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30 мая 2024, Бишкекское время 00:27

"How will darkness come to light?”

Иллюстративное фото.
Иллюстративное фото.
Эссе представлено для конкурса "iDream" в честь 50-летия речи Мартина Лютера Кинга "У меня есть мечта".

“If I don`t burn
If you don`t burn
If we don`t burn
How will darkness come to light?”

Nazim Hikmet

Fifty years have passed since a great man addressed thousands ofAmericans in his memorable speech. Hisability to express hopes and feelings of peopleearned him honorable place in the hearts and minds of generations. The name of Martin Luther King and the legacy he left are now a crucial part of American history and its victory over racial segregation. However, it is important to understand that although his thoughts and ideas were shaped by peculiarities of time and environment he lived in their meaning and interpretation cannot be limited to the territory of one country. The desire of humanity to be free and seek justice and equality has expressed itself in many forms throughout the history. The endless battle with our own self-delusions still takes place around the world, across nations. Many things have changed since Martin Luther King marked the history with his speech, but the core idea, the hope to see our world free from artificial walls of prejudices we create between ourselves can still serveus as great source of inspiration for all of us.

We live in a different world than fifty years ago. Our capability for innovation has helped us to develop technologies that make us closer than we were ever before, but being closer also means that now we can see better. We can see how divided we are, how easily we get separated by our differences. We see that the incredible variety of forms through which human life expresses itself often becomes an excuse and justification for violence. The gap between us increases as we keep separating ourselves into “imagined communities”. Our self-delusions havetaken many shapes and forms, and different skin pigmentation is now not enough reason to justify inequality.

We created labels for pieces of land, and grant those who happen to live within their borders with separate identity that pushes us even further apart.Information that we are able to access today gives us a better and clearer understanding of the world outside these borders, but we don`t rush to help. Even now, in this exact moment we know that wars are taking place in other parts of the world. We can even see their victims but most remain indifferent. We got used to reports about deaths of children, massacres, and violence, and even though we know that there are millions of those who can`t have access to education, suffer from absence of basic human rights, have very limited access to drinkable water, we pay very little attentionand treat this as something normal. Why? Why so many of those whose countries have gone through wars and violence to finally achieve democracy don`t rush to help people who are stuck in dictatorships?I believe that we could make much greater and more significant change if we cared about promotion of “human interest” more than most of our states do for the promotion of “national interest”.

We need to keep in mind that change doesnot happen on itself. Very important preconditions, such as presence of democratic institutions that made victory over segregation in the U.S. possible, are needed to help people to be successful in fighting for their rights. Otherwise, as in case of many emerging democracies, citizens who are brave enough to speak against the established norms are either imprisoned or killed. Fight for justice and equality cannot be won if a state or those who are in power benefit from injustice. One great thinker defined state as an entity which successfully claims the “monopoly over legitimate use of violence”. How can democracy be achieved if “legitimate violence” is used against state`s own citizens?
In order to unite not on the basis of artificial identities we created for ourselves, but on a much more fundamental level, we need to break numerous mental walls that separate “me” and “us” from “them”. The same walls stood between people during segregation in the U.S., the same walls stop us from acceptingour common human identity.Breaking those walls would allow us to hear cries for help of our brothers and sisters regardless of their culture, ethnicity, nationality or religion.

Martin Luther King sacrificed his life to break the walls of segregation and racial discrimination that separated people in his country. He dreamed about equality and made his dream come true. The time has come to dream globally and strive for equality between all of us.