Hugging for world peace

30 Aug

Years ago Oprah did a show on random acts of kindness, unexpected good deeds, doing something nice for a total stranger.
Today, the random act of kindness seems to be on the rise. Recently, there was massive hugging in the streets of Amsterdam, as part of the Free Hug campaign, which originated from Australia in an anwer to social disconnectivity and lack of human contact. The idea is simple: write “free hugs” on a piece of cardboard, position yourself in a busy shopping street and open your arms. It happened to my mom in the city of Utrecht last year. “You’ll never guess what just happened: I was hugged by a nice young man!”. Beautiful right? Hugging a stranger for worldpeace.
In New Zealand, September 1st is National Randam Act of Kindness Day. Everyone is called upon to do something kind for their fellow citizens. The official website suggests paying for the movie tickets for the person standing in line behind you, sending a pizza to your local hospital reception, take a box of donuts to your local police station, mowing your neighbor’s lawn when they’re at work or offering to help carry someone’s groceries.
But you can also think bigger. Last Sunday, there was a fundraiser iftar held in Amsterdam. Started with a message on Facebook, it quickly turned into a huge event which ended up raising 25 thousand Euro for Somalia. “Cause isn’t that what Ramadan is all about, solidarity with the hungry?” said one of the organisers.
Speaking of Ramadan, this week Muslims celebrate Eid al Fitr, the ending of fasting. Another great occassion for a random act of kindness: baking cookies for your fasting friends, neighbors or co-workers.
One warning though: kindness is contagious. So know what you’re getting yourself into!

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