Lydia Canaan

Lydia Canaan, the Lebanese chanteuse, endowed with a haunting musical gift, has been invited for the second time by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to address an illustrious gathering about political prisoners with a speech entitled ‘Hostage to Injustice’, delivered on 17th June 2014 to a standing ovation.

As I said, on a previous occasion:

Lydia, through the medium of her art, has whenever possible fought for the disadvantaged, the poor, the infirm, and those in our society who suffer great want and political persecution. 

I am therefore more than happy to reproduce on my blog the full text of her speech, for I believe her commitment to the oppressed and her unmitigated ardour in pursuit of her campaign need a universal airing.

And as a great admirer and friend of Lydia, I salute her and send her my most cordial and enduring support. May her dedication to the cause remain vigorous and unassailable.

I was born in a world of borders, barricades, and demarcation lines. And since I could not change the world around me, I created a world inside me, and I held on to it. It was a world with no borders, barricades, or demarcation lines. It was a world of hope.

To deny hope is to deny life. For what is life without hope, but a mockery of living, a theatrical existence, a theoretical state of being, a pale copy of reality? It is hope that has allowed humankind to thrive under the most adverse of conditions, hope that has given human beings the vitality essential to endure all manner of misfortunes, all horrors and hurts, all tragedies and tribulations, all cataclysms and catastrophes, and all seemingly cynical conditions. Hope is the necessary nectar of the demoralized in despair, of the discouraged and downhearted. For when the conditions of our existence are unacceptable, what is left of life but hope?

And what is a man but his convictions? And what can a good man do but follow his? It has been said that those who rebel are a threat to peace. Yes, rebels do pose a threat. But not to peace. They pose a threat to the global system of control sustained by the transnational ruling class.

Those who resist despotism, occupation, maltreatment, and persecution are not terrorists – they are resistants. The source of all terrorism is the corrupted system that convicts people who follow their convictions, and which imprisons them illegally. The terrorists are the governments serving their own agenda rather than serving their own citizens. For there is a shadowy force lurking behind the scenes, determined to demand the submission of all who refuse to acquiesce and conform. Let us not forget that Nelson Mandela was once called a terrorist.

The only thing worse than being unfairly convicted of a crime is being held longer than one was sentenced. A prisoner held past their sentence is no longer a prisoner, but a hostage. The only thing greater than injustice is injustice within injustice.

Injustice is an insurmountable obstacle to humanity. Neutrality in matters of injustice is complicity. Who but humans can champion human rights? If we do not protect each other, then who will? And if a person trespasses against his fellow man, does not justice even apply to just punishment?

When we politicize the pursuit of justice, we ironically perpetuate injustice and contribute to corruption. How many voices must scream out before they no longer fall on deaf ears? For our children of conscience are not unruly offspring; they are the progeny of righteous revolution. I have heard their testimonies, felt the anguished breath of the oppressed on my face. They have not been imprisoned by their oppressors, but by their own conscience, and not only their bodies imprisoned, but their very consciousness. The one imprisoned thus becomes both the jailed and the jail itself.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Those who resist injustice, those who lead rather than follow, have been called dangerous, and I am afraid that this is all too true. They are incredibly dangerous. They are a danger to the powers which seek to suppress the freedoms of every person on the planet and wish to subvert every rebel, every free thinker, and every independent person. They are a danger to this dark force that pits nation against nation and governments against their own people in order to brutalize and prey upon all nations or individuals targeted by their insidious agendas.

Those who resist oppression are dangerous because they think for themselves. But the greatest threat they pose is the potential to inspire others to awaken from apathetic complacency and act on their convictions rather than submitting to malevolent so-called authorities.

If only we were all so dangerous. I call for us all to become dangerous. This is a call for us all to follow our own convictions and resist all suppressive forces. I call for a global revolution, a collective conviction that begins with each individual’s personal convictions. May we all rise now with determination and bravery that each and every one of us poses just such a threat and just such a danger to a global paradigm of inconceivable injustice. After all, they cannot imprison us all!

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