Bravery.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King Jr

Last night, Graham, my dad, Charli, a friend of hers and I went to see Trade of Innocents, a movie about the sex slave industry, particularly dealing with underage girls in Asia.

To say it was compelling and confronting would be an understatement. It is profoundly moving, shocking and powerful.

I think it took some guts to watch. I say the statistics about human trafficking and the sex slave industry frequently. I listen to and re-tell the stories. I have my own photos of girls who have been rescued from the hell they show in the movie.

And yet I sat there wanting to get up and leave. I sat there, fists clenched, stomach churning at the pure evil that these girls live through. That these girls are living through right now.

At 40, I have seen some stuff. I have sat with friends as they have described physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands. I’ve felt the pain of others as loved ones pass away. I’ve held the hand of friends whose relationships are falling down around them. I’ve looked into the eyes of a girl who has been repeatedly raped by strangers, forced to perform acts that no decent person would even know existed. And I think I should face these things. I should be willing to look evil in the eye and stare it down.

And yet there was Charli and her friend. Sixteen year olds. Sitting watching a movie that makes no bones about the suffering these girls endure, that did not try to hide or sugar coat what other human beings do to them.

Sixteen year olds who could have been watching the latest hollywood blockbuster. Who could have been at home painting their nails and doing their hair, flicking through magazines and talking about boys.

And there is nothing wrong with any of those things but when given a choice, Charli and her friend chose the hard path. The path that many adults will not even acknowledge is there, let alone walk down.

Charli and her friend chose to subject themselves to knowing about the plight of others.

They chose to know.

And once you know something, you can never un-know it. You can never again plead ignorance. You cannot un-see it or un-feel it.

You can never un-know it.

There is one word for Charli and her friend.

Brave.

Are you brave enough to look at the big problems we are facing as a human race? Whether it’s human trafficking, the sex slave industry, extreme poverty, homelessness, teen suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we be brave enough to look outside ourselves and act.

Will you do it? Will you be brave enough?

 

 

 

Margaret Thatcher, Rick Warren and us

If you are a long time reader of this blog, you will know that I love people and am always looking for the good in everyone but two recent events have given me pause.

Some of you may have heard of prominent American pastor, Rick Warren. His son committed suicide last week.

And Margaret Thatcher died last week, too.

And for both there has been an outpouring of love…and hate.

Rick Warren wrote on Twitter: “Grieving is hard. Grieving as public figures, harder. Grieving while haters celebrate your pain, hardest. Your notes sustain us.”

How can people celebrate the pain of another human being?

I disagree strongly with Rick Warren on many, many issues but does that mean I celebrate the unimaginable pain he and his family are in right now?

I was a teen during Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister, and I must confess, was wholly uninterested in politics, so I am pretty ambivalent about her policies and time in office. However, people holding street parties to celebrate her death? When news of Thatcher’s death hit the media, we were watching Q and A, where guest panelist Brooke Magnanti’s first response to the news was “Oh and here’s me without champagne.”

I was disgusted. Regardless of our views on a person, the key word here is ‘person’. To actually celebrate that someone has died is surely the basest of all human reactions. Or, in Rick Warren’s case, celebrate the fact that someone you love has died and you are in pain.

Is this what we have become? People so blinded by our own opinions and viewpoint that we fail to see the humanity in another? People so caught up with making our point and judging others that we forget that all people have feelings? That we all bleed when cut, that we all are loved and love in return, regardless of our religious or political persuasions?

It comes down to lack of respect and narrow mindedness.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, until we truly understand and believe that every other single person on the planet has the same intrinsic value that we do, we will continue to be a society full of bigotry, hatred and intolerance.