Living is no privilege

Actualizado: jul 20

BY ÁNGEL CASADO


Versión en español


These last few days have been tragic. We wake up to news that make us question everything we previously knew, or at least what we thought we knew. We are impregnated with feelings of pain, of emptiness, of incomprehension, and yet these are emotions that we have experienced before. It seems that the only thing keeping us together during these moments is suffering. The suffering that defines the existence of so many women, queer people, trans people, black people; it is still the price we have to pay simply for living. It would be hypocritical of me not to confess that until recently, "sustainability" was a term that confused me every time I heard it. I gave priority to individual rights and freedoms without realising that, in the fight for progress, we are all together. It is necessary to understand that inequality comes in many guises. The transformation of the system must be sustainable in the strictest sense of the word.  What the black community in the U.S. is experiencing today is nothing more than the product of a system that was born for the enjoyment of those considered to be elite. What is the difference between those who work under exploitative conditions in industries around the world to the point of losing their lives, and the case of George Floyd? It is obvious that there is an abuse of power. We have not abolished modern-day slavery. Its heirs are systematic racism, patriarchy, heteronormativity and, ultimately, the denial of any logical argument that imposes a need for change.  The political substratum is intersectional by nature and everything we are living through nowadays is complementary in order to reach its goal. The rhetoric of privilege has been used against those who seek equality to such an extent that those who do possess it are not aware that they are the problem. We have been told that we are privileged to be able to work, to be able to build a family, to be able to get married; reminding us that we are not worthy of the prize we have been given. That we are not part of society as a whole; that we are only a minority. We have been made aware that we are not the victims, but the genesis of the conflict.  Violence seems to be the universal response of those who hold political power. But remember, the use of force as a reaction goes against the democratic principles that gave them that power in the first place. We have never been isolated minorities: we are the people. This fight is common to all. That is why when one of us cannot breathe, none of us can. While the gillets jaunes, Fridays for future, Black Lives Matter, the MeToo movement are all completely different actions, they all pursue the same goal: social justice. This begins with a sincere observation of reality that forces us as individuals to demand equal conditions. It is a point of no return in human history where the foundations of the system are being shaken. Don't get me wrong, I consider myself privileged to be able to write these words, but in no way do I consider living to be a privilege. It is a universal right. It is during these moments when I remember a question posed by writer Pär Lagerkvist: life is going away from us, who knows where.  Today, I would dare to answer him by saying: wherever we, the people, guide it.

Translated into English by Gema Coello 

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