Sometimes it is really hard to stay out of public ‘events’, or at least to keep your personal opinions to yourself. Some people would probably say that not screaming and shouting is just the same as not having an opinion, being afraid, not being willing to stand up for a good cause, etc. But you know sometimes not taking part actually is a big expression of opinion. You do not always need to be at the front of a crowd to show support, and it is perfectly valid and allowed to do it in all of your actions in your daily life.
I, actually both of us, believe in equality, freedom of belief and freedom of speech, also freedom of actions when they come with respect for others and for sure without violence.
Oh, and why I am writing about this? Because, yes sometimes we do need to say things out loud and let some of our ideas go. It’s June of 2020, there are protests across the US and the world following the death of George Floyd. Maybe it is not enough to discuss the latest news and actions in connection with racism with John, Dad and Mom, but I feel the need to share them publicly.
We have laws to punish people who commit crimes, but the laws and the people who enforce them are flawed. We have problems with corruption across the world, because we too often let it go. The systems are not perfect and neither are any of us. Sometimes our egos, irresponsibility, and intolerance lead us to very bad actions.
It’s sad, but we all have so much intolerance for so many things…. for people of a different race, nationality, age, religion, or other beliefs. We have disrespect for others based on their position at work, social economic status, their choice of diet, and so many other really unimportant things.
No one asks to understand, believe in and follow all of the same ideas, but everyone or mostly everyone asks us to accept and tolerate one another’s choices. Really, who knows who is right and who is wrong when it comes to something like faith.
Justice, equality, and an integrated society is important to me. Surely separation should be long gone, it’s more than 60 years since Rosa Parks refused to give up a bus seat, and 30 since the end of apartheid, but we still divide ourselves. Sometimes I believe that by trying to support one group or another we make even bigger separations and create double standards. My skin is light but I have felt what it means to be the subject of racism. And you know, like Rosa, we were just taking a bus….
“Black lives matter”, yes absolutely they do, but it’s also ok to say that “all lives matter” as long as the all really is inclusive and not just reactionary. The black American unjustly killed by the police, a Syrian child caught up in a war, the Cambodian woman who is starving in a field, the Kenyan girl who is a victim of child slavery, the white American man who lives on the street, and everyone else, they all matter.
The fact is that a policeman killed a man who was not proven to be guilty of a crime (although his death would still be wrong regardless of any guilt). Other policemen stood near by, many people were in the street but no one stopped the policeman who was committing a terrible and senseless crime. His motivation for action was because of the colour of his victims skin, it was cold, cruel and evil. All of the world stood up loudly to make protests, and that’s a good thing, it’s right to react and show the values we stand for. What happened here was wrong, it should be avoided in the future, and it is right to be shocked and offended by it. The law is the same for everyone and each of us should be willing to stand up for that equality.
But all of the violent activities that have followed, other deaths, looting during protests, setting fire to police stations, and fighting against each other is not the right way to protest. Peaceful protests can express strength of feeling without causing so much anger and pain. Quite often they set examples that go around the world with respect and results, but without creating extra death and pain.
Sometimes violent protest are actually self-defeating, they polarise people and this ‘shock effect’ can be used against us in negative ways. Especially by politicians who are up for reelection and can use this instability to appeal to their own political base. Many generals in history have used the ‘divide and rule’ tactic, and it can be applied to politics, elections, and the economy.
I would like to mention a couple of, in my opinion, great examples of non-violent resistance. Firstly, the salt march in colonial India led by Gandhi. He was an extraordinary personality showing over many years the effect of non-violent resistance. Secondly, the ‘Baltic Way or Baltic Chain, three little Baltic nations linked hand in hand and standing against oppression in a line stretching over 670 kilometres. Then the Montgomery Bus Boycot led by Rosa Parks, which changed civil rights forever. Finally, our united approach against climate change activities. These are just a couple of examples of when non-violent actions bring change and results.
Then there is the question of whether we all protesting for the same reasons? Maybe some of the protesters actually don’t believe in what they are ‘fighting for’ at all, and will happily jump on any cause just because they want to create chaos…
As a species, we don’t have a peaceful past. Even though we have a lot be proud of, we also have a lot to feel shame about. We are in control of our future actions but it is had to forget and forgive for past occupations, colonisations, oppressions, comptemp for human rights, and crimes against humanity. But to forgive, although never forget, is what we need to be able to move on, letting the actions of people long gone go with them helps to create a better present and future.
There are wars still going on all ove the world, but after the media stops writing about something we tend to forget it. Many people claim to be for peace and to say no to wars, but investments in military are higher than in education. We talk about humanity, but many of these conflicts are caused by nothing more than greed, and end up with sending children out with guns to kill and maim. There are so many wrongs that we as human kind have created, but when they are not in the media spotlight, are we protesting about them?
To sum up…. Oh I don’t know even my safe bubble is damaged and I have to shout and scream (at least in writing). The fact is that having an awareness of what is going on, and not being afraid to speak up about it is important, as well as getting a full picture and the right objective information when we do. Words are powerful, and information is power so we need to use it wisely. We are responsible for setting examples, good examples, for standing up for the right things but not for making them worse with more pain. Not just when there are massive protests, but each and every day.
I am standing for justice and equality and tolerance, and I am doing it without violence. Do I need to explain myself to everyone? No I don’t.
I am standing for a world where we can all see that we are all equal. That we can all be dumb or smart, that we all laugh and cry, that we are all exactly the same and that we are all beautiful. The only difference is that a yellow colour dress looks much better on my darker skinned friend, and of that I am jealous!!!!