Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities.
Life isn’t Always Fair
It is a lesson we have all learned. Sometimes fate turns around and bites us. But I have never seen this inequity so clear and so devastating, as I have over the last three months in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia from 1965 to 1967, a long time ago. It was an incredible experience for me, going from the University of California at Berkeley and California’s super-urban Bay Area to the then small upcountry town of Gbarnga, where I met Africa face to face and received so much more from the experience than I was able to contribute.
Afterwards, the terrible civil wars tore Liberia apart in a way that was incomprehensible to those of us who had lived in the country and had come to know her people and culture.
Recently, I began to feel more optimistic about Liberia’s future. There was hope. Liberia had known peace for ten years. Children were back in school. There was laughter in the street.
And then Ebola struck. Once again, Liberia teeters on the edge of chaos. How much more can the country take? Yes there are things we can do, must do, to help. But I can’t help thinking, over and over: isn’t it time that fate gives the people of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone a break?
Curt Mekemson @ Wandering through Time and Place
Half of the profits from Curt’s recent book, The Bush Devil Ate Sam and Other Tales of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia West Africa, will go to Friends of Liberia, a group of returned Peace Corps volunteers.
Wake Up and Think for Yourself
This year my sixty-seven year old country finally woke up. Millions of Pakistanis learned to think for themselves.
Four months ago, frustrated people stepped out of their homes and stamped their thoughts on the streets under the leadership of Imran Khan. Old men, housewives, students, and children slid open curtains of indifference and made history.
War is when your government tells you who the enemy is. A revolution is when you figure it out yourself. ~Anonymous
This year millions of Pakistanis learned about pain. Pain that transcends boundaries of flesh and geography. Pain that sets things into perspective. Love, family, home, and health. Everything else seems extravagant. You don’t expect to send your children to school and never see them again.1
We saw hope and held on to it tight. Perhaps too tight because it left blisters. We learned about healing as skins of faith quickly formed protective layers on our stubborn wounds. My people are even more stubborn.
This year I learned about victory. A victory that marks an end to our closed minds and blind hearts. I have seen my extraordinary people walk to hell and back. They tell me to keep going. Because that is exactly what they will do. They always do. And this revelation makes me realize our power.
I had a dream about you last night…and in it you said, ‘Chin up; it only gets harder.’ ~ Marshal Ramsay
Think. Question. Challenge.
Because once people begin to think aloud, they are impossible to ignore.
Nida S. @ on the road to inkrichment
- On 16 December 2014, terrorists ran down an Army public school in Peshawar (Pakistan), leaving 132 children and 9 members of the school staff dead in cold blood.
In Search of a Messiah
I have thought about poverty and inequality, and for me, there are no easy answers yet. Years of inequality, poverty, rising unemployment (indices to gauge development according to economist Dudley Seers), and insecurity, have made many Nigerians pant for a benevolent dictator, a fairy godmother with a magic wand to wave all our problems away, while we dance with the prince and midnight never comes.
In the lyrics of Bob Marley, Most people think great god will come from the sky take away ev’rything, and make ev’rybody feel high. I believe in The Messiah, but I don’t want to be guilty of a messiah complex. These days when someone offers me help, I ask why, I ask how, I ask what, I ask where, I ask how much. And, I keep asking until I understand.
The race for the 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria resembles a dem-all-crazy; they say we have to choose the lesser of two devils. Democracy delivers to us what we demand of her. Poverty and inequality like kwashiorkor, can make people swallow nutrition devoid of protein, and then roll over to sleep not realising death is waiting.
I have learnt that on the drive to my destination, it is unwise to hand over the keys of my life and snooze in the passenger seat. Going by what I read on social media it seems many have learnt this too. The challenge is to remind the driver that he is driving our car and so we decide where he goes and when he stops.
Timi @ Livelytwist
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