the things we keep over there

4 01 2018

the things we keep over there
are over there for a reason
otherwise they would be over here


the things we keep over there
are out of sight
and with luck and busyness and a general sense of denial
also out of mind

when reading a biography of William Wilberforce
i discovered his realisation that we are satisfied
with building wealth on the breaking backs of others
as long as we don’t see it for ourselves
as long as it is kept over there
wherever there is

Wilberforce was born into ‘wealth, privilege and idleness’
and so did not need to ruffle any feathers that might challenge
the status quo of those with status
like him
but Wilberforce found a renewed faith in Jesus
and the gospel imperative that all people are equal
before God
if not before other people

suddenly he couldn’t do anything but challenge the slave trade
what was kept over there
could no longer be kept over there
out of sight
he realised the majority of British people had no idea what was going on
in their name
for their wealth
to turn a blind eye was to collaborate
to be a slave trader

to know about it and do nothing
was out of the question

Wilberforce challenged those with power
and this was no left-wing socialist revolution
for one of his co-conspirators was Adam Smith
upon whose system we build capitalism
and for whom slavery went against the capitalist principle
of personal freedom and opportunity for wealth-creation

so you see
we do see, I think we see
that not much has changed

we still keep those things mostly over there
slavery like cobalt mining in the DR Congo
or clothing factories in Bangladesh
or cocoa plantations in Ghana
or maybe the Amazon warehouse in Essex

injustice must be brought into the light
and once seen must be kept over here
and not put back over there
because it happens
so we must face it
and then we can choose to do nothing
but at least then they
and we
will know that we have chosen.







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