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Our World Can't Wait

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Message Stephen Zook
The first reaction I had when I was told that the "world can't wait" was "sure, it can." I certainly can. My papers will still be due, my professors will still lecture, and my alarm clock will still jar me from sleep whether or not George Bush is in office. My world can wait another two years.

But, this world is not mine alone. There are other people, people whose worlds cannot wait. People who cannot afford to just go on telling themselves that it won't happen to them. Because it is happening to their families, their hometowns. Its happening to them. They are being, quite literally, dragged off in the dead of night. They are being tried without evidence. They are being forgotten by the people who claim to be protectors of freedom. They are being forgotten by us. And we cannot forget them now.

There is an element of every human atrocity that people don't hear about a lot. This element doesn't bleed or cry in the streets. It doesn't make propaganda speeches while it blows up cities and lives. And far too often, it never even makes a noise.

It is the "unattached" third parties. It is the people who watch the news and read the papers. The element is us. And all the while, we tell ourselves that we can't change anything. We are deceiving ourselves. We, the disconnected masses, are the crucial element in changing anything. The victims of atrocities cannot change anything. The perpetrators certainly aren't going to change anything. But we can.

It was not the massacre of Colorado mining families that brought reform. It was the public outcry that rose from the "disconnected masses" who were appalled that brought change. And it was not the students who endured beatings and jail who ended segregation.

Again, it was the outraged public that put pressure on those in power to bring change. And it will not be the victims of unlawful interrogation, torture and bombs that will stop the atrocious actions of our government. It will be the people, the disconnected masses, the bystanders. It will be us.

If we sit in our cafes and coffee shops and don't make any noise, we repeat the same sad mistakes that we have been repeating. We will wake up one day and realize "Hey, that was pretty nasty, huh?" And so we will make some apologies, and maybe a movie. Let's make some noise on October 5th instead. Because our world can not wait.
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I am a student at Temple University.
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