Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lesson in non-violent defiance

Rosa Parks was laid to rest in Detroit, US, today. Many have, over the past couple of days, paid tribute to this simple lady and her simple act of defiance in 1955 that sparked the civil rights movement in America.

I am reminded by this occasion that democracy, freedom and liberty do not all come about in a single day. It is usually a process, and in America's case, it was a long process. Consider that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on 1 Jan 1863. By 1955, 92 years later, the African Americans in the South had yet to gain real freedom from discrimination. It had to take another man, Dr Martin Luther King, and his death, for the cause of liberty to advance another step.

I am writing this to point out that a country may not have complete freedom and liberty today, but that does not mean that they will never attain these in time to come. So long as you have good, honest and sincere people working towards it in good faith and in a non-violent manner, it will eventually be achieved. It may take some time, but it will be achieved. In this respect, I am thinking of Myanmar (Burma), and yes, of Singapore, where there still remains a underlying concern with the lack of freedom of (political) expression.

But you must be 'IN' and not 'OUT' to effect change.

Farewell to Rosa Parks

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