(Ok. I hope to get a little 'deep' here)
The mantra of 'change' is one that humans often use to further their cause; good, bad or ugly. Very easily, 'change' is the ‘go to gal/guy’ to stir up the emotions of members of the public, and convince them to pitch their tent in with the ‘worthy’ cause.
It is not that change is not good. Change is in itself inevitable. Unfortunately, change is often perceived as extrinsic, i.e. not being aware that change emanates from personal attitudes/lifestyles, such as throwing away refuse into the bin, paying taxes on time, speaking up. Especially speaking up.
Sadly, speaking up is a prevalent problem in Africa, as we are quick to shut down persons who dare to speak up against societal ills, such as jumping a queue, bribing state officials, degradation of persons, etc.
|Photo Credit: www.dreamtime.com|
Much as it is tempting to hang our reservations to speaking against bad status quo on our culture of respect for seniors and persons in authority, the truth is that is easier (and some times, safer) to blame our inadequacies, shortcomings or missteps on the excessive exuberance of the people who notice them, thereby hushing their voices, without seeking to change our attitude.
(Stay with me. Still going ‘deeper’)
Labeling persons bold enough to speak up is far easier than speaking up and being the desired change. It is not that the persons who are in the habit of speaking up are necessarily the nicest or the most humble people. To the contrary, they could ordinarily come across as 'cocky' or arrogant. Even when they are not any of the foregoing, it is easier to ascribe such to them clichés such as 'You complain too much”... “You talk too loud”... “You are too controversial”.
Thank God Jesus Christ was 'too controversial’. And Rosa Sparks. And Martin Luther King (Jr.) And 'Mahatma Gandhi'. And Albert Einstein. And Nelson Mandela. And Margaret Thatcher.
These were people who dared to go against the status quo; to speak up for what was wrong, even in the face of the stiffest opposition, and hordes of people attempting to shut them up. They were genuine about their change agenda, and did not sit for others to achieve that 'change'. Thankfully, they failed to bend to the pressure from people around, telling them ‘Shhhhh!! Be quiet!’
Until each person understands change as an intrinsic and personal thing, utopia would continue to be the order of the day. If we genuinely desire change in an unwholesome state of affairs, or to ensure that a right cause is not perverted, we must be bold to speak up and speak out. If however we lack the guts to speak for what is right, the least we can do is not 'Shush!' others who lend their voice in speaking up.