“Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere”-Martin Luther King Jr.
Every January since the year 2000, the United States of America commemorates the life and work of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using non-violent civil disobedience.
This year, as I reflect on King’s beliefs and values, I’m left wondering how we are addressing issues of social justice today in a manner that is non-violent. When you read or listen to news today, you can agree with me that the effort to promote justice isn’t over yet, especially when people begin to use children as weapons of, or leverage in war. When blood of innocent children is shed, it is disheartening (‘disheartening’ is an understatement), it makes you realize things are getting out of hand, and that it is time to do something about it. Like King, I feel it’s about time we stand up for justice, but in non-violent manner, in order to put an end to such injustice and inhumanity!
On 16 December 2014, 9 members of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) conducted a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. They entered the school and opened fire on school staff and children, killing 145 people, including 132 schoolchildren, ranging between 8 and 18 years of age. When I think of this attack; of all those children that met their fateful day in such an inhumane manner, my heart breaks and I cannot begin to imagine the pain and loss that the parents and relatives are still going through.
Imagine, while the wounds of the Peshawar school attack are still fresh, Boko Haram hits again in northern Nigeria; using young girls as suicide bombers, one said to be as young as 10 years old. As if abduction of girls isn’t bad enough, Boko Haram is now using girls as weapons of war, killing more people in the process. We can no longer be silent about this! Boko Haram has terrorized northern Nigeria regularly since 2009 attacking police, schools, churches and civilians, and bombing government buildings. They have also kidnapped students, including more than 200 school girls who were abducted in April 2014 and remain missing.
These are innocent children who are powerless and incapable of making informed choices on their own and are being used against their will or targeted as victims for the most atrocious purposes. These children are victims of wars they have nothing to do with in the first place.
The question is, what are we doing about it? How much more hurt must we feel before we stand up in unity to preserve justice for our children, our communities, and ourselves? Are we doing enough to put a stop to this atrocity? These are not the only cases we have seen innocent children killed or used to kill others, and if international bodies, governments, and citizens, don’t take action to bring such injustice to an end, more children will die, more families and communities will be attacked, and these wars will not end. We all have a responsibility to stand up against any threats to justice, in non-violent ways, just like fore fathers like Martin Luther King Jr. and many others did.
This January, as we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and his fight for justice, may his words move you action:
‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter’
If you want to make your voice heard in this fight and lend your support, please use the following hashtags when talking about this issue: #Justice4OurChildren #StopViolenceAgainstChildren #ProtectOurChildren