|“||First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
It’s very easy to stay silent often through fear or apathy. In these days of protectionism and self-interest it is increasingly difficult to stand against the tidal wave of unconcern and disinterestedness.
But in these unpredictable and unsafe times, when confusion and suspicion exist at every turn, it is more important than ever to be vigilant and vocal. Niemoller’s words have many applications but all deal with the danger of staying quiet in the face of wrong-doing just because it initially doesn’t affect our own lives.
Whatever our own place in society we need to stand up for anyone suffering persecution. Support the unsupported and defend the defenceless. Protest about the neglect and mistreatment of minorities. Protest about the scapegoating of the vulnerable. Object to discrimination against anyone.
Don’t blindly follow the mainstream. We need to think for ourselves and not be easily influenced.
Examine everything, Accept nothing without being informed.
Challenge the accepted systems, the dominant paradigms, and be prepared to change what doesn’t work. And do it all with a clear voice. Speak out!