Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Why Would Someone Risk Everything to Make a Stand for Human Rights

Ken Wiwa, the son of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a human rights activist who was executed in November 1995 in Nigeria, asks in his book "In the Shadow of a Saint", "What is it that compels a man to risk everything - his life, his family, the lives of people around him - to make a stand for human rights?"

I am trying to answer this question. It is not religion. It is a deep horror of injustice that drives me to do something about it. It is also a feeling of being the only one to really see the pain and abuse, the feeling that not enough people are prepared to do something, or to take action...this is what drives me to take more and more risks. It is a feeling of not having enough time and of a job that is too large to complete. It is a feeling of living in the moment because tomorrow will be too late. It is a feeling of every life being precious and if nothing is done about the other out there, then nothing will be done about these around me. It is a feeling of "if I look out for those, then these of mine will be OK". It is a deep resentment of the abuse of others. It is a loathing of unkind and uncompassionate behaviour. It is the contempt for those who sit by and do nothing, knowing that while they look on they are as much to blame as the abuser and the oppressor. It is a feeling of frustration that pushes me to the limits of my endurance. It is an all-consuming love of the people, of those who need protection the most.
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