the quiet ones

we are the quiet ones,
grey ghosts kept safe
in our houses of silence,
hidden in plain sight
while the loud ones screamed in place
and were crushed to oblivion
one by one by one by one by one…

we are the blind witnesses
to an everyday atrocity,
to a boring, low ratings holocaust
threatening to rise as slow
as floodwaters in spring
and drown the sandbaggers
while we are sightless in safety,
distracted on the high ground.

we are the empty hearts,
devoid of care and crucial concern,
we will wade through martyrs’ blood
proud that we were not divisive,
gathering the shorn hair of our neighbors
to weave into warm blankets
that will comfort us while we drift off,
lulled to sleep by the lullaby shrieks
of a murdered and passionate people

Good People

When good remain silent in the face of their neighbour’s oppression, they stop being good people.

Wow. I wrote that. Who the hell do I think I am? Really? Why must I speak publicly? Why can I not simply work quietly behind the scenes at trying to make change?

You can do both.

Here’s the thing – when you stand up and become publicly accountable in support of an oppressed group or people you are noticed. If 10,000 people hate you for it but one isolated member of that group gains a fraction of hope it is worth it.

We, all of us, look for rays of light in the dark. That must be us. That must especially be our leaders. We have no right to conveniently hide behind a job or a position if we can do anything to lessen the burden on others. We must. Silence, as Wiesel, Bonhoeffer and many other have said, is not an option.

Of course, sadly, it is an option. In the real world. That world where we fear what people think of us; that world where we have been taught that compassion is weakness; that any suggestion we might be doing something wring sends us into fits of defensiveness; that world where we are told to “MAN UP”, “SUCK IT UP”, “GET OVER IT” etc. You know the world. It’s the world where you are told to shut up and move one.

Change is hard. Oppression is harder. Hate is hardest.

Leadership: The Burden

There are moments in a leader’s life…sometimes only one moment…where they are called upon to cast off fear and speak publicly about an issue of morality and ethics. Most do not, rationalizing silence as “not interfering” etc. The world will move on but the leader must live with the burden of either having stood up as an example for others or, having remained silent – still as an example to others.

lizard

my lizard sheds her old skin
and comes out bright and renewed;
she consumes her dead self
to nourish the one she has become,
and the past is a thing to be discarded
like an old coat worn through to the wind

beautiful

once, her shed stuck round her eyes
and every shed after grew thick
til she was blind, infected and starving;
but we worked on her with love
and a ready, steady hand of care
until one day the scales fell away
and she could see.

i know so many,
the blind and infected people,
they roam the world around us
unable to shed their old ideas,
walking like death
while their eyes close up
like the myopic moles they are
digging into the grave-dark earth
to keep their views safe and sound
beneath their desecated bones.

To Be Woke or not to be Woke?

That is the question…

It seems to be that, more and more, content creators, young professions, social media influencers, young businesses and corporations, young managers and leaders are being more open with their morality and ethics in the public space and work bubble.

There was a time (and still is in many places) when you did not speak about politics, ethics, morality, justice etc. in a professional environment.

As a bloggers/Youtuber I have been watching just said “as I used to think that as a food blogger I should just ‘stay in my lane’ and not talk about these things on my channel. That is ridiculous because we’re all human beings. I am sorry for not using my platform to support social justice.”

Wonderful.

These artificial boxes we have created where certain things are allowed to be talked about are not in keeping with the messy complexity of our humaness. When we create unatural conditions for our existence we create stress and anxiety because these are not normal for us.

The irony of course is that we create these boundaries because we are seeking to avoid conflict which creates stress and anxiety in our lives.

“DON’T TALK ABOUT RACIAL JUSTICE AT WORK!”

Odd. Do you want to work with racists? Do you want to enable inequality?

“AS LONG AS IT EARNS REVENUE!!!” (mouth beings to lather).

Ok..it is true that there is a time and place for some conversations. You need a somewhat receptive audience to converse about certain things. It’s difficult to talk about the Black Lives Matter #BLM movement whilst selling a car.

However good corporate citizenship needs to incorporate ethics and morality beyond the simplistic “do not lie” approach.

Corporations and businesses should express the morality of their humans. They should sponsor positive initiatives, speak up about human rights and equality issues, and partner accordingly. In reverse they should distance themselves from people, sponsorships or business partners that support racial inequality and oppression.

“YEAH WELL IF YER GONNA TALK ABOUT THIS KIND OF SHIT I AIN’T BUYIN NOTHIN FROM YOU.”

Hey that’s actually ok. If we allow revenue/salary/money to influece our morality and ethics we are diminished.

Honestly I think fear of losing power, money and influence are the greatest drivers of silence in our society, especially in business.

Anyhow back to young influencers – kudos to you for not wanting to divorce yourself from your principles and morality in your work life – you are a more complete human for it and a hopeful example.

A remembrance of loss

“He would have wept if he could have, watching the young couple enjoy their meal. He had forgotten so much after more than two thousand years. He had forgotten the embrace of the warm sun on his skin, he had forgotten the softness of his wife’s lips pressed against his own; and in the intervening centuries of the sharp, metallic splash of blood across his tongue he realized with a pang that he had forgotten the taste of spring wine. Yes, if he could have wept, he would have done so for days upon end… such loss. “