Conforming to societal ideals has never once been my goal. Instead, I choose to explore life outside of the box that the education system – in my case the country that I live in as well – has conveniently placed me in. This results in those who share the same perspective as I, to be subjected to constant censorship. I have a fair share of stories where I’ve been disregarded of for my ideas being too ‘risky’ and ‘unrealistic’, but one event in particular has been a true testament to me and others around me, about the box or ‘bubble’ that we call home.
Amid global humanitarian injustice, I had the idea of starting an Amnesty International club at my school, to educate my peers on the horrors of what really happens around the world and what happens in an area that’s a stone throw away from us. It was an ambitious idea, seeing as we would have been the first school in the country – and possibly the region – to start such a program. Starting a club was not an easy task, yet it was something that I was willing to devote my time to in hopes of getting it off the ground.
Weeks pass by, and I’ve received confirmation that I can go ahead and start it, under the condition that I retain from discussing any topics that involve this country, region and any other related nations. This was the paradox of the year for me. Someone actually had the nerve to censor such a program, knowing its essential involvement in human rights in the world. Out of sheer desperation, I was willing to go along with this proposal, so that there would be some form of awareness for global humanitarian issues.
Unfortunately as predicted, the entire idea was scrapped a few days later, citing that it was ‘inappropriate’ to start it. I doubt that’s what they actually thought though, it was probably because they believed that we were planning to stage protests on the streets or overthrow the government, something absurd like that. It is fair to say that I felt greatly disappointed, mainly because I had such an optimistic view towards this – my mistake right from the start and my first taste of reality I guess. On the other hand, I was delighted that this sparked concern amongst students, considering that we’ve all been in this bubble for so long.
My message to you is to take action for what you believe is right, no matter where in the world you are. If you live in a country where censorship isn’t an issue, use that to your advantage and make a difference today. It will take a lot of time and effort, but if you truly believe in it, you can make the impossible possible. Be the voice for students like myself who never got to express it, so that someday we can be thankful for not begging for Amnesty for making it International.