Don't March If You Won't Keep Walking

Let me tell you why the American political turmoil is your problem, even if you are not American.

You do not have to be American to be outraged by a political leader speaking about banning Muslims, calling for Muslim registries, spewing vulgarity against women, labelling an entire neighbouring nation as rapists, mocking people with disabilities, dehumanising the black community and after all that, being honoured on a global stage as an elected world leader.

The reaction of shock and rebellion was not because people were hoping for a just leader. Undoubtedly, democracy has proven time and time again to be a flawed system. There never was an option for a just leader and thus, the problem is not with Trump; the power is not with Trump. The problem is with the people who voted him in despite the abominable and malicious strategy of his campaign.

In the words of Edward Snowden: “Focus on Trump is a mistake. Faith in elected leaders to fix our problems is the mistake that we keep repeating.”

Trump’s victory shook the world and forced us to awaken to a reality realised too late: our silence allows the voices of evil to thrive.

There’s a poem by Niyi Osudare called ‘Not My Business’. The words of Osudare have been resonating with me recently. It explores the passive, complacent mindset of people amidst political injustice.

“What business of mine is it / So long they don’t take the yam / From my savouring mouth?”

The poet poignantly illustrates how easily the masses become too comfortable in a delusional sense of security, until the threats of injustice come knocking on their own door.

For too long, the world has been playing the part of silent bystanders, witnessing an era where genocide, war, racism, sexism, xenophobia, islamaphobia and all-round prejudice against the ‘other’ has been dealt with complacency and desensitisation.

“In the end, we will not remember the harsh words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

- Martin Luther King.

Inauguration day 2017 felt like a day of defeat for the ‘minority’ population across nations - for women, the black community, the Muslim community, the immigrants, Mexicans and people with disabilities. But today, the so called ‘minorities’ came out in a wave of millions to show that they were no longer mere bystanders - they were no longer silent. A day of overwhelming dismay was followed by a day of hope, action and solidarity.

But this is not enough. America is not the only problem. The world as a whole must wake up and speak up against a global plague of passivity. There is too much to be done and a march is not enough unless we keep walking.

We must keep walking until we reach a solution. Keep walking until we break down every wall that divides us, every misconception that misguides us, every narcissistic political party that undermines us. So march... but don’t march if you won’t keep walking.