As a former employee of the greatest newspaper in Belize’s history, I am honored to be able to express my thoughts and concerns in our world today. I hope that you will publish this article so that many can examine themselves on the issue I will address.
When I came to the States over 26 years ago, I embarked on a dream like so many others. As I began to achieve my dream and celebrating little successes over the years, I realized that I became aloof mentally from the painful realities of the disenfranchised in Belize and here in America. As I examined myself, I realized that my passion for the broken has morphed into Apathy and Indifference – which has become the NORM today. For many, the old saying, “Outta sight, outta mind” is apropos. As I heard stories of sadness, killings, poverty, corruption et al, I became used to it like so many people. I am not condoning inundating oneself with the negativity.
I was interviewed recently about my life and the question was asked, “Why don’t we have more concerned citizens?” I responded by simply saying that people will not get involved if it is not affecting them.
This brings me to my favorite quote from a German Protestant clergyman, Martin Niemoeller, who was imprisoned by Hitler 1938-45. He said, “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I was not a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time, nobody was left to speak up.”
My hope is that people will regain their interest in the broken lives and society’s rejects as labeled by the higher echelons. If you fail to appropriately address the ills, then you might just become the next victim of the “rejects.” I applaud the many people who have done great positive things, programs and other structural changes, but the need is still great.
In order for the social trajectory to change, a systemic problem of the chasm between the haves and have-nots, MUST be decreased. Everyone knows that where poverty brews, it’s inevitable that crime will follow.
Here in America, the rich run to the “hills” and refer to the “rejects” as those people. I am not just talking, but I am putting together resources to help in the educational facet. One person can make a difference.
Jenny Betson Williams