Dr. Ursula Franklin

As we remembered the end of the first world war this November 11, we can also remember the catalyst that it provided for the second world war.  The perceived injustice of the settlement at Versailles in 1919 smoldered and fuelled the eruption of the second war in 1939, and the loss of 60 million lives in six brutal years of battle.  This week’s occasion brought to mind the words of a very wise woman who I wish I had the honour of meeting in person. 

Ursula Franklin was a humanist, physicist, and Holocaust survivor who often proclaimed that “Peace is not the absence of war but is the absence of fear, which is the presence of justice.” 

In a forced labour camp, Ursula experienced the unspeakable injustice of genocide and yet never lost her faith in humanity, with her philosophy of peace and peaceful use of technology shared with all who would listen.  Technology, Ursula observed, was reflective of a mindset and the truth of her perception could never be clearer than it is now.  Nor could the positive potential of the technological power that we have developed be more obvious, if only we approach it with a mindset of justice.

To read and understand more about Ursula’s philosophy, please visit Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursula_Franklin.

I first became active in the political process as a teenager inspired by the ideal of a just society, and I reactivated for more than a decade later in life.  When I was still active, a few years ago I was inspired by my Member of Parliament to speak about her friend Ursula in some remarks that I made to a small political gathering.  I was moved this week to look up my words, and wanted to share them and the remarkable story of Ursula on the occasion of this week’s Remembrance, because it is never too late to act to defeat cynicism which is our true enemy:

“Let’s join in common cause to seek and support those with whom we share a sense of justice, here on the common ground and in the common space that we share equally.  Let’s reflect the individual goodness that resides in the fundamental core of each of us, in unity of justice and purpose to make this world a better place.”

Here’s a salute to the Ursula Franklin’s of this world, who work to generate a positive difference for the benefit of us all!

Image of Ursula Franklin By Moxy at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10076272