While children may lack the cynicism that comes with age, the sophistication that comes with experience, or the confidence that comes from success, they have a more unsullied, innate view of what is right and wrong.
They are resilient creatures who can survive the worst of circumstances if they know they are loved and they have the basic necessities for existence. They want to please, they want to be accepted, they want to do well and have hope for the future, and they want everyone to just get along.
I remember going to watch my children run in their primary school’s cross country. There were a couple of disabled kids competing. As they entered the school for the final stretch to the finish line, long after the other competitors and accompanied by a few helping friends, all the other kids spontaneously formed an honour guard to cheer them home. There were smiles and high fives and a wonderful feeling of pride as these kids crossed the finish line. I looked over at their mothers and they, like many of us, were crying.
These children overcame huge physical and mental barriers to have a go with the encouragement and support of their peers. Their tenacity was commendable and their achievement undeniable.
When I read of 12-year-old Clare Fall’s letter to Tony Abbott regarding the defunding of the Paralympic soccer team, I was again inspired by our children’s sense of justice. This young lady very eloquently expressed her dismay at the decision and forcefully presented a case for its recision.
Sadly, Tony Abbott failed dismally in giving this heartfelt plea the respect it deserved in his generic ‘pat on the head’ form letter response.
Considering he gave $10 million to the Manly Sea Eagles, which just so happen to be in his electorate and he is the number 1 ticket holder, and $5 million to the Murdoch owned Brisbane Broncos, as well as an $882 million tax refund to Rupert because he has good accountants, perhaps those two successful football clubs might see their way clear towards coming up with the $175,000 that the government has stripped from the pararoos. Maybe Cadbury might like to sponsor them out of the $16 million that they were given – it would be a nice gesture considering the profits they make.
I have also been inspired by the fight by the kids of Woodville High to bring back their friends who Scott Morrison has taken from their home and friends and incarcerated, seemingly on a whim as the boys had done nothing wrong.
These young people have mounted a campaign in all forms of media and made representation to anyone who will listen. Even though they are scared and angry and upset, they have spoken with clarity and compassion about this injustice. They have put names and faces to these “illegals” who are just two 16-year-old boys trying to make their way without the help of family. Their friends and teachers and carers have spoken of two diligent young men who were an asset to their community.
And they are getting international recognition of their efforts, even if they are met by stony silence from Mr Morrison.
The Hong Kong Justice Centre reported:
“The spirit, tenacity and capacity for activism shown by young people in the face of adversity never ceases to amaze me and motivate me in my work. I am currently being inspired by a campaign emerging from Australia, #twotoomany, which sees students of Woodville High School, Adelaide, mobilise on and offline to put pressure on their government to release their two Vietnamese refugee school friends from detention.
As well as fervent social media activity, the young activists behind the campaign are collecting signatures for a petition to Scott Morrison, immigration minister; are talking eloquently to the media and speaking passionately on the issue in the South Australian Youth Parliament. It has all the ingredients of a successful and high level political campaign, yet the activists are not seasoned lobbyists or politicians, but high school and university students outraged at what’s happening to their friends and displaying tactical wisdom beyond their years.”
The same article speaks of the Glasgow Girls who were seven high school students at Drumchapel High School in Glasgow.
“When the girls arrived at school one day to find that their fellow pupil, 15-year-old Agnesa Murselaj, a Roma from Kosovo, had been forcibly removed with her family by immigration officers in a dawn raid, her school friends Amal from Somalia, Roza from Kurdistan, Ewelina, a Polish Roma and local Drumchapel teenagers Emma, Jennifer and Toni-Lee, banded together to campaign for her release.
What started as a school petition grew into a significant and targeted human rights campaign, with the eloquent and motivated girls succeeding where adults, NGOs and politicians had failed, lobbying the Scottish Government, the UK Home Office, capturing the imagination of the media and the support of their local community.”
Our students are also at the forefront of the fight for an affordable education, protecting the benefits that their parents enjoyed for future generations. In response, Coalition MPs have stopped giving lectures at universities.
Our young people are leading the way in the fight for the disabled, asylum seekers, equal opportunity to an affordable education, and they also do much of the campaigning to save the environment. It seems to me that our children could teach this ‘adult’ government a lot about what is truly important.
Monkeys could also give them a hint what might happen if they continue down this path of cruelty, injustice, and inequity.
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