Open letter to a friend: In the end you remember not what your enemies said but the silence of your friends.

Dear friend,

Martin Luther King was the one who spoke the words above and I reckon he was entitled to say them as he spoke out time time and again with or without his friends standing by him against injustice. I imagine he was alone a lot of the times as he did and while he became an icon for those who had no voice he I’m sure heard the silence of his friends loud and clear numerous times and in the end he heard it as he died murdered by a shot fired while his friends stood by.

I sounds dramatic I know but I remember so vividly that time as three important leaders who had the ear of the people were killed for being just that. It happens. It happens more than we think because my friend whenever someone tries to stand up for what he or she believes to be unjust and causes a stink you can rest assured that those around will look away more often than not.

Embarrassed, not wanting to be involved or downright scared for losing what few privileges they have they will try to avoid at all cost to stand by the one causing the stink. I know, I’m often the cause of the stink and I have been hearing the silence of my friends and I remember clearly each and everyone of those occasions.

I’m sure you, as the smart man you are, remember the times you held schtum too. In fact today you told me loud and clear that although you are aware of the shit surrounding us you don’t want to be involved because as you said that would just empower those causing the injustice. You are a smart man my friend and I’m sure you are aware that I am not one of those who turns a blind I and tries to get on with life “not empowering” those who bully and terrorise.  So I can only conclude that with your remark you aimed at silencing me so you would not have to confront yourself and the total insanity of your remark because as a son from a family torn apart by tyranny and leaders who could arbitrarily decide their fate you most surely should know better than that.

Here is another quote I think I would like to put to you: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’.

This to me, my dear friend, is how I approach life. Whether it is for a friend such as Rossi or for you or anybody in the this whole wide world who needs me to stand up for them that is what I do. Whether I have to face down an abusive ex-boyfriend from a girlfriend or write in the chronicle for the community house market which is being bullied by ass holes such as our local “chamber of commerce” I refuse to feel the fear and try to not be the silent one. Because I believe that to be the only way to live and be counted.

When I grew up my dear friend I was surrounded by grief. By grief and people asking but one question: Why did nobody help us and why were we the one singled out to suffer at the hands of the oppressors. I was a child when the WWII victims came home tried to get on with their live and I was friends with their children who had to live with their damaged parents.

To give you some examples:

A friend of mine had to open and close taps for his mum because she could not listen to the sound as it reminded her of the sound of beheadings, I had to drive the father of a friend of mine from Amsterdam to Antwerp because he had to have bamboo removed which the Japanese had pushed under his nails as a child to make his parents talk.
A friend of my parents ate himself to death because he could not regulate his hunger. Why, as a child of fucking four he had lived on the streets with his three year old brother for years in the war years after he had seen his parent being taken away by Germans.

Whenever I visited my step grandmother I had to clear out her pantry because she could not throw anything away because she had spend three years in an attic with her two children while her husband did not come back from work one day. the reason he had to wear David star. Why? because nobody stood up for him when they decided to make him were that.
These are just a few of the examples I could give to you as to why I can not hold my tongue against bullies and why, if I spot them here or anywhere, I will also speak out.

Because friend, here is where it begins. Here, now and with the people who are near and dear to you. You stand up together, you watch each others back and you rely on your friends and those you try to form a community with. because if you don’t, you end up with he third and last quote.

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

May peace and love be with you my friend,

Your friend

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One thought on “Open letter to a friend: In the end you remember not what your enemies said but the silence of your friends.

  1. Pingback: Open letter to a friend: In the end you remember not what your enemies said but the silence of your friends. (via Aotearoa: a wider perspective) « AfterAmerica's Blog

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