fighting.

Lovely one, if you dare to dream, you must be brave enough to fight.
-Lisa Bevere

There are all kinds of fighting in the world. Every minute of every day, there is fighting happening somewhere.

Last night, a bunch of us girls got together for a movie night, but we were disrupted before we could even push play by a loud and angry dispute in progress next door. We sat together, some of us getting up in agitation to converse mutely with the guard about our options, many of us with our hands over our mouths, as we listened to both man and woman shouting at each other, the woman’s high-pitched screaming that went on and on, the clanking of a chain, the barking of a dog. After peeking over the separating wall, our compound’s guard assured us that the chain was not being used on the woman, that the bitter words were being thrown around equally by both man and woman, and that there was no need for us to intervene. As you can imagine, his words did little to comfort those of us who tend more toward action than patience. Fighting.

I read an article this morning about human rights activists in Western Sahara. Caught in an occupation situation the world has forgotten about, they struggle daily with the oppression and brutality of Morocco. These activists have enduring torture, jailing, and harassment, yet they maintain that it would be better to die than to live in fear. Fighting.

In South Sudan, nothing…absolutely nothing…makes sense. Another generation of children is being lost to continued unrest and misery in Darfur. Rebels and governments armies continue to clash, to kill, to massacre, to loot, to frighten. Refugees and displaced people are running in every direction, and even those who do make it to a camp in safety face desperate conditions, including malnutrition, crime, and scarce water.

My neighbor, upon seeing me shuffling around on our porch this morning, beckoned for me to follow her down to her residence. She showed me the newest member of her family, a tiny tuxedo-colored kitten with a pitiful mew and very little meat on her frail bones. My neighbor informed that she’d found the little one wandering around the road just a few minutes from our gate. After inquiring after her owners, she was confident the kitten had been abandoned, and she decided to bring her home. In a world where so many children are abandoned, mothers die in child birth, young boys shoot each other with guns they shouldn’t even know how to hold, chemical weapons are used by despot dictators, and spouses beat each other out of frustration and desperation, I think it would have just been one tragedy too many for my neighbor to have passed this starving kitten by and left her on the roadside. We read the news and are bombarded by anger, violence, sadness, despair. My neighbor, and most people I know, cope by doing the little things they can every day. They work against the injustice in front of them. She wasn’t going to let this little thing die if she had anything to say about it. Fighting.

I consider my options for the future, both for my career and personal life. I read the news and good books. I write. I go to work, and support an organization doing vital human rights work on the ground. I do the little things I know how to do to help this one organization and, by extension, the people they work for. The people they fight for. I don’t know exactly what the next few years hold for me, where I will go, what I will do, who I will meet, but wherever the wind takes me, I am both driven by a fire for justice and motivated by a still small voice that whispers in my ear: is that the best you can do? Whatever I do next, I know I want to fight. Somehow, in some way. For justice, for children, for peace, for rights, for full bellies and free minds, for acceptance, for unity. When you come to find me, you’ll find me fighting. Fighting.

Of all the types of fighting in the world, I wish we had more of the last two. Fighting against injustice. Fighting for freedom and peace and love. Fighting will always exist, but we get to choose what kind of fighting it is. In our own lives. In our own corners. Let’s fight the good fight, fight the just fight, and encourage others to do the same.

 

**Please check out my new blog: Stepping on Cracks. It is dedicate not so much to personal experience and reflection as to more professional and academic opinion and research about international development, politics, and affairs. I’d love it if you read my first post and, if you enjoyed it, subscribed.

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