Aaron Hillel Swartz owes it to his own profound curiosity and in-depth creativity that he was able to levelled himself as the Godfather of the internet. RSS, Reddit -to name a few.
2013, he hang himself at tender age of 26 following a federal indictment against data-theft.
Iqbal Masih was a 4 year old boy, amongst thousands of child labors in Pakistan. He escaped at the age of 10 and stood before the world by telling his stories while helping others to escape their painful fate.
1995, Iqbal was shot dead. He was 12.
Now. In Vietnam, Thailand, India -too many women are sex workers. Some of them, have yet to learn about puberty, makeups, bras. One night in these places arr like a thousand nights of a slow ripping death.
Cosying underneath my laundry-fresh duvet, a cup of hot drink on my bedside table, a book tucked under my pillow with my iphone 6 secured by my rather small palm, I yawned and complained of what a cold morning it was. I browsed through my agenda of the day and wondering if I would have time to visit the National Gallery Museum to see pieces collected by Henry Vaughan. I was also thinking if I should drop by the ever-so-classy Bewley’s Cafe for that sweet cravings while reading ‘Projects of Happiness.’
I curled my hair into soft waves and matched my earrings to my outfit. As I was checking myself out, I noticed a small red bump on the apple of my right cheek. What a mockery to my rather clear complexion. I would need tons of concealer just to make it ‘effortless’ when the truth is -it was an absolute work. As soon as I stepped outside, it snowed. Just great. I prayed hard that my non-waterproof mascara stay put. Although I didn’t have to wait long before my waves turned into stiffy spagetti. What a day.
The snow was getting heavier and heavier. I had to peek through my half-closed eyes to see where I am going. If only hubby is here, it will be much more bearable I thought. Or if I could drive then maybe I won’t be too bothered. I had to cancel my trip to the National Gallery and took shelter at McCafe instead for free wifi. It was full house but I managed to grab the last seat, thankfully. I moaned as to why did I pick today to be spontaneous. Why on a bloody snowy day. When the temperature reached zero. When my hair will be ruined and no makeup could fix it.
Disheartened, I went home after having a warm cosy Chinese dinner in town with hubby. I decided to watch something inspiring and tried my luck on ‘The Best Debator’ starring Denzel Washington, a movie screened in 2007. Never did I know I stumbled upon a jewel. A movie so inspiring, so real that I wished it was all lies and just a made-up story. It’s too painful to be truthful.
It’s a true story about a teacher who wanted a change so badly that he put his life second after his own skin -black. Being black means you are cursed. It means you deserved to be skinned and burnt alive. It means you have no voice and life of any other white men is highly valuable than that of yours. The black people have so much strength -in their actual physical body but their mind, is as weak as a crawling baby. They lived in fear, never dared to lift up their chin and see the white eye to eye. Somehow deep inside them, they’re still ashamed of.. being black.
This wasn’t even too long 60 years ago.
Blacks were the slaves, maid, sex-objects. They lived in so much fear and they believed they deserved to be treated as such -because the whites said so. Such fear that I couldn’t dare to imagine if it happens now, to me and my family. What a priviledge is my life. Lucky is probably an understatement. And I couldn’t imagine the world without the freedom of voice, of choice.
But their fear is a real fear.
The next time I want to complaint about my hair, or the weather, I need to remind myself of everything I have. And that so many people would risk their life for what I am, to achieve what I have achieved. So many people would rather dancing in the heavy rain than being skinned to their death with endless pain.
Aaron Swartz might want some friends. His fight is probably too lonely. Iqbal Masih might need family to protect and love him. Too many people in this world needs me and you to make small differences towards a better world. The next time I’m feeling ungrateful, I must remind myself that I have a beautiful responsibility just to be alive.