Free speech and standing up for our rights

When we talk about the impossibility of the thought that “I” can possibly make a difference – as though every human being has been reduced to a worthless, minute, nihilistic drone – it really does seem absurd that some even choose to carry on with life.  – For what?  Complete defeat?  To see the end of our existence?  To watch the fire we started burn to the ground?  – Life isn’t about stemming the flow of its sands slipping through our fingers by filling our heads full of distractions offered and fear to consume, even though an alien observer might be convinced that this is humanity’s current case on earth.  Certainly not.

As we sit in circles, ride buses, drive cars or shout over beers about a pointlessness to stand up and fight, do we miss the real point that the very fact that such conversations have arisen means that there’s some piece of us that sees the reason, and more ears than we imagine willing to listen to our views, share our grievances, and even do something more about it, as one united force?

There must have been a stage when you stood up for something? – Even your local sporting team, or a pretty drunk girl being accosted by ugly drunk youths, a small neglected dog in the throes of starvation, being hounded by hungry flies?  So why is it so hard for us to speak out as individuals against things that really matter?  – Like injustice, greed and the state of our home.

Where I live – in Thailand – the police (usually authorities that serve the people) ride around on shoddy motorbikes or in shakily speeding utility vehicles (when they can’t just set up a roadblock), looking for excuses to demand bribes from foreigners and locals alike.  – For anything.  – For being too far away from home, for imagined drunkenness, for being in some police officer’s jurisdiction, or simply so you can leave and be free for the evening.  Pushed headlong into the ground to survive on minimum wages by the longest-reigning, richest royal family in the world, you can almost understand why the cops seek to bolster their pitiful monthly incomes, as you wonder how it got so out of hand.

It’s not at all uncommon for the police commissioner for an area to seek hundreds of thousands of Thai Baht in bribes just so a nightclub for example, can operate its normal expected trading hours without fear of being raided, having contraband placed on its premises, and being shut down.  And everyone must lie with their hands behind their backs as one man collects millions each month, passing it on to a few authorities below him, offering nothing but a threat and a wave over his shoulder at the rest of a grovelling, struggling, poor population, its highest authorities failing them, while maintaining an atmosphere of full respect from society.

It is a similar fear that keeps many lips glued shut, in countries all over the world.  – It’s abnormal to speak out or go against the way things are – to upset the ‘status quo’.  Or so we’re told, or so we’re forced to believe…

A friend was telling me that he once got pulled over by the police, who leered into their car and asked him what they were doing driving around the area, as though it was forbidden to pass through the road they travelled almost every other day unhindered and unquestioned.  As soon as he realised what was happening, another person in the car pulled out his phone and began to take a video of the police officer engaging in the process of procuring a bribe.

The police officer’s actions halted in their tracks, amidst screams of “Delete!  Delete!”  – probably fearing a multitude of reprimands, worst of all at the hands of the very king that would see to ensure that this culture of corruption never be fully exposed.  – The police officer now as fearful as every other pawn in Thai society.  Squashed by their apparent defiance, their carload was waved on by a panicked, frantic, helpless cop.  The cars occupants shone with glee.

So?  Why do you keep your mouth shut?  Why not take out your phone and document some deceit or greed?  Especially when it’s so easy?  Why not speak up?  In this case, the reward was instantaneous – the proud situ-journalist helping to avoid a bribe – but that’s not to say that it’s only worthwhile fighting for some immediate gain.

Even though the necessity to speak up is immediate, if we lost our fear to raise our voice in support of our beliefs, views or morals (fear instilled in us by the powers controlling our corporations and the media, for example) – or against injustices or unfairness or grievances in our lives, overstepping authorities and bloated, self-interested superpowers, we could slowly but surely create a momentum that would awaken the world to realise that we’re all free to think for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

It’s as simple as opening your eyes, speaking your mind, freeing your thoughts and sharing them with everyone you can, with a view to imposing them on those that ought to listen most.

“I” won’t be heard if “I” won’t utter a word.

Ill probably be advised not to let these words see the light of day, but now you know.  In any case, your fight needn’t necessarily manifest itself in a piece of prose or a gallant call to protest at a public gathering.  It needn’t even be about something as concerning as what has been spoken of here.  What’s most important is that we speak up about the things that matter to us, and to you, yourself – as simple as they may seem.  More importantly, we should be speaking up about the things that connect us most, like our hearts, our heads and our home. Because we are all one, in this together, and momentum gathers force, like a snowball rolling downhill.

The small corrupt few ruling our lives aren’t waiting for us to catch up, they’re watching the smoke rise from the waste that their greed is leaving behind – selfishly thoughtless of the future and the generations to come, as the world’s majority cowers in fear of the mirage of their might.  Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

When you wonder about it, when you just can’t agree, swallow it, understand, or you feel that something just isn’t right, we must stand up and fight to be what we really are –   alive.

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