“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding” – Albert Camus
Ignorance is truly evil. It allows people to believe in myths and legends. It leads to the construction of narratives that serve to divide, to fear and disrespect all that is unknown. It makes us dehumanize those that we perceive as too different, or too distant. It turns lies into “common knowledge”.
Ignorance makes for bad and dangerous decisions, and helps to perpetuate oppression and justify power politics that serve to exclude and divide societies and families. Ignorance feeds fear, and fear feeds ignorance.
This is why we must take action to protect our civil rights. These rights, won on the back of great suffering, protect us from ignorance. These rights encourage us to love others as they are, to put aside socially constructed barriers, and to be kind to those we might perceive as different to us. These rights also place upon us all the responsibility to fight ignorance and seek understanding. Without these rights we are all poorer, weaker, more isolated, divided. The right to life, the right to equality, the right to non-discrimination, the right to health and the right to protection. Freedom of speech, religion and political affiliation. The right to vote and the right to be heard. The right to protest and the right to hold our leaders accountable. Everywhere we look, from the US to Europe to Australia, ignorance has been taking over, feeding fear, giving way to an erosion of our civil rights.
We live in a time in which we need inspiration, to keep going, not to give up, to reach out to others and not take things for granted, to be more tolerant, to fight for a better future for ourselves and those that will follow. We have become perhaps complacent and comfortable, believing our rights can never be taken from us, and desensitised to the suffering of others, thinking we don’t have to fight for others to have the rights others fought for us to have. And who can blame us, with all the crises going on in the world? How easy is it to change the channel in the face of constant bad news? But we can’t change channels now. The future is in our hands. We tend to excuse our complacency by telling ourselves that “we are just one person, what can we do?” And we forget how effective and powerful we can become when we unite, when we work together, when we try to understand each other. We have to push forward, keep going. We have to. Why?
Because I don’t want to live in fear because of my ideas, or my gender. I don’t want anybody to live in fear because of his or her sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or the colour of their skin. I don’t want people to have to risk their life when pursing their dreams, whatever that may be. I want to be happy and, I want you to be happy, to reach your full potential, to enjoy your life to the fullest and be able to overcome your difficulties. Because when you don’t, we are all worse off. We are all in this together.
Don’t let ignorance, your own or others’, spread evil, promote misunderstanding and divide us. And let’s not teach our kids that when things get tough, we give up and wait it out, until things change on their own. We can’t afford to do that.
♥ Let’s speak up, and reach out.
♥ Let’s be mindful of what we put out into the world, making sure that any news we share, or bring up in discussions, are valid. It doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you are on, ignorance is evil regardless.
♥ Let’s report any news that we see and perceive as untrue. This can easily be done on most social media outlets, and those reports are being seen and actions are taken, so this is an easy way for you to make a big difference.
♥ Let’s allow ourselves to hear things that might make us a little uncomfortable but open our eyes and our hearts. Let’s talk to people who don’t agree with us.
♥ Let’s educate ourselves, allow ourselves to learn from others, to embrace diversity, to allow differences to enrich our existence.
♥ Let’s put ourselves in others’ shoes, and respect their experiences of life.
♥ Let’s agree to disagree, be humble and learn that when we work together, and hold each other up, nobody falls. This means someone will have your back when you need it, too.
♥ Let’s not sit and wait for better news. It doesn’t matter how big or small your actions might feel, how insignificant or irrelevant. Everything counts, you count.
Let’s stand up to the evil that is ignorance, and fight for love, truth and justice for all. What you do, matters.
No ignorance, no fear, just love ♥