Conscious Activism

On February 26, 2013, I posted back-to-back tweets from my Twitter account, @CGAyling.  The first stated:-

Social conscience: recognizing injustice. {widely encouraged}”,

the second,

Social Activism: acting on your social conscience. {widely discouraged}”.

A growing sense of inequity, prompted these thoughts.

In my youth, fortune smiled on me.  The middle child of seven, my first memories are from our life in an extremely small village named Melsetter.  Melsetter is located in the scenic Eastern Highlands of a place now mired in tragedy, and renamed Zimbabwe.  In Melsetter, my father held a position of influence and my mother one of mystique – least those were my perceptions, for how else does a very young child raised in the security of a loving family see their parents?

Fortune’s pendulum swung.

Misfortune widowed my mother, leaving her to raise seven children.  While we lacked for things material, we never lacked for love.  My Godfather stepped into my life and assumed the figure of father for me, while never presuming to replace my deceased father.  The world seemed fair and equitable – a place of dignity, with difference assumed, and respected.  In my Godfather’s care, I learnt of conscience, and of deed.  He taught me that for conscience to hold any moral value, one must act upon it, with deeds.

A decade passed, my Godfather moved to Spain, and a terrible war ravaged my peaceful land.  I served on the losing side, volunteering for service before my scheduled conscription into the Rhodesian Army.

Why did I volunteer?  From a powerful sense of social activism – I knew Rhodesia was doomed to fall before the onslaught of communist backed terrorists.  (Terrorists is what we called them then, and terrorists is what they have proved to be.)  My conscience goaded me to act in defense of a homeland whose demise was imminent, and inescapable.  Following my Godfather’s lesson, I acted on my conscience and decided to volunteer for Military Service.  Widespread disapproval met my little act of possibly misguided activism.  Teachers drew me aside and told me that all I had to do was wait, the end of conscription was as hand – just as soon as Rhodesia lost the war.

Even within my family, my decision met with powerful disapproval.  My three older brothers, already undertaking their National Service, each urged me to reconsider.  My mother cried, something I have very rarely seen.  Although shocked at my family’s lack of support, within my heart I knew that their admonishments were in attempt to protect me from very likely harm.  When my mother perceived I would not relent and intended to serve, she urged me to join Internal Affairs, the Airforce, or the Police – all alternative forms of National Service instead of the Army, and all with far less risk of combat.  However, my wish was to fight for my country, not serve in another less active role.  I joined the Army, attended the School of Infantry, and ultimately received my wish.

Be careful what you wish for – for sometimes wishes are granted.

Looking back through hindsight’s rose tinted spectacles, I question much of what I believed at that time.  It turns out that truth is not absolute – it is nothing more than our perception of available information.  However, whether I did the right thing is not the point of this post – the point, is that I acted on my social conscience.

Question your conscience, to be sure its motivation seems pure, and then act on it.  Even if only to yourself, you will make a difference – and remember, change begins at home.


While you’re here, please take a look around my blog, you’re sure to find something to promote thought.

About C.G.Ayling

Musing misuser of words, lover of lyrical literature, author, occasional contrary thoughts. An honorable man’s name, in memoriam.
This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *