We Have The Power

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Jack Liddall BI2016
Member since November 1, 2015
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  • Age 17

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and VOY blogger Jack Liddall

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and VOY blogger Jack Liddall

Who does not want the world to be a fairer place?

We have all, at some point in our lives, been witness to and subject to unfairness and discrimination. We all know what it is, what impact it can have, what vicious forms it can take and how it manifests itself in the world. No one is exempt; no one is free. Unfairness penetrates our everyday lives. It exists within our very being; our very existence.

From my perspective, eradicating unfairness seems virtually impossible. No matter what progress governments seem to make in tackling corruption, greed and unfairness, it still festers. Tackling injustice seems such a mammoth task and it is difficult to know where to start.

On Thursday 11th of February this year, I received some serious encouragement. The top politician in my country, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, agreed to meet me to discuss my Voices of Youth blogging internship and what contribution she believes young people can make in tackling injustice. So listen up all you Voices of Youth bloggers!

Does she think young people have an important role to play in helping to shape our world? You bet she does.

She thinks it’s vitally important to engage young people in the debates that shape our lives and acknowledges how easily we can talk to each other using modern technology. This means we are now as able to speak to someone on the other side of the world as we are to someone on the next street; it means that a Scottish school pupil can make a direct contribution to a Syrian refugee in Greece. She highlights how powerful it is to enable a young person to see beyond their own horizons.

That, I guess, is where Voices of Youth (VOY) fits in. The world needs more initiatives which make the case for everyone getting the same opportunities in life, a view which the First Minister shares. She pointed out that Scotland, as a rich country, has an obligation to provide practical support to those who are in need and indeed has responded to that need by establishing and protecting an international development budget. That, however, is not to minimise the contribution to be made by initiatives like VOY.

It was so refreshing to hear this politician confess that sometimes as people get older, they become a little “cynical and jaded” and that’s when it becomes even more important to hear and see things through the eyes of children and youth.

“I often think there is a power in hearing things expressed from the viewpoint of a young person” were her exact words. Take heart from that.

I felt compelled to ask her what she would say to the VOY blogging world if she had to sum up the Scottish character – after all she was so keen to encourage us to learn about each other’s cultures! No surprise that she agrees with me that there is something deep in the Scottish psyche that recognises the inherent worth of a human being regardless of gender, religion, race or background; each to be judged according to the person they are. She cautions against complacency however and romanticising, believing that racism and prejudice still exist and will always have to be tackled. I liked the way she quoted Robert Burns – obviously she has read my earlier blogs! I hope!

So for all of you who, like me, wonder where to start, let me tell you that we have already made that start. Wherever we live, whatever our culture, we have connected to each other already and we are able to make a difference. There will always be politicians and other influential individuals who will at least be open to listening to us. For there is great power in the art of listening.

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