Last Friday there was an awarding ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize for a Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo. As we know, there was just an empty armchair left for him because he’s been jailed by Chinese authorities. The awarded man is one of many people detained due their non-violent opposition against oppressive laws or governments.
For the last few weeks we’ve heard about the WikiLeaks. The activity of this website rouses ambivalent opinions; but accusations of its founder formulated just at this moment seem to be intentional. I don’t want to decide his guilt or innocence; but the action taken against him recalls defamation of many people who are inconvenient to oppressive regimes.
Saint John the Baptist was jailed by king Herod Agrippa because the latter had felt uncomfortable. John had pointed out the king’s immoral decision and called him to change his behaviour. The king had actually two possible ways to deal with that inconvenient preacher: changing his own life or changing John’s life.
This dilemma occurs in our lives, at our lower, personal level. In our everyday lives we come across people or situations inconvenient for us: they make us bored, or annoyed, or irritated, sometimes driving us crazy. In face of problems we tend to change the situation or the person – it was clearly noticeable in the last period of the wintry weather, when many complained about it, but few took shovels in their hands to cope with it. Fortunately we haven’t completely lost our common sense and there were many people helping each another.
Problems, difficulties, hardships reveal more about our real nature, usually hidden behind smiles and politeness. Quite often that hidden nature of ours is darker and less acceptable than we’d like to admit even to ourselves. But instead of accusing everything and everybody around us maybe we should change ourselves first?
Oppressive regimes, like the Chinese one, or neglecting, like the US one, try to keep silent inconvenient people instead of changing or improving their policies. They follow the childish way of king Herod Agrippa: ‘the problem doesn’t exist when we don’t talk about it’. Sadly many ordinary people do exactly the same within their power and limits. But it simply doesn’t work. The best way to solve my problem is facing it and changing myself first. Others around me will change themselves – hopefully for the better.