In spite of all the advances in technology, plus our ability now to contact news stories all over the planet almost as and when it happens, most people when asked do not feel that their input will make much difference to the world. Most folks feel impotent in the face of corrupt organisations, rampant capitalism, denial of human rights and the squandering of the world’s planetary resources. What difference can I make? Why sign another petition – no-one takes any notice of them anyway. Everyone else is being wasteful, how can my little bit make a difference? Who’s going to listen to me? And so on and so forth…
If for some reason you rise above this generalised apathy through disempowerment then what you meet is the divide and rule scenario. ‘Everyone on benefit is a scrounger. All homeless people are drop-outs,vagrants, mentally ill or on drugs. Anyone who objects to the status quo is a dangerous radical revolutionary. All Muslims are terrorists. All foreigners are after our jobs.’ Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Notice all these are absolutist statements. Tabloid media fire this mob mentality all too often with sometimes tragic consequences. It lacks compassion and humanity particularly for the vulnerable within our society and emphasises the loss of community that has occurred over the last few decades.
So what do we do? What can we do? We could decide to turn a blind eye and be secretly thankful that it’s not happening to us. We could self righteously proclaim that we would never find ourselves in such straightened circumstances, implying that these poor unfortunates have only themselves to blame. All I can say to the folks who feel like this is to quote the now famous words of Pastor Martin Niemoller who pinpoints the dangers of political apathy:
“First they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me”
I know it’s difficult to find the motivation sometimes due to the full-on nature of just surviving on a day-to-day basis; and I too have viewed yet another campaign/petition with impatience sometimes. However when it happens to you, or someone you know who is close to you, it becomes a different matter. It makes you realise that all these apparently ubiquitous requests for help have their individual stories of heartbreak and difficulty. This was brought home to me recently when I learned of awful circumstances that had befallen an old friend of mine and I am unashamedly mentioning it here on my blog as an opportunistic example of the potential of people power.
This is David Haigh, raised in Cornwall, who I have known for many years. He is one of life’s rarities – a kind, compassionate man of integrity who works in the cut-throat world of high finance. Unfortunately for him and his family, he now languishes in Dubai Prison after being deliberately stitched up and falsely accused of fraud. He is unwell and is being deprived of his Human Rights. Here are some links for the details of the story:
As things stand at the moment, this petition will not be recognised until it has at least 30,000 signatures. This is one of the reasons I am mentioning it here so that hopefully, not only will you sign it, but will pass it on to others to do the same. Your signature/vote really does make a difference if you believe in People Power. Remember this advert? It’s a perfect example of what I am talking about:
I find it hard to fully engage with life with my usual vitality and zest when someone I care about is in such dire straits, so goodness only knows how heart-rending it must be for David’s family. 😦 Just remember the next time someone’s plea for help reaches your ears, this is someone’s son,daughter, wife, husband….. (fill in dotted line). It only takes a few minutes of your time – less time than it takes to make a cup of tea – and this small action could bring hope to so many. 🙂
It is now 4 months later and sadly David Haigh still languishs in Dubai prison without charge. This denial of human rights is appalling but it seems that MPs and government are more interested in General Elections than the fate of Britons abroad!
Here is a link to Prisoners Abroad, the only organisation that appears to be effective in helping in this situation. There is an interview with David about the conditions he has had to endure. The petition ends on 30th March 2015 – please find time to sign it. Thank you.
I am delighted to be able to tell you that at long last David is home safe in Cornwall! He spent a harrowing 23 months in that Dubai jail where he was unjustly imprisoned, and he actually looks remarkably well considering what he has had to endure – but the trained eye can see the toll that has taken of him.
For more details go to this link:
Also here is some coverage of an interview with BBC’s Newsnight:
My thanks to the many folks who have shown their support for David, signed his petition and remembered him in their thoughts. We are *so* glad he is home! 😀