I have been hearing their names for years, but not until a year ago did I start reading about them. I was amazed by their spirits. Those two men are more than fighters for social rights; they are an example of dignity and integrity. They are an example that can and must be applied on generations to come. The devoted Baptist leader of the African-American civil rights movement Martin Luther King Jr. has confirmed to me that having a dream is not an insane ideology, but the truth be told, you’re insane not to have a dream. On the other hand Malcolm X's life has managed to grab my imagination. I close my eyes and dream of myself in his shoes, the pride he must have held at the moment of his assassination, the price for choosing the right path. What a striking thought!
I will not sit here and tell you about those two men, a Google search will fill your thirst the way it filled mine. But I prefer to share two quotes to give you a taste of their spirits before I get to my point in this piece:
"We declare our right on this earth...to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary" Malcolm X
“A man can't ride your back unless it's bent” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Unlike those African-American heroes, I didn’t have to watch any of my family members get lynched by narrow minded racists, nor did I have to be kicked out of a bus for the colour of my skin. But don’t be fooled, every man and every woman who walk this earth have a struggle. No exemptions. Allow no one to tell you that you have no right to feel the deep sorrow and the pain break through you for your particular struggle is insignificant. To every man his pain is the greatest pain. WHY? Because it’s the only pain he knows. God has given us different abilities, different experiences and he shall test every man accordingly and fairly.
So one day I came to realize, I am a reject by every society I could possibly belong to. They had me convinced that I am an outcast and that I must struggle to prove myself worthy of becoming one of them, to fit in even if that was against my desires. For years I hated myself, despised the differences I held, my skin colour, my ideologies and my dreams. Why? Because I was taught in their schools that I must unite in thought in order to unite in spirit.
Creativity and uniqueness is taught to be a burden. But Schooling wasn’t the only problem; it’s the society that forces those false ideologies. See the elders want to be accepted too, so I am forced to wear what they wear, I am asked and repeatedly told “when in Rome do as the Romans do”. I became sick to my stomach eventually. I want to be who I am, to express myself in the ways I best define. One day, I screamed to myself, I am not a Roman nor do I dream of becoming one. Ancient times are over, lost in the pages of books … I exist today, it’s my day not theirs… I screamed at myself: I hereby cleanse myself from the blood of my ancestors, the ideologies of my society, and the narrowness of all their ignorance … I will love and respect them till death knocks on my doors, but I will not sell my mind, soul nor heart to anyone.
It’s they who have pushed me to become an outcast, I merely responded by refusing to become like them. Suddenly being insane became a rather refreshing thought. To act out of their boundaries, with no limits holding me to neither act nor behave in a certain manner. I travel the world to see myself fitting within strange cultures and strange languages. For their sense of judgment against me is paralyzed.
As I thought about those two freedom fighters, I realised what they had in common. They had the vision for a dream. Then they backed it up by rebelling against their society. What happens after is irrelevant, whether you die by assassination, or you live to win a Nobel Prize. The end result is the same; to carry your pride, the pride in your belifs.
Today I stand honoured to be insane, unaccepted or even better rejected. But by no mean shall you think that I am giving up on my rights.
So, like Luther King Jr. delivered his 17 minutes “I have a dream …” speech at the Lincoln memorial in Washington, I shall deliver my own speech on my pages:
I have a dream … That I can walk through my motherland without being treated like a foreigner.
I have a dream … That I can believe and think what I want when I want without the oppression of my thoughts.
I have a dream … That I am not judged for the colour of my passport, but for the values I hold and the ideologies I carry.
I have a dream … To marry the woman I love without the interference of the entire society in our personal matters.
I have a dream … To not be judged by the make of my car or the brand of my clothes.
I have a dream … That my children can think freely and be independent in their thoughts from this world and from me. To see them develop beyond us.
I have a dream … That a writer will be more valued than a half-naked singer.
I have a dream … That my society will not stand on extreme ideologies.
I have a dream … That you will respect my dreams, no matter how ridiculous they sound to you, they are my dreams, and more often than you think, dreams are very hard to explain verbally.
My lesson to you form those two extraordinary men … “Dreams do come true”
Newcastle - 5/4/2012