Leaders make a difference! My grandfather was a Judge. He was part of the gentry in his town, a classical right wing, catholic bourgeois. But, during the IInd World War, something was increasingly disturbing the peace of mind which sounded natural for this farmers’ grandson: “Even though the news and other credible source of information remain silent, I can’t ignore the rumour suggesting that something potentially horrible is happening to our Jewish compatriots once they have been deported…” So he looked by himself for alternative sources of information, until he could make his mind up. He then decided to create a network, with priests and nuns who would host Jewish children under changed name, after being falsely condemned for actions they had never committed. This would make it easier for their parents to escape the killers and come back, should the War “end up well”. He escaped the camps but his best friend, the priest E. de Soil, who had helped him create the ring, didn’t. When the war ended, the only thing that was left from him (his name doesn’t even appear in a Google search…) was this bed foot in which he had engraved the symbol of his Faith, the reason why he had, knowingly taken such a stand, which cost him his life… But, in their uncelebrated story, E de Soil and E. Marlier have made a difference in the life of those they saved. I would like now to bring to your attention or remind us, of some of those who made a real difference in 2017 to the lives of many simply by taking a stand.
Here is to those, sometimes uncelebrated, Human Beings who made a difference in 2017. Let them serve as a source of inspiration to us all, responsible for businesses and ultimately for the fate of thousands of people and families:
- Ameen Mokdad (Iraqi violin player) who kept his art going in Mossul even in the darkest moments…
- The Bag Cleaners (a US dry cleaning company) who demonstrated a smart and useful generosity for job seekers.
- Clayton Cook (Canadian groom) who jumped into the water, during his wedding to save a nearby child who was drowning.
- Daniel Moser, (Swiss mechanic), my brother in law, fighting endlessly against a lethal brain cancer but determined to win that war… The example he gives us all is humbling and a Lesson He is undergoing the last chance operation today…
- Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Argentinian Medical Doctor), whose death 50th anniversary was in 2017. For being faithful to his dream and ideal and refusing the “easy way out” that staying in Cuba after winning the Revolution could have meant.
- Fernando Álvarez (Spanish Swimming Master) who had requested in vain at the World championship in Budapest, one minute of silence for the victims of the Barcelona Terror attacks and who took a stand, literally.
- Rose McGowan (American actress) who was one of the first to have the courage to stand up against humiliation, fear and law of silence. She and other “Silence Breakers” are Time persons of the year 2017.
- Hervé Pizzinat, (Headmaster of a school in France), who, although he had been shot himself, saved the lives of the attacker and the many children the heavily armed adolescent was determined to kill…
- Imam Mohammed Mahmoud (Finsbury Mosque Imam) who courageously saved the life of the racist attacker who had plowed in the crowd with his van and was about to be lynched…
- Jay Silveria (US Air Force General) taking a public stand against bullying and racism: “The power of Diversity makes us such a stronger team!)
- Marc Krajekian (US amputated tennis player) who beat cancer, which cost him his right leg and played Roger Federer at the US Open…
- Jemima Layzell (British schoolgirl and parents) who through her organs’ donation, permitted to save eight lives in the UK.
- Lionel Messi (Argentinian and World football superstar) who hasn’t forgotten that his job was to let the dream persist in children…
- Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, Ricky John Best and Micah Fletcher (train commuters Portland Oregon) who paid with their lives the fact of protecting two adolescents against a racist attack by a Nazi sympathizer, wielding a knife in Portland Oregon.
- jOhnny Hallyday, (French Music Icon), who died in December, for the story of his life and because he was an exceptional stage performer.
- Pamela Anyoti Peronaci (Ugandan idealist) because this Lady saves lives in her country by turning poor farmers into real professional agricultors, in order to sell their production all over the World. Support her and her brand, Asante Mama.
- Queen of Beauty and Philanthropy (Congolese Model Noella Coursaris Musunka), who pursues her dream and belief that Africa will improve through education of its young people. I encourage you to watch the site of her Foundation Malaika and sponsor a child as I do.
- Dr Rebecca Dali (Nigerian Medical Doctor) who endlessly works at recomforting and rebuilding the lives of the young women abducted by Boko Haram, at the peril of her life.
- Cyndi and Jesse Swafford (US parents) who could not give birth to their own children and instead decided to save those of others…
- Thabo Sefolosha, (Basketball NBA Star) Switzerland’s iconic Basketball star, playing in NBA who saved a woman drowning in a River (October 2017).
- US National Anthem and Football players (Colin Kaepernick, US American Football Player), because I admire and respect their stand (even though a National Anthem is sacred) which is a powerful reminder of Tommie Smith and John Carlos similar protest in Mexico 1968.
- Venezuelian… (cross country skier) Adriano Solano for truly showing courage and resilience at the face of the World.
- Buzios Whale (Buzios is a beach resort near Rio de Janeiro), see how a whole village mobilized during over 24 hours to successfully save a stranded whale…
- X (for unkown or anonymous) for one of my preferred heroes, Banksy, the British Grafiti Artist who still manages to be unknown as his identity but has so much more impact in that manner.
- Malala Yousafzai continued her crusade in 2017, for the education of girls throughout the World.
- Zimbabwe: Betty Makoni who founded the Girl Child Network, a charity which cares for Zimbabwe’s young sex abuse victims, continues to rescue young victims of Barbarism and lack of education (35,000 girls).
My partners, associates, companions, friends, colleagues and myself look forward to reconnecting with you next year!