Ferguson, Hong Kong and Mexico: When Oppression Gets Too Far

I’m a person who likes to be positive, hopeful and peaceful. I believe in the power of wise words and wise actions. I think that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I consider hate and violence a poison. I try to see the good in this world everyday and be grateful for what I have. However, it is hard. Everyday, I wake up to a new depressing story, and I can’t help but feel distressed. There is a reason why I don’t like watching the news. I do read and listen to them, to be informed about what is going on: but I hate doing so. As the globe shakes due to the outbreak of protests in Ferguson, Hong Kong and Mexico, between many others, I can’t help but feel frustrated. There are a lot of good things out there, yes. But that is not reason enough to ignore a reality: the world is an unequal place.

There is always so much oppressed people can take, and that is something I would have expected people to learn from all the conflicts and wars the world has undergone, and still undergoes. For instance, the situation in Mexico is devastating. 43 students disappeared, without leaving trace. Mexican citizens are tired of their corrupt government.I don’t know if politicians realise that “power” is subjective, and the same people that give it can take it way. A government is nothing with a nation to govern over. Money and authority won’t be very useful when people decide to be disobedient; the willingness of people to strive for change is starting to be bigger than the fear of being punished. Nobody cares about the law any more because they don’t feel protected by it.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, protesters are on the streets asking for democracy and the police is trying to silent them in a non ethical way. I remember once in religion lessons that the teacher asked us about our opinions on freedom. I said “freedom is theoretical but not practical”. I don’t think a lot of people understood me, but I still stand by what I say. Everyone who says that humans we are free to do whatever we want is obviously delusional, too optimistic or blind. Freedom is not equal for everyone, and that’s why it doesn’t exist. Freedom is not people doing whatever they want: it is about people not feeling judged, controlled and threatened. Freedom is so restricted by norms and laws across the world. From school to the street: from the governments to our families. I have never actually felt free in this world. No, I’m not enslaved. But some of my family’s values have oppressed my personality since I was little. Some of society’s values have made me subject of criticism just for not following the current.

We all love to look back and feel happy about how things have changed and how the world is a better place now than fifty years ago. More gender equality, less racial discrimination, more acceptance of the LGBT community… Nobody can deny that progress is being made: but social changes are happening too slowly, taking into account how rapid other sort of changes, such as technological innovations, occur. The situation in Ferguson is a prime example. Stereotypes keep taking the lives of hundreds of young black men in USA every year. People may argue that “is not about race, it is about police brutality”. While police brutality is an issue around the globe, the Ferguson case has a big element of race incorporated, as many others. And not only because of the whole media and general public response, which was partly racist as per usual. For example, a twelve year old black kid playing in park and carrying a fake gun was shot and killed by a policeman a few days ago, in a state in which carrying guns is allowed. He was obviously seen as a threat, and I can’t find any reason but the colour of his skin. He wasn’t violent. He was just playing around. He didn’t even point the gun at the officer. Let’s see the excuses now.

Martin Luther King said, “we have learned to fly the sky like birds, we have learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters”. And he was right. In my opinion, it is about attitude. Some people are simply not interested in equal rights, and the saddest part of this is how many of these people are actually people in power. People chose to be ignorant a lot of times. I can understand if a kid or a teen says something out of hands, because at that age, you just repeat what you hear and not everyone is able to evaluate things with their own brains: you are growing up and learning. But there are “mature” adults out there who don’t hesitate in making clear their racist, homophobic, sexist ideas. And unless you live in the Artic or in an isolated country, there is no excuse for this. You can quote any religious book you want, I don’t care. There is no excuse for discrimination. And in fact, most religions have love as their main principle, so using them to spread hate is totally against their God/Gods.

As inequalities keep happening, people are getting more and more tired. They don’t feel secure. They don’t feel heard. They don’t feel appreciated. I’m the first one who promotes peace, but I see how not everyone is able to react peacefully to oppression, and more when your protests are mocked and silenced forcefully. The excessive militarisation of Ferguson, Mexican and Hong Kong’s police have just increased the tension between protesters and the law enforcement, as it always does. You can’t expect people to stay calm when you are pointing guns at them and throwing tearing gas. You really can’t: not everyone is MLK, Gandhi or Mother Teressa. I don’t condone or accept violence, but I’m intelligent enough to understand it in cases like this one. Rioters are not doing any good, but it is not like if police are handling the situation any better. People are saying that violence is not the answer, but that is the response of a lot of governments when PEACEFUL protests start in their countries. They don’t want to listen and they send their troops. It is better to focus on why people are being violent than condemning them without thinking: to solve a problem, tackle it from its roots.

Inequalities make me sick. It makes me sick thinking that right now, someone is dying due to hunger. It makes me sick thinking that right now, someone is suffering from depression because they are scared of coming out. It makes me sick thinking that right now, a little girl is being forced into marriage because she has to be a “woman” and a little boy is being forced to be violent because he has to be a “man”. It makes me sick thinking that right now, people are being killed due to their religious beliefs, or for not having any religious beliefs. It makes me sick thinking that right now, people struggle to accept themselves because they are constantly judged by their skin colour. It makes me sick thinking that right now, workers are being exploited while someone is getting very rich out of it. It makes me sick thinking that right now, we are all not equal for the sake of our status, race, nationality, sexuality, religion, income.

It has reached a point in which, sometimes, I don’t want to have kids, because I don’t know how I’m going to explain them why inequalities exist. What is more: I don’t know how I’m going to protect them from discrimination and the dangers in this world. However, I end up realising that I can always educate them and raise them to tackle these issues, so they can be part of a fairer system worldwide. Education is key to change the world. I’m not talking about school only. It is not about teaching children to be workers: it is about teaching children to be humans. The world is a beautiful place. Life is a beautiful journey. It is just people that manage to make things cruel and complex. Everything is neutral, and you choose to make it positive or negative.

Said all this, I feel a bit better after letting my thoughts out. However, pictures of injustice still float through my Twitter timeline. From Asia to America. From Africa to Europe. The revolution is real. Too much oppression. Too much violence. I don’t recognise the “free” world I see on the news. Tonight, I see humans. But no humanity.


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