democracy in general can become distorted and look more like – biggest guns rule, elite rule, wealthy rule, or educated rule.

We in the wealthy West, or more accurately the North West are often times inadvertently waging a war of oppression on the developing regions of the world, mostly to the South and East of us. Over the past 30 years, and most rapidly since the fall of the Berlin Wall, governments, corporations and wealthy individuals have exploited the poor and uneducated in the developing world for their own gain. They have extracted natural resources and caused unprecedented damage to the environment, corrupted and interfered in local government affairs and generally ignored human rights all in the name of profit.

What are the oppressed people of the world to do? They do not have the resources to stand up to us economically, nor do they have the education or skills that are useful to the world wide economy, so they strike back in the only way they can. The world wide drive to globalization and homogenization of cultures through the economic domination of the North West has given rise to terrorism.

One of the things I have learned while exploring this Rabbit Hole is that we cannot continue to fight terrorism with guns. Greg Mortensen – founder of the Central Asia Institute and the chief driving force behind the building of over 50 schools in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which equally educate both boys and girls – has said as much to the US congress and the Pentagon in recent years. The war on terror should be fought with books, not bombs.

This has been a recurrent theme in all of my research to date. When we give the poor access to knowledge we can bring them into fuller participation in the global economy and help to greatly reduce terrorism and increase security. How we do that is the subject of further research and will no doubt pop up again in future entries.

Stay Tuned!

Recommended Reading “Three Cups of Tea; One Mans Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time” – Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin

>My Resume

>Mr. Lauren Christopher Sheil

Phone: 289-232-0270
Cellular: 416-768-0270
Email: woodsheil@rogers.com
64-333 Meadows Blvd.
Mississauga, Ontario L4Z 1G9

General Qualifications and Skills

Entrepreneurial- I started my first business at the age of 10, and have viewed every position since with a business owner’s eye.

Sales and profit driven- As a salesman and entrepreneur at various points in my career I have developed a keen understanding of the importance of both the top and bottom lines on the balance sheet.

Customer Service Minded- Building long term customer relationships is the key to maintaining and expanding any business.

Hard Working- From a very young age I learned to work until the job is done and done right. When required; come in early, stay late and don’t complain.

Adaptable- I strongly believe that the salesman or customer representative in any business should be flexible and knowledgeable enough to step in and complete any basic operational task on behalf of the customer.

Professional Experience

April 1999 to Sales Manager / Artist Relations
Present Indie Pool (Canada) Inc.
Toronto, Ontario CANADA

May 1997 to Customer Service Representative
October 2000 Oracle, The Assistance Group
London, Ontario CANADA

January 1995 to Owner / Partner
March 1999 Art-Tec Productions Inc.
St. Thomas, Ontario CANADA

May 1995 to Studio Operations / Recording Engineer
November 1994 Trans World Radio Inc.

August 1992 to Staging Technician
May 1993 Motivational Media Assemblies Inc.
Calgary, Alberta CANADA

In addition to the formal work experience listed here I also worked my way through much of my childhood and High School by starting and managing a 25 head rabbit farm. Starting at the age of 10, with the help of my father, I cared for the animals’ health and hygiene and ran a breeding program for meat production. Within 2 years my father’s involvement was no longer necessary.

During this time my animals were consistently recognized with the highest possible health and food safety rating by the provincial meat inspector.

Volunteer Experience

September 2000 to Board of Directors
June 2002 Southdale Chaplaincy
London, Ontario CANADA

September 2008 to Home Church Elder
Present Ginger Downs Home Church (The Meeting House)
Mississauga, Ontario CANADA

September 1991 to Audio Recording Engineer
June 1992 Vocational Certification
Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology
London, Ontario CANADA

September 1986 to Ontario Academic Certificate (OAC)
June 1991 High School Diploma
North Middlesex District High School
Parkhill, Ontario CANADA

>Introduction – Down the Rabbit Hole!

>Welcome to my Blog!

About 8 months ago my wife gave me a book that has forever changed my life.

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, chronicles the rise of Capitalism and Corporate influence throughout the world since the 1970s. Largely based on the theories of Milton Freidman and the Chicago School of Economics, Klien argues that economic expansion in developing countries has served multi-national corporations at the expense of human rights and built the entire economic structure of the 21st century on a very shaky foundation. The current world-wide economic structures have given rise to terrorism, spread diseases like AIDS and concentrated power not in the world’s capitals but in the world’s capitol.

Reading this book shook something in the very core of my being. At first I couldn’t begin to describe it; was it anger, sadness, frustration, confusion, or all of the above?

What I did know was that I had to learn more and the more I researched and studied the more I learned how much I didn’t know.

Studying how the world really works, from the point of view of economics, politics, business, technology, development, aid and eduction is like falling into a Rabbit Hole. It’s full of twists, turns and side tracks.

I have no idea how deep the Rabbit Hole is nor do I have any idea where it’s taking me. I might get lost in here for a very long time. So the purpose of this blog is to journal my thoughts, get feed back from anyone who is listening and find my way out again.

What I find on the other side will likely be a whole new way of looking at the world.

Join me – It’ll be fun!