O’s Success Tips: You Are Part Of The Solution
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It was a plane crash that started it all. One single plane crash, pushed an entire nation past its realm’s of logic into the treacherous depths of hatred. Hatred that resulted in the mass slaughter of millions of Rwandans. Victims of a senseless war, victims of their own culture, victims of their own skins. Victimized victims. Rwanda cried endlessly for help. But nobody heard their cries, nobody saw the injustice, nobody felt their pain and nobody smelt the blood that flowed freely through the land. Nobody wanted to. After all Rwanda was but a small inconsequential country.
Amidst the blatant acts of injustice and cries of hopelessness one man rose. Armed with nothing, but his tongue, protected by nothing but his faith, motivated by nothing but his conscience. He stood up, when he could have sat down. He spoke out, when he could have been silent. One man at the risk of his own life gave hope to twelve hundred Rwandans, holed up in a hotel that could barely fit 200. Twelve hundred Rwandan’s trembling with fear from the sounds of their own people senselessly murdered and slain outside the hotel walls. And always wondering when it would be their turn.
With their souls hungry for justice and their bodies dehydrated from thirst, they searched within the hotel walls for relief. Their bodies were hydrated with water that accumulated in the hotels swimming pool, and their hungry souls fed by words from the one man that dared to stand up. Everyday for 100 days he uplifted the lost with his words. No weapons, no money, just words. Words of hope.
In 1994 the African country of Rwanda saw nearly one million people slaughtered in exactly 100 days. Our world with its 24 hour news stations chose to turn its head. But in their time of sorrow, a handful of heroes rose to defy the hatred that stained the land. Paul Rusesabagina was one of them.
When the plane carrying Hutu president Juvenal Habyarinma was shot down, civilians began slaughtering every Tutsi they could find. Paul a Hutu was never in danger and could have easily fled to oblivion, but his conscience could not bear such an injustice. He sheltered more than 1200 Rwandan’s for 78 days in a run down hotel. A hotel with no electricity and no water, the only sign of light came from Paul’s voice. Which he used everyday to fight for the lives of the Rwandan’s in his care.
The first time I read this story I was moved. Like many I was oblivious to the 1994 genocide that took place in Rwanda. But who could blame me, Rwanda was miles away and there was little I could do to help. But then I realized something, Rwanda was but a magnified version of what our society is today. Everyday we are surrounded by acts of injustice, the co-worker in the abusive relationship neglected by family or the hungry orphan roaming the streets but ignored by government. These people cry everyday for justice, but nobody ever seems to hear them.
I struggled to come to terms with a society that so easily turns its back on its own people, I wanted to know why injustice like this went unnoticed. I searched deep down but never could quite figure it out, until I came across the words of Von Ebner-Eschenbach. She gave me an answer to the question that had plagued my mind. “Privilege.” The greatest enemy to justice has and will always be privilege. People including myself are blinded victims of the dazzle of privilege. Privilege that prevents us from seeing the injustice that occurs everyday around us. Now I’m not asking you to go out on the street and search for that neglected orphan roaming the street. What I’m asking is that we make it a point to change our current mentality. A mentality that paralyzes us from taking action because we sit in positions of privilege.
One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstien; he says “No problem can be solved with the same mentality that created it.” The problem in Rwanda was created by inaction, the same inaction that is responsible for our current society’s problems. Today am asking that we not only change the mentality of inaction but that we also replace it urgently with action. Only then can we truly make a stand against injustice.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” Martin Luther King
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