“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men” “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth” said William Faulkner. Being suppressed by an entity powerful then us we lose the courage to use our tongue and that is the thing what makes us a coward. When an individual refrains from voicing his/her beliefs and becomes a passive observer of endless oppression he/she is as guilty of the crime as the oppressor.
Standing your ground for what is right is, thus, our moral obligation and efforts which are taken in distress are never gone in vain. Injustices in the world would never be hindered if there was no one to stop them. Take a look around and see innumerous people suffering, some being killed because of sectarian differences, some being crucified like goats because of the greed of power. Thousands have been killed in Quetta, million lives have been shattered and they have been forced to spend their whole lives to shoulder a heavy burden which is not theirs to carry.
Acceptance of their misery is perverse when there is a way out. Individuals who are uninvolved witnesses to their heartache are obliged to speak up and help the victims attain their rights. As Shakespeare commented,” in the time of crisis, I was not hurt by the harsh words of my enemies, but by the silence of my friends. ” (Simple secrets to a positive attitude) . Stepping up for someone is not just supported by the heartwarming words of a thousand minds but also by the legal system, which tells us that the court trial requires witnesses without which a criminal doesn’t get the penalty he/she deserves.
Without anyone courageous enough to testify against a crime justice can never be rise. The oppressor would continue with the transgression unhindered. “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly” said Gandhi. History embarks us with a series of intense and astonishing events which enlightens us with what the strength of our voice can achieve if we stand as one. It all started in 1977 when a body of people initiated the demonstrations to overthrow the Pahlavi Dynasty under Shah Mohammad Raza Pahlavi.
Tired of watching their rights being snatched out of their hands and their assets being taken away by their hypocrite leader to feed America and United Kingdom whose support he had. The movement turned into a campaign of civil resistance, it intensified in 1978 and with their determined leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, they were able to overthrow the existing government in 1979 and Ayatollah Khomeini emerged as a victorious leader. The Shah left Iran in January 1979 and the era of falsehood and injustice dissolved. An entire nation got their fundamental rights because the witnesses to the oppression weren’t apathetic enough to let this injustice prevail.
Despite the pernicious circumstances a voice which is raised to call out for justice has never gone feckless. Justice is a long and beautiful road. Being scared of the fact that your call for help would never reach the ears of the considerate is just an excuse we use to sneak through the blames for being equally responsible for the prevailing injustice around us. It makes us equally responsible for the situation up surging around us and As Leonardo Da Vinci summed it, “Nothing strengthens authority so Much as silence”.
Being so threatened by the fear of being suppressed, we ignore how the enemy stumbles each time we raise our voice, drowned in this hopelessness makes us ignore the shaking authority of the enemy. Realizing the strength of your voice is the first step towards justice, no matter if at the end you are bruised you should realize that the enemy is not in its best shape either and if you can put them in this hideous situation and break their pride, that is nothing short than a victory. No step taken for the right act has ever become a lost cause.
The public needs to express the disapproval of the biased policies in order to make way for new concepts and that can only be done by getting on the road of justice, which can never go to waste. The revolutions and protests which were, though, unable to achieve their destined aim were able to smash the authority of enemy into pieces. Many Czechs might recall the events of 1968 with brackishness and as a defeat by the soviet tanks, and the uprising’s reformist leader, Alexander Dubcek. But agreed by many, it was a political awakening.
Standing as one in a wave of protests, that great of global rebellion, the demonstration was a cry for liberty, both raw and sophisticated, by the people against the forces of Moscow. Prague, an activist, reporting on this event stated, “a tank was a tank no matter what color it wore and our moment was a color of liberty against whomsoever it pitched itself, communist or capitalist” (Prague spring and uprising 1968). Though, many would agree that enduring the pain is the key to freedom. But for how long can you seal your lips when you know you are being wronged?
Unlimited patience is not a virtue that most humans can withstand. The anger would keep building inside you until you reach your limit of patience and burst. The feeling of anger and revenge can lead to individual taking innumerous regrettable steps. History sheds light on the French Revolution which is looked at as, by many, an event which was won by the revolution yet the humanity lost at that very instance. It was the bloodiest shift from monarchy to democracy where every leader was beheaded on the guillotine by the poor and oppressed factions of society.
Hundreds of innocent men were killed. To prevent such situations from arising people should be given a chance to express their feelings right from the beginning and planned protests should be carried out to promote amongst the people a sense of freedom of expression. Knowing one has a safety valve to vent the steam a build-up of pressure and a violent outburst is unlikely to occur. Dictatorships where protests are banned are overthrown through revolutions whereas democracies evolve overtime where individuals have freedom of expression and freedom to vote.
However there are exceptions to this idea. The Stockholm syndrome highlighted that there are some individuals who develop affectionate feelings toward their oppressors as a gradual acceptance of their situation settles in. Though this approach ignores the psychological impact these people suffers. Their judgment abilities are affected and they might not even be able to distinguish between what is beneficial for them and what is harmful. They tend to lack confidence in all aspects of life and are always shy when it comes to expressing themselves.
Such people can be deteriorated by anyone and will never be able to work out their true rights. They might become less human as our thinking ability is what makes us human in the first place. For instance, we can’t conceive the immense psychological breakdown a women of lower class endures in Pakistan. A woman facing constant abuse from her husband would gradually accept it as her fate. As it is hammered in her head that it is her duty, being a woman, to praise that.
She would never speak up no matter what is done to disrupt her life and she would even lose the courage to help the victims floating on the same boat as her. Thus confidence and freedom of expression along with awareness is essential in making an individual a positive contributor to the society. It is believed by many that the best defense to oppression is the patience to endure the hardships. No harm would be done and no wars will break out. But what is the worth of this meaningless life when the sole purpose of the life itself is taken away from you?
When even if you are breathing there is a little part of you that is dying inside. Each day you get off the bed, you lose the courage and the guts to speak your heart out. Setting someone right and standing for what you deserve is worth fighting for. Dying is better than living a life miserably. Not standing up for what we truly believe in is what makes us a coward and we will always gain from being vocal instead of covering our eyes when injustice and the immoral practices prevail. As Bob Marley said it in his own style , “get up stand up, stand up for your right, get up stand up don’t give up the fight”.
Courtney from Study Moose
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