Midweek Column - If I was going to ask about equality
If I was going to ask about equality, I would want to know that everyone is given equal opportunity to succeed in our society. Success must be colour-blind and gender-neutral; where women are rewarded for their skill and contribution, equally as men are. Where no matter your race or religion, opportunity is given to the human endeavour.
Last week London voted in its first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, British born son of Pakistani immigrants. Britain is about to vote on whether to stay in or leave the European Union. This is substantially driven by opposition to immigration through the open borders policy, member states of the EU have; made even more complex by the flood of refugees coming into Europe. An interesting juxtaposition.
The first act of the new mayor was to attend UK’s main Holocaust memorial ceremony. Without getting into a discourse on middle-eastern religion and politics, both Jews and Muslims know what it is to flee oppression. Human travail equalises people. Frailties make us all commoners. New Zealanders say the country which gives us the warmest greeting is Turkey.
Last week I read Nelson Mandela’s words to a group of senior secondary students. He said “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
Celebrating the greatness we see in others is the courageous way to build the community we want to live in.