500 Pens is a coalition of writers and photographers covering social justice, activism, and advocacy efforts.
This week’s headlines have been dominated by the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London. I imagine it has made the news internationally too, as it’s been a dramatic and striking incident. The fire may be out, but in many ways the story is only beginning. So many questions need answering about how it started, […]
People often forget that world wars don’t start between the primary opponents. No, those wars started in the smaller countries that became the battleground. We would do well to pay attention to history right now. -OM
A selection of images and words in celebration of World Water Day.
Michael Hobbes on the societal blindness that puts the blame for harassment on the victim: “If you have never been hurt by jokes about your gender or your race or your sexuality, those who complain about them seem oversensitive.”
Raluca Enescu is a Romanian national who is based in London. She is one of the leading figures in New Europeans – a civil rights movement for Europeans and one of our partners in the pro-European movement. Raluca is in London this evening protesting outside the Romanian Embassy and she has asked us to publish […]
A similar path has crossed both leaders. Both authority figures were voted for qualities such as their speaking abilities and confidence during speeches. Both blamed minorities. One blamed the Jews, and the other blamed the Muslims. Both had a subtle plan of exterminating their race for a consequence of a safer nation, lacking the knowledge of the globalised issue it would bring. Decades later. 2 World Wars later, people speak up. We unite against a repeated history. Yet some nations choose to stay silent caused by fear and led by the significant thought of ignorance due to the fact that they aren’t yet the victims. As Pastor Martin Martin Niemöllerspoke out against ‘the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group.’:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
History is repeating itself. And putting aside the significant difference between crowds who choose to be vocal, some nations still choose to wait until the issue becomes local.
However, I now, more than ever, feel proud to be human. To be a woman. To be part of something so loud that they will not stop until positive change is created. Because decades later, a group wrongly viewed as a minority stood out. Same-sex marriage has become legal in all states in all U.S. territories except American Samoa. It has become legalised in countries such as Argentina (2010), Belgium (2003), Brazil (2013), Canada (2005), Denmark (2012), England (2013), Wales (2013), Finland (2015), France (2013), Iceland (2010), Ireland (2015), Luxembourg (2014), The Netherlands (2000), New Zealand (2013), Norway (2009), Portugal (2010), Scotland (2014), Spain (2005), Sweden (2009) and Uruguay (2013).
And although these changes have caused hope, having the act become legal does not signify its acceptance. So people keep fighting for it. Don’t accept temporary change. Keep raising your voice until equality in a democratic state becomes a substantial and fundamental way of life.
A future voter.