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February 12, 2013

Commemorating history – Past and Present

Tue, Feb 12, 2013


Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty, truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth – William Faulkner{{more}}

It was to be another ordinary day, filled with talk of how to successfully alleviate unrest and bring about mutualism to religion and nations of different kinds with the use of non-violent methods. Outside a building, he stood with some family members awaiting the commencement of a prayer meeting. One! Two! Three! … Shots rang out. He died on the spot. He was Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi.

His hopes were on high. Today would mark another day where he would lead his fellow men to stand up for their rights. He was going to lead a march of sanitation workers protesting against their low wages and poor working conditions. Standing on a balcony to project his voice, a rifle pointed, aimed and fired. Struggling to stabilize himself, he felt it lodged in his neck, the single paralyzing bullet that ended his life, by the time he reached the hospital. He was Martin Luther King Jr.

Well known worldwide for fighting against the Taliban for the education rights of girls at a very tender age, she won the first National Youth Peace Prize for her country. Stopping at no cause to be heard and braving the consequences that followed, she was shot in the head a few months ago by the Taliban. Did she die? No. Escaping death by a few inches, as a bullet entered just above her left eye, into her brain, grazing her jaw. God spared her life for a purpose, as her job on earth was not complete. Having undergone surgery to correct her skull and hearing, she promised to keep on fighting, despite the Taliban’s motive to stop at no cost until she is found dead. She is Malala Yousafzai.

Eager, enthusiastic and young, she anticipated and relished the opportunity to indulge this moment — regardless singing in front of thousands for the second inauguration ceremony of President Barack Obama. She had goals, a bright future, was an honour student and even had thoughts of getting involved in politics some day. Her performance was heartfelt and sincere. Three days later, back at her school, while talking and walking with some friends, she was gunned down and died on the spot. This devastating murder took place less than a month ago. At the tender age of fifteen, her name was Hadiya Pendleton.

The list can continue to identify those who have sacrificed their lives and succumbed to the brutality of fellow men exacting revenge on them for trying to promote and enlighten their brethren to fight for their human rights. It is a discomforting thought to harbour when comparing fifty years ago to the present that crime and violence have extremely increased so much that people find amusement in taking lives for trivialities.

Why is it that when individuals seek to advocate right, they end up being wronged? Stipulated and emphasized in the constitution of each continent, state or country is the right to freedom of speech and the ability to exercise one’s opinion. Yet, if a person’s ideas pose a threat to one’s power or stance, one of their first motives to silence them is eviction. How can one find it fit to end the life of his brother who is only trying to make him a better man regardless of his age, race, religion or class? It is not where we come from, but where we are going and what is in our hearts that makes us.

To read these stories and simply summarize them is only an emblem of what really lies behind them and it brings about tears when one can truly understand that these situations happen right before our eyes and we cannot do anything about them. Or can we? No matter how desolate, God has a reason for everything. Accordingly, we have all been blessed with a mission on earth. Resultantly, it is expected that we fulfil this mission for the enhancement of our humankind, rebuke them when wrong, as well as paying our debts to God for what he endured for us.

Elizabeth Bullock