What Can I do?
The world is a big, powerful and scary place. It is filled with monsters; governments, faceless departments and bureaucracies, multi national corporations, armies, lawyers and banks. Often, almost always, we feel powerless against them. "Just pay the darn bill!" someone will tell us, "You can't beat city hall."
We are born free but are soon beaten into submission. We are taught that it is futile to resist against the powerful machine, we are better off just "going along."
In a certain episode of "Seinfeld", George advises Jerry to just, "Go along with it." Jerry responds by saying, "I suppose if you lived in Nazi Germany I would see you goose stepping along and saying, 'just go along with it." What Jerry is saying is that each man must find a certain point where he will not just "go along with it." And yes, there will be consequences to being different.
Recently I was invited to Holland to teach Krav Maga seminars. My friend, IKI black belt instructor Fred Heins, kindly took me to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, an experience I cannot begin to describe.
Sometimes we ask, "What can I do?" i.e. we are really saying, there is nothing I can do so why bother trying. Let's take an analogy. Sometimes people ask me for writing advice. "How do I get started?" They ask. I tell them, take a piece of paper, a pen, sit down and start to write. It sounds simple, and it is. Don't think too much, just do it.
Back in 1942 young Anne Frank, was in a similar position. She faced a world no one should ever face; the evil Nazi regime and their helpers. She was a little girl, in hiding, in a tiny darkened room, what could she do?
She took out her pen and paper and she wrote. Her writings were her protest. The Nazis say we Jews are sub-human, I will show I am very human, they will not take my humanity away. I will write, my mind will be active, I will live every single moment that I can. She wrote.
She did not survive the war but she did defeat the evil tyrant. In 1999 Time magazine named her one of the most influential people of the century. Anne admired movie stars, she became the real star. Politicians, world leaders, celebrities quote Anne Frank on a regular basis and cite her as a source of personal inspiration.
What was it about her? Among other qualities people say it was her "ruthlessly honest disposition". Anne spoke the truth, even if it was only to her own diary. She could not be silenced. Her voice lives on.
What can we do in the face of evil? My friends, a great deal, a great deal indeed. Just look to little Anne for inspiration, read her diary, read her dreams. Remember one persons protest can be heard across many lands and over many years, she is heard in dozens of languages by people of many faiths.
Just say NO, say no to evil, say no to injustice, I will not just "go along", I will speak or write my mind, and eventually, I will be heard.