One thousand one hundred and thirty five.
1135 is the amount of people who went to work one morning in Dhaka/Bangladesh in April 2013 and never came back. Just like every other person, they wanted to make money to take care of they families and have a future. So they worked insane hours in the most horrible conditions and were separated from their families for many months to somehow make ends meet. They remained unseen until this day in April when their factory building collapsed and buried them under it.
Why should an incident that happened so far away from our home turf touch us?
These men and women were making clothes, shoes, bags and other kinds of accessories we enjoy buying from companies with big names. They suffered and sadly lost their lives to provide a luxury that we so often don’t even know how to handle.
This tragic incident has touched people all around the world and compelled them to take action. Things like the Fashion Revolution Week that wants to raise awareness for this issue that includes us all.
They speak about where we buy our clothes and how much we actually need.
They ask big labels to be more transparent about their production line and a look behind the scenes.
They push for legislation that is beneficial for both producer and consumer.
They help us understand the ugly truth: We are the ones who benefit from this broken system, so we are also the only ones who can change the system.
Maybe it makes you uncomfortable to think about these questions.
Maybe it takes a bit of work to do your research before you buy.
Maybe you will have to give up a bit of comfort to change the way you buy and consume.
Maybe this topic touches something inside of you that you rather stay away from.
A sense of responsibility.
A wind of change.
A nudge to action.
A step towards transformation.
That’s the day they become seen.
That’s the day their voice becomes heard. And it should roar like a lion, demanding a change.
There are many ways for you to participate in the Fashion Revolution Week (and beyond).
Ask the brands you wear #whomademyclothes.
Choose companies that produce ethically (a list can be found here).
Buy second-hand or go to a clothes-trade.
Think about how much you really need and treasure what you already have.
Over the past few months, something has been growing inside of me.
It started with an irritation, a slight feeling of discomfort.
The more I found out, the more I could sense anger rising inside of me, slowly making its way to the surface.
Fear seeping into every pore of my body until it has made me cold and numb.
Nationalist states who want to build walls around their countries.
People who close their doors and hearts to those in need.
Customers who buy cheap products at the expense and suffering of all the many.
Politicians who consider their reputation and position more important than common welfare.
Decisions that put democracy at risk.
So many young people who believe their voices won’t really matter.
Once you see, you cannot go back. The darkness of this world cannot be unseen.
It would be an all too natural reaction to give up and twiddle our thumbs.
To hide in the corners and stay as far away from it all as possible.
To detach from what’s going on and stop reading the news altogether.
To say, “I don’t care because I simply can’t handle it.”
But in the midst of all this hopelessness and despair, there’s something else springing up in me.
The world we live in is a fragile construct, a precious gift we’ve been given as stewards. It will not be changed by the bystanders and do-nothings. It will not become a whit better if all of us will stop caring. It will not become any brighter if we all hide our lights under the table.
So let’s raise our voices for the issues that get your blood boiling.
Let’s shine a light on the darkness of this world and create awareness instead of hiding in our ignorance.
Let’s protect the good that has been given to us and be grateful for the many undeserved gifts everyday.
Let’s educate ourselves to sharpen our tongues and minds for the debates that will be coming.
Let justice roll like a stream of mighty water and revive what has once been gloomy and dead. Let’s remind each other that in the midst of our brokenness, there’s the One who will all things well someday and that our anger will not be left unanswered.
We walk for the boy who has to exchange his toy for a gun.
We walk for the boy who lost his childhood to another meaningless war.
We walk for the girl who was taught that she is worth nothing.
We walk for the girl whose innocence is stolen from her as she sits in front of the webcam, naked and exposed.
We walk for the man who risks his health in mines as he inhales toxic air.
We walk for the man who is locked behind bars for simply telling the truth.
We walk for the woman who leaves her children behind to find a better life in the city.
We walk for the woman who feels like an empty, soul-less shell everything someone rapes her.
We walk for all the people who are enslaved in sweatshops and mines, trafficked into sex work and prostitution, caught in abusive and destructive relationships.
We walk for all those who don’t seem to have a choice and so often have no hope for the future.
We walk for all those whose voices have been silenced.
We walk to shine a light on hidden atrocities,
hope into the darkness.
We walk for freedom. Because we have this privilege responsibility and cannot be still until every human being has it, too.
Once a year.
One day in October.
In different languages, styles and time zones. One message: until everyone is free.
That’s why we walk.
Welcome to the first Five Minute Friday of 2017!
I hope you had a great start into the new year and are excited for everything that’s to come. Despite all the hardships and challenges, may you have always discover beauty in the ordinary around you.
A new year is often a good chance to start or try something new.
I have lived in my new apartment for three months now. Since I also started a new job, my life has mostly consisted of sleeping, working and eating. I know the way to the grocery store, to the underground station and back to my apartment. That sounds a little depressing, I know.
Now we are in the final days before Christmas. Our houses are filled with candle light and the smell of Christmas cookies. We are rushing through the department stores in search of the perfect presents and let’s hope we don’t forget anyone. We spend hours planning the Christmas meal. After a long and busy year we just long for a few quiet days with family, rest and peace.
This is our now. Continue reading “The Terrible Difference of Now”
I wrote this piece two weeks ago, not knowing how much more important its message would be just a few days later…
Last weekend I was in London. I spent Sunday afternoon walking along the South Bank and watching people as they enjoyed the unusually hot summer weather.
So many people from all kinds of backgrounds.
So many faces I’ve never seen before. I cannot help but wonder what their stories are.
Do they live in London or are they visiting? What has their week been like? What has brought them here today?
And how can this world be so diverse? Continue reading “Our Father”
It starts with the little things.
When I get up in the morning, but my body is still weary from the day before – I know it’s time to rest.
When my hair starts falling out and my wrists starts itching – I know it’s time to rest.
When I snap at people for no obvious reason – I know it’s time to rest.
When I forget about people because I am so focused on the product – I know it’s time to stop. Continue reading “Listen to the Little Things”
I want to go back to when things seemed to be easier.
When I didn’t have to worry about food on the table, bills to pay, an appartment to clean.
When I could rely on others taking care of me.
When I could just go back to school after the summer instead of job hunting. I want to grow in the challenges life sets before me.Continue reading “What I Want”
Just one small candle, its flame hardly seen against the bright blue sky.
But it was there.
Making a statement.
Twenty something students and I had just visited a concentration camp to get a first hand experience what our dark past had been like. The memories of torture, suffering, and death where looming over the hill. The lives of so many who had died here were still somehow present.
And now we were here to remember them.
It was an eerie feeling.
These people had died at the hands of those who no longer seemed to be people.
They were animals.
They had taken away whatever humanity had still been left in the victims and treated them like a piece of waste.
No dignity, no honor, just shame.
We remember those who suffered in the past, but realize the suffering of today as well.
The people who are forced into slave labor.
The people who suffer in prostitution or the porn industry.
The many refugees who wait at the gates of Europe and are met with nothing but hatred and spite.
The people who don’t fit into our little view of the world and we so often judge.
People are still cruel today. Humanity and dignity is lost in so many places.
One small candle makes a difference.
As more and more people light candles we come closer together.
We are all individuals, but we are also all together. And together we can make this dark world a little brighter, a little better.