As a teenager I wrote this passage that has stayed with me over the years
“Close your eyes
Pretend you cant see… and perhaps it will all go away”
I have grown up now. I have seen things that nobody should have to see. Not because we should pretend they are not there, but because the things I have seen should not happen. I have held a dying alcoholic in my arms. I have bound the wounds of too many children who have attempted suicide. I have seen kids drugged, whether they did it to themselves or others have done it to them to use them. I have been on the wrong end of a gun more than once. I have seen the inhumanity that man is capable of inflicting to his fellow man.
I have grown up now. I am not so inwardly focused that I think “If I feel OK then the world is a good place”. I have become outwardly focused. Since doing Ethics at Uni, and then Sociology, I have become morally and socially aware and responsible. I understand now how others become social or political activists. I have become outraged at the way people treat others. I want to scream from the mountaintops for people to open their eyes and not just accept what they have been told in the media, or by politicians who have their own agenda.
Now this is by no means a religious spiel, but I think Jesus had the right idea. LOVE ONE ANOTHER. If we love one another and care what happens to fellow humans, regardless of their skin colour, sexual orientation, gender, disability or deformity, or any other discriminatory factor, then wouldn’t the world be a better place?
It is not enough that I personally do what is right towards others. I should not keep silent when I see others being treated with less rights or dignity than someone else. I cannot leave it to someone else to voice their opinion while i silently nod my head in the background.
My passion has become justice. Justice for everyone. This is not just in terms of retributive justice; that is punishing someone who has committed an offence, but ensuring that each person is treated fairly and justly. And if a law is wrong, then protest and petition for the law to be changed.
There is a difference between what is legal and what is right. I am committed to become an advocate to upholding that which is morally right.
When I studied ethics, I championed the cause of those held in detention when attempting to come to Australia as Asylum Seekers. Ethics opened my eyes to so many injustices in the world. I am now passionate about aboriginal issues, immigration, slavery, oppression of women and inequality due to sexual orientation or gender identification. I am so ashamed at the way my country’s government treats others, espousing that what they are doing is legal.
It is up to every one of us, as citizens of a country, or citizens of the world, to not only do the right thing but to protest when we see an injustice. As a citizen of a democratic country, I can petition and protest my government and its representatives until action is taken. I can plead with them to act morally responsible and humanely in its dealings with people regardless of who they are, where they come from or how they got here.
I implore you, Open your eyes, don’t pretend any longer. It is only through action, that it will all go away.