A very famous proverb states; “Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.” Kofi Annan once said, “We may have different religions, different languages and different coloured skin, but we all belong to one human race.”
Equality is like an invisible thread that bounds together, hearts from all across the globe. In our deteriorating society, where humanity is crippling and unity is shattering, equality has been turned into a non-existent concept that has been pushed to the back of our heads because we do not consider it important enough. We walk the roads, our passive gaze fixed straight ahead, oblivious of the world around, that has suddenly become inferior to us. With our royalty-oriented mindsets and the lust to grow in a rich social circle, we have started to ignore the bitter reality of the existence of a community that may not be as privileged as us but who are, nonetheless made of same clot of congealed blood.
We look around at our beautiful city, all clean to the core, sparkling like a new needle. Neither a wrapper on the streets nor a stray speck of dust to be seen. We don’t have to jump over garbage piles nor do we have to inhale the sickening odour of rotting rubbish. Our kids play outside without the lingering threat of acquiring Tuberculosis or Cryptosporidiosis which are diseases caused by accumulation of waste. Our streets do not get swarmed by mosquitos that pose a constant threat of dengue or malaria. Did a kind-hearted fairy swish her wand to make this Earth a place well suited for human beings to breath in? Or does God send his Angels down every night to clean this place? Possibility is, there are some special kind of people who do not care about their health, who do not care about inhaling dangerous toxic fumes, who do not care about plunging their hands into a garbage void for you. These people are often alienated because obviously, they do not belong to our posh circle. Instead, they work hard so this posh society will have clean land to breed in. These people are those sweepers, those street workers, those garbage carriers, those gutter cleaners who make a healthy world possible for us. Just because these people do not have manicured nails and designer clothes to worry about, it does not mean that they deserve to be pushed away. Their dirty clothes repel us because we ignore the fact that they are the reason our clothes remain clean. We convulse at the idea of touching their hands or letting them touch us with their dirt-streaked hands because we ignore the fact that their hands rummage through waste to keep our area clean for us. They do not deserve to be considered as unacceptable. Break the stereotype. Let them in.
Uwe Maurer said, “We have no special needs children. Just children with special needs.” In our society we see children who have special needs being shunned away. A girl with Down’s Syndrome will have to sit alone in a corner during her school recess. An autistic child will be left alone during a football match because neither team wants him in. A girl who lost her hair due to chemotherapies will not be invited to parties because she won’t be able to fit in with all the glitz and glam of fashion. When Disney decided to launch bald princess dolls, they did not realise that these traumatised children do not need a doll that looks like them, but friends who accept them as they are. Nowhere in any religion has it been mentioned that a little mutation in your chromosomes or a slight unbalance in your bodily routine makes you any different than rest of the “normal” community. They are normal too. These children should by no mean be considered as an abomination or cause of shame for their families. There’s nothing wrong with the child but with you if you feel hesitant in introducing your special child to the world. They are a piece of your existence, spiritually and biologically. Despising them is synonymous to despising yourself. Before support, there comes the need of acceptance. First, from the family. Then, from the society. Break the stereotype. Let them in.
“For any child, life remains a sea full of experiences just waiting to be explored,” said Natan Gendelman. But do we realise that how many children have been shackled behind the bars of limitations because of how we’ve categorised them into “rich children” and “poor children”. Do we realise that how many dreams have been washed away with tears from the eyes of a child who cannot afford to dream big? Do we realise that how many tiny hearts have stopped wishing because their wishes come with heavy price tags? We live a society where a 15 year old’s MAC lipstick costs more than a 10 years old little girl’s salary for a month. We live in a society where our mascaras are more valuable than another child’s tears of desperation and longing. If a young child is working for you, it does not mean he deserves to be treated like a filthy being. These children don’t deserve to be secluded because their backs are only meagerly covered with rags that are already in tatters. If we see a young child working in a car mechanic’s shop or selling magazines on a road side or doing any odd job, we people do not even care to inquire about his name. It’s like as if he has no identity. As if “poor” has been tattooed on his forehead like a birthmark. Sometimes, all that these children need is a breakthrough. An opportunity to use their suppressed talents but sadly and unfortunately, they grow in a community where they cannot even sit in the same room, rest on same chairs, eat in same plates or bath in same washrooms. Break this stereotype. Let them in.
As Michael Jackson in his song sings, “Heal the world. Make it a better place. For you and for me and the entire human race.” we understand the cruciality of this instant that the world is living in. We have divided ourselves according to our class, creed and the balance in our bank accounts. Here, human emotions have been discarded like old news and human rights are being violated without second thoughts. We step over under-privileged or less fortunate people like we step over dead animals. We need to wrap our heads around the forgotten idea that these people have feelings who protest. They need to be accepted, instead of being refused an identity. These stereotype need to be broken before the last cord snaps into two and the global civilization plunges into a nothingness. Break the stereotypes. Let them in.