Wednesday, 18 January 2012

There was no one left to speak out for me


This week we remember Martin Luther King Jnr on Monday 16 January 2012 and next week the Holocaust on Friday 27 January 2012. Martin Luther King Day and Holocaust Memorial Day are important opportunities to stop, reflect and reaffirm our commitment to building a shared society based upon respect and non violence.

Martin Luther King has long been my personal hero and once remarked “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This unfortunately still remains a dream in some cases with a Dutch man and his Nigerian wife and son living in East Belfast again subjected to racist attacks last weekend.

Reflecting upon the inactivity of some following the Nazi rise to power Pastor Martin Niemöller remarked “First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me”

Nearly 67 years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau it remains vitally important to both speak out and act to eliminate intolerance, discrimination and hatred by building a society across Northern Ireland and beyond based upon respect for diversity.

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