We are all desperate to get back to normal, but should we?
What an average word
So uninspired…It’s actually absurd
In a time when we have been forced to change our ways
To pause and isolate and dream of better days
That we’d ever yearn for the world of yesteryear
A world so divided
So fragmented by fear
It’s mind-boggling at best
That we might just blow mother nature’s test
Longing for the same madness
That put us in this global sadness
Of me first and screw you
Surely getting back to normal can’t be our aim
After all of the sacrifices, death and pain
Yes, this pandemic has brought us to our knees
Cutting jobs and highlighting inequality
Our leaders are exposed
And the broken systems they have imposed
Are now obviously not making any sense
So, why do we obsess
And resist what needs to be
The end to these failed economic schemes and political machines
That weaken and divide
Leaving only the elite satisfied
No, we have to be better than this!
And if not for ourselves, we must for our kin
Our children and their children and the ones after them
Thankfully, our youth has far more motivation
To take action and end the years of frustration
By breaking down the walls we’ve created
And the inequality that is so outdated
So, now what are YOU going to do
Let’s hope it's something substantially new
To keep building post Corona
A human existence that is far from over
Learning from our lessons
Respecting all persons
Especially our healthcare and essential workers
Who were invisible to too many of us before this pandemic
And never again, lest we forget
What and who really matters
Even when all hope scatters
Because this tragedy surely must be
Our big opportunity
To look beyond what has always been
And build a world that we can all thrive in.
Kumi Naidoo is a human rights and environmental activist from South Africa. He was Executive Director of Greenpeace International from 2009 to 2016 and Secretary General of Amnesty International from 2018 to 2020. He is Founding Chair of Africans Rising for Justice and is currently a Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin where he is exploring big questions such as why political activism fails to make the changes needed, and why the rate of progress is so slow and misaligned with science’s urgent realities. Together with Berlin-based artist Olafur Eliasson, he is looking into the possibilities that ‘artivism’ offers to make the messages of climate justice, economic justice, and other struggles more accessible to a much larger audience.
Conversation between Kumi Naidoo and Olafur Eliasson at COP 26 in Glasgow 2021
Interview with Kumi Naidoo: “We are basically saying to young people, your lives don’t matter.“
“Kumi Naidoo gets real on COP26, burnout, grief, his new book and life after Amnesty International,” IOL South Africa.
Africans Rising, a Pan-African movement of people and organisations working for peace, justice and dignity.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” — Albert Einstein
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” — Soren Kierkegaard
Xenophile (n.): A person who has a love of foreign people and culture; A person with an interest in celebrating people's differences.
“Diego had never seen the sea. His father took him to discover it. . . . And so immense was the sea and its sparkle that the child was struck dumb by the beauty of it. And when he finally managed to speak, trembling, stuttering, he asked his father: “Help me to see!””— Eduardo Galeano, The Function of Art I