Human chains

I wonder if a tale will be told of a community that formed a human chain to protect the dignity of its members, to protect their homes and their children's beds?

Once upon a riot in Egypt, people spewed hate and anger, they flung insults and petrol bombs, and spread fear and chaos throughout the streets of this ancient city of the gods. The soldiers reacted, they did all that was necessary to stifle the revolution, wielding their power and brandishing their weapons. Yet the people would not give up. 
The evil overlords of the realm became angrier and angrier, and the more they reacted the more the people on the street mirrored their anger and the greater their counter-reaction. They became so angry that they overthrew the king of that evil city and put another one in its place, who they hoped would lead them with honour and respect.
These two characteristics, honour and respect, became their flaming crusade. They respected each other so much that they even protected their brothers from another religion! When the rioting Muslim gangs, the haters and the avengers, wanted to kill their Christian enemies, the ordinary Muslim people formed human shields around their Christian brothers as they prayed and asked God for peace in that terrible time. In turn, when the rioting Christian gangs, the haters and the avengers wanted to kill their Muslim enemies, the ordinary Christian people formed a human chain around the Muslim mosques allowing their brothers the time to pray for peace. They even taught this to their children who taught it to their children.
This spirit started spreading across the land. In Karachi and Lahore (Pakistan) the ordinary Muslim and Christian people came together during the Sunday Mass to show their solidarity for peace. They decided that war and blood shed was over, that they would take back their communities and make their own rules - and stop the killing! Tolerance and Respect for others' beliefs became their vision and they held hands, Muslim and Christian alike, in a human chain spanning across these cities. The stand they took showed the terrorists in their communities that they were united in their stance, that they were tired of the hate and violence, the prejudice and 'othering'. And most importantly, it showed their children a different way of life.

This might sound to you very much like a fable, a tale of long ago. Yet the people are not wearing medieval armour or the rough hessian bags of peasants in the dark ages. Google this and you find this is happening around the world today, in our life time!

This same script has played itself out in countries and kingdoms around the world throughout time. Although the above script leaves one with a sense of hope, the recent events of the last two days left hope very much hidden at the bottom of Pandora's box. The evil lies not in the legality of the events that unfolded over the course of the last two days and many months leading up to the 2nd & 3rd June 2014. The evil does not even lie in those who enforced the law, since as a country we need to uphold the law as our ultimate benchmark. Without the law we are drenched in anarchy, succumbing to chaos and vigilantism. No one is saying that the law should not be upheld, and if this were private citizens' ground, a farmer for instance, or perhaps YOUR back yard, you would be up in arms and would want every possible law to protect you and your land.
What is at issue is the complete disregard for human dignity. Yes the 'squatters' were illegally occupying the land. (Yes they should have moved - where to is a completely different matter.)

But when the chickens come home to roost, we as a community need to take a stance. We know what is right and wrong - we don't need the LAW to tell us this. We know that putting a poor family out on the streets on a night when snow is forecasted is as horrific as the actions of the Apartheid police. Then how is it possible that we still allow this? How is it possible that we sit back and do nothing to stop this evil?
Is it perhaps a deeply seated misunderstanding that is betrayed in our discourse, in the very manner in which we speak and interact - in conversation, online, in our behaviour? Is it perhaps a discourse that sees 'the squatters' as entities devoid of humanity, that like a displaced tree or animal who lost their habitat, should just pick up the pieces of their broken lives and move on? Is it perhaps hidden in our judgements that 'They should have seen this coming and made arrangements' that we disclose our greatest weakness - our ability to deflect our emotions and reactions into words that are never followed by action? In a country where moving around and resettling is the norm, where people are trying their best in all walks of life to make a life for themselves and their children, can we not see that we are being manipulated to look the other way, that we are being trained to accept the way things are when we should in fact be taking the hands of all those in our community and facing the bulldozers TOGETHER? Will a thousand strong community chain around the homes of our brothers and sisters, not be just the thing to stop the bulldozers and the fires? Or is solidarity through peaceful activism reserved only to one group in society?

I wonder if a tale will ever be told of a community surrounded by majestic mountains overlooking the thunderous sea, where the people from all walks of life, laid down their fears and chains of control, and took hands to protect the weakest among them? I wonder if a tale will be told of a community that formed a human chain to protect the dignity of its members, to protect their homes and their children's beds? I'm a dreamer and a new world is coming!

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