Cynical, with good reason

It’s now over fifty years since Civil Rights campaigners marched in Washington and the papers and blogosphere have been filled with the question ‘What has changed since?’ Many responses have been to do with civil rights, a pause to see how much has really changed especially in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case.

I’d like to add to the many responses the suggestion that Rosa Parks and her compatriots marched with faith and optimism, with the conviction that they could change their world. From their racist environs they squeezed out those  values and to act without knowing their actions would become a seminal part of history.

If I compare my life and the opportunities I’ve had that were denied to earlier generations I’d say they achieved a considerable amount, not just on that day.

However, it’s also another anniversary year - ten years since the ability of the ordinary citizen to have any influence in the decisions and actions of democratically elected was sorely tested and lost. It’s easy to recall the energy and anticipation that surrounded the protests, activists held a genuine belief that if enough people showed their opposition to going to war in Iraq, then their leaders would rescind their decision, since that is the point of a democracy.

The “millions” that marched against invading Iraq have since been vindicated in the hundreds of thousands of lives lost. However, this time though many people across the world are protesting, there’s perhaps a certain weariness and cynicism as we prepare to repeat ourselves in Syria. 

Nonetheless, activists keep protesting against social and economic injustice, for equality, against war and environmental degradation, rape and murder. Sadly they also march against sexual and reproductive rights, freedom of speech, for war and against equality.

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