Hindsight turns events or people into heroes or Monsters. From that vantage point it is easy to declare the radical to be the new truth and view all that oppose it as bumbling idiots. At ground level though, on the day, the message is not always so clear. History is littered with such events and people; very often it is only chance that offers some any validity.
If the above is true, and I believe it is, I am forced to wonder what it is about some people that drives them, to rebel against the norm, the law and popular ideals. Rebel to the point where they risk, ridicule, imprisonment and,often, death? I am referring to activists such as Suffragettes, Unionists, Anti-slavers and so on. What special quality do these people possess that enables them to see the error of our ways and be so convinced they are right are willing to risk it all to win the day?
Emily Pankhurst struggled from the 1880’s to just two weeks before her death, in 1928, to win the right for women to vote. Imprisonment, starvation and years in exile were just a few of the things she endured. Driven to right this wrong she devoted her life to the cause.
Born in 1858, she grew up in a world where women had little or no rights yet she knew this was wrong. How did she know when all experience told her otherwise? What drove her to go against the grain?
In 1942 Sophie Scholl joined the White Rose group, a body of students opposed to Hitler’s regime. The students had to have known what they were risking when they secretly began their leaflet distribution especially when all around them were so afraid to speak out. Yet they went ahead. On the 18th of February Sophie, her Brother and a friend were arrested. On the 22nd all three were sentenced to death. Three hours later they met their fate on the guillotine.
Sophie was only 22 and everyone, apparently, remarked on her courage as she walked to her death. Why? What drove her to die for her cause?
Would you? Do you believe your country is perfect? Do you live in the best of all possible worlds? If you found out otherwise would you have the courage to stand up against it, alone if necessary, and face down the popular view. would you dare risk everything you have until you win, knowing that recognition for your efforts wont come until you are dead and possibly not even then?