Blind Activism

It was 2 years and 6 months ago when I arrived to New Zealand for the second time. After a while wondering what to do with my Mexican self and realizing that my working holiday visa was expiring, I decided to start a Masters in International Relations and Human Rights at Auckland University. After all this time, I still believe that we can make a difference and … that stuff.

Anyway, when I had to attend uni I used to catch the train from Glen Innes Station (“rough” neighbourhood according to most of my friends, honestly, it’s been always friendly and “diverse” to me), as soon as I arrive to Britomart Station (Auckland downtown main station) I’ll walk into the closest convenience store and buy a can of Coke Zero (I know, disgusting, whatever) and a cheese and steak pie (the cheap brand) and will continue my solo entourage to Auckland Uni. Before passing by the Fonterra building I will notice an apartment complex to my right, with a lot of security cameras. From time to time you’ll see a graffiti on one of the walls, it was the face of a chinese man, bellow it you could read “Free him” and then the name of the guy. This will keep me on thinking for the rest of my walk. I promised to myself that I’ll search for it in the internet, I never did.

Two months ago I read on the news that he finally left China (escaped, fled, ran away, became a refugee) and arrived to the United States. So, I finally learnt who he is and why he was kept in custody for a while. To all matters, his determination and pursue of justice were a great example for all of us who noticed his liberation (those who weren’t busy watching Jersey Shore or America Got Talent or whatever Charlie Sheen has been doing lately), and took some time to read about him. Regardless of his story, we must ask ourselves how many like him weren’t that lucky and couldn’t tell to the ‘free’ world about the human rights violations they have suffered.

Chen Guangcheng is now in the US, and has expressed his strong interest to go back to China. He has created plenty of international awareness to some human rights violation occurring in China, mostly to women. No need to say that his determination (and media coverage) has made China-US relations a little bit awkward. You know, like when you learn that one of your friends hits his wife when at home.

“In China they silenced him. Now that he’s on U.S. soil he can speak truth to power,” – Women’s rights activist, Reggie Littlejohn.

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