My Magna Carta
Once upon a time, there was a troubled king. And a letter came to his aid.
To wear a crown of gold and resolution is a mighty task. To wield the pen of peace and yet say your mind, change the future, but leave the past unscathed, perhaps an even mightier. I have not lived long enough to recognize this world as it is –imbibe all its hills and planes, mounds and valleys, and stay unaltered –let alone to understand its faults. I have not been allotted the right of a coherent opinion for much time, either. I am a child and a child I will stay until my hair turns white and my languid thoughtlessness becomes incongruous with it. I am a child and a child I will stay for as long as humanly possible, because I’ve glimpsed the realm of adulthood and have been flinching ever since.
My logic may be the haggard excuse one too many have called upon before me; I accept the accusation with a heavy heart and a light head. Today it will shelter me from harm. Tomorrow, too. Though, admittedly, there will come a time it will no longer resemble principle, but fear, and I no Peter Pan, but a coward, I want to explain it. Albeit a coward-to-be, I have words. I want them heard. I need them heard.
Hunger has a narrow face, eyes as dark as ink. It slithers across continents – a gasping void of pallor and bones, leaving nothing but despair in its wake – when it can be stopped so easily; when it doesn’t have to exist. Whether you agree with me or not, try and see. Reach out a helping hand. Offer a smile and a shake of the head the next time you want to throw food away. We’ve come together before to rebuild a fallen building or city – Haiti is on its feet and Nepal’s getting there. Why not do it again, but this time for the entire planet instead? Let there be bread, for everyone.
Disinterest is a spreading disease. It has skipped oceans in strides and swallowed generations whole. Targets are selected seemingly at random, but no-one is safe. Kids have strayed from finding themselves to stare at screens and complain and judge, when really there’s nothing to be dissatisfied about or judgmental toward. It’s not like that with merely book covers and obligations anymore. Apparently, one glance is enough to tell whether a girl is entertaining or a boy worth their time. A click sufficient a gesture to form friendship! There are the backlashes too –these not quite profane but immeasurably cruel things only children are capable of. They destroy and they hurt because they don’t know another way. Give them an opportunity. Present them with a freedom so gallant it cannot be refused. Open museums, libraries, parks. Let there be a choice, for all.
Hate is the worst of all demons. And as surely as gravity is the reason we don’t float – it is bred, not born; a feeble brute seeded deep inside our bellies. We rarely feel it grow, yet always know when it’s there. There is no going around it, I realize. There is no pulling it out by the roots. When a sixteen-year-old girl looks in the mirror, one cannot bind the curling tentacles glaring at the reflection menacingly; cannot tell her “You beautiful, beautiful creature, stop being so hard on yourself”. When a man shakes a fist in the direction of two boys kissing, one cannot calm the baneful flame rising in his chest; cannot draw atop the fleeting winds “Affection comes in many, many forms, don’t resent what you don’t understand”. Hate is the most difficult to do away with. It perseveres no matter how gentle the originating idea is or how coarse an approach we use. But sometimes silencing it is enough. Antifeminism, racism, xenophobia, envy –they’re all different forms of the same deformity, omnipresent, overbearing – yet mankind still exists, despite their darkness. Teach whomever you can to fight the corruption. Advise those of us less fortunate who you fail to touch directly. Respect all. Man may be raised to hate, but he is created to cherish. Let there be love, for better or for worse.
Albeit a coward-to-be, I have words. Some are mine, and some are borrowed:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
― Thomas Jefferson
But all of them are true.
We often take for granted the life we are given, all the rights it entitles with it. We often close our eyes in the face of hunger, disinterest and hate; look the other way. It’s only natural we do – angels shouldn’t walk among the ephemerals. We often forget that somewhere someone conjured our now and worked for it and wrote and fought the public skepticism with wisdom. Eight hundred years ago that battle started and it is still on-going. Eight hundred years ago a letter rose from the ashes of conflict and remains standing until this day. Magna Carta is that letter. It is the phoenix whose wings we have flown atop for very, very long.
I am a child and as every child all I wish is to grow up, billow, bloom. I am a child and as every child I dream of the future and believe in change. Don’t take that away from me. Don’t take it away from yourself. Don’t let the world come undone.
Open your mind to the minds around you. Breathe trust. Collect words, not money.
Give what you love and love what you are given.
Have an opinion, but don’t impose it on others.
Throughout history, disasters have been common enough. Revolutions, wars, body counts as expansive as nations –we’ve seen them all. Breaks were short and few and far between, repose seldom really present, yes, but they existed! The good times have perpetually dwarfed the bad!
Since the turn of the century, though, that balance has visibly shifted, its boundaries blurred by media riptides and scorn. Having kicked off the decade with the 9/11 truth movement, through the Fukushima Daiichi cleanup hoax, Arab Spring and MH370 conspiracy theories, only to circle back to Charlie Hebdo this January, people have lost their grip on the difference between public knowledge and public opinion. Privacy has fallen through the cracks and anything short from voluble has become a direct insult.
Space isn’t but the portion of air at a given instant. It is the right to grieve; the freedom to feel whatever aftermath in private, perhaps more intimately; to think about what could have been done differently; contemplate that which remains.
“Privacy –like eating and breathing –is one of life’s basic requirements.”
― Katherine Neville
To all of those whose loved ones passed in the aforementioned sites and dates; to the people that have lived and died on TV and in papers, in front of family members or alone, who I’ve met or haven’t, but paid little mind to what their departure meant; I’m sorry.
To the ones that don’t just listen, but hear; thank you.
This is my letter. This is my phoenix. This is my Magna Carta.
Once upon a time, there was a troubled world. And a child came to its aid.