Column: Division in our hearts and minds now real
All my life, without fear or favour, I have stood against all forms of discrimination, racism, anti-semitism, islamophobia, homophobia, sexism; basically, all forms of hate, without compromise, irrespective of the consequences.
So, today as we stand together, shoulder to shoulder across the world, regardless of race, faith or belief, in protest against the vile and discriminatory policies of the American president Donald Trump, that includes banning the rights of women to choose what they can do with their own bodies, banning Muslims and refugees on Holocaust Memorial Day.
I have to ask, what is it about land, pigmentation, wealth, resources, gender, sexuality or even the human spirit that is willing to be so cruel to another human being.
Why do some people elect people, whilst knowing they intend to destroy entire communities.
Pastor Niemoller once wrote a famous poem that I have slightly amended that I would like to share with you below.
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“First they come for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the women, and their right to make choices, and I did not speak out because I’m not a woman; Then they came for the working class, and I didn’t speak out because I’m not working class; Then they came for the disabled, and I did not speak out because I’m not disabled; Then they came for the gay and lesbian community, and I didn’t speak out because I’m neither gay or lesbian; Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out because I’m not a Muslim; Then they came for the refugees, and I did not speak out because I’m not a refugee; Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me…”
You see, today we are all at a crossroads, for me it’s not about sovereignty or countries’ right to make its own policies.
Today the question we all face is this: in the civilised world, what right does one human being have to oppress another on the grounds of their gender, religion, pigmentation or nationality?
Because if we are unable to answer this question with sincerity or humanity, then I’m afraid, for me, the division that Trump, Farage and other politicians wanted to root in our hearts and minds is now a reality.