There’s a saying, (it’s also a curse), ‘May you live in interesting times’. Hmm, well, we’re certainly experiencing that at the moment aren’t we? So much going on, so much frustration with the status quo; so much frustration with inequality of opportunity be it health, education, whatever. People feel the system is unfair and their concerns ignored, in sum, they are the unheard.
According to the Pew Research Centre, the income inequality gap in the US has never been wider – the bottom 50% of Americans have just 1% of the nation’s wealth, the top 10% has 70%.
None of this is new, however, it’s just that it has recently become more obvious. But there again, you knew that didn’t you?
In 1967, Martin Luther King, MLK, gave a speech at Stanford, entitled, ‘The Other America’. You can read it here: https://bit.ly/38q0d8F (The page also provides a link to YouTube.) Keep in mind this was in 1967, over half a century ago. Think about that for a moment, over half a century ago…
Like all great speeches, it is still powerful; it still resonates; it still applies. It’s a long speech but worth the time. MLK ranges far and wide, talking about lack of opportunity in America, especially if your skin is black. It is the speech in which he says, ‘A riot is the language of the unheard.’
In the same speech, MLK also said, ‘Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.’ Yep, that works for me as well. Remember, half a century ago…
In the US we have the current resident of the WH pouring petrol on an already volatile situation. No leadership or listening to the unheard there, or in Brazil, or Hungary or Poland. In Russia, Putin is now in power until 2036 after a somewhat, to put it mildly, questionable referendum. In Hong Kong, China has imposed a ‘security’ lockdown on political disagreement breaking the treaty it had with the UK in the process.
All of the above have one thing in common, the creation of the unheard. All are creating groups who may feel they need to go ‘underground’ to survive. All are storing up a pressure that will, one day, make itself heard again. It will appear to have come out of nowhere, but it will happen. They will be heard.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another fifty years, eh?
J J Mitchell
‘No one left behind ’