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Seòmar agus comataidhean

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) [Draft]

Meeting date: Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Independence Referendum, Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Business Motion, Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill, Business Motion, Point of Order, Decision Time


Time for Reflection

The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is Theo Ogbhemhe, teacher of religious, moral and philosophical studies at Kirkwall grammar school.

Theo Ogbhemhe (Kirkwall Grammar School)

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you today.

In these difficult times of the pandemic, we should take the time and care to speak and listen to others with an open heart. Once we share our stories, joys, shared experiences, hopes and truths, we can connect and find solutions. This presents us with the opportunity to see the value of life and what it can be, seeing and appreciating the value in others with love in our hearts.

As the philosopher Bertrand Russell put it,

“Love is wise, hatred is foolish.”

We must learn to understand each other; we must learn to put up with the fact that we can live together only if we learn the types of charity and understanding that are vital to achieve the inclusive Scotland that we all desire.

The Dalai Lama recommends the path of compassion. For him, all traditions, cultures and religion share a common root, which is limitless compassion. They emphasise human improvement, love, respect for others and compassion for the suffering of others. In so far as love is essential in every tradition, culture and religion, we could say that love is a universal way of life, but the various techniques and methods for developing love differ widely between the traditions. As there are so many different types of people with a range of tendencies and inclinations, it is quite fitting that there are differences in how we express love. For me, love is always the right approach.

Scotland must continue to reflect on and understand her role in colonial legacies, which continue to impact the lives of many communities. Racism impacts our historical identities, and society in general. Our multiple intersecting identities around race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, neurodivergence, religion and class need to be much better understood in Scotland. We are heading in the right direction, in my opinion, and Scotland is ready for an inclusive and a more diverse future.

My dear MSPs, you all represent beautiful constituencies and different parties across Scotland, and you belong to the Scottish Parliament, striving to do your best for the people of Scotland. I wish you success and Jah’s itinual guidance and protection in your work to continue to entrench the Parliament’s core values of wisdom, compassion, justice, integrity, inclusiveness, respect and stewardship.

Thank you very much. [Applause.]