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general assembly at work



Through great swathes of history and the passing of much time indeed great deeds have been done by great people. And we who struggle forward each and every day aspire towards greatness and are inspired by greatness as we follow the footprints in the sands of time. There is an ancient Japanese saying which states: he who made the greatest mistake is he who done nothing because he thought he could only do a little. There is another saying: all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.  

History in schools is recounted in terms of great deeds, of the peacock parade of gleaming kings and queens. Yet real history, the history of life and of being and of harsh, bitter struggle - this history is of real people reaching forward to secure survival for another day and to ensure their children need not struggle in the way that has been in the past. This is real history. It is a history of courage and untold bravery, of willing sacrifice in the true sense, of departed dreams and shattered realisations - all let go so our children need not live through the horrors we ourselves have witnessed. If history is a catalogue of war then indeed we are engaged in a war of humanity in which little humanity is shown. We are the real history of tomorrow. We are the history our children and our childrens children will look at - and understand the struggles committed in their name, to secure the future for their benefit. They will understand and they will be proud of the struggle … because we will tell them.

They need to be told.

We will tell them, tell them all, that we aspired towards greatness, that we were and continue to be inspired by greatness. We will tell them that we followed the footprints in the sands of time, the footprints of ordinary people who became great people, who took a stand to right the wrongs and made the world a better place. They could all only do a little yet together achieved the incredible. And this is the same as we who are here - we the workers, the makers, the creators of our society - we stand or we fall through our decisions. The greatness of humanity is not only through the history of kings and queens. It is through what we as people decide to do. If we turn away then piece by piece we lose our humanity. There has been enough turning away. There has been enough ignoring the faceless people bought and sold, induced and trapped into modern day slavery, abused, exploited in a crime that shames us all. It shames us all because we know it is happening … and we choose to turn away.

What greatness is this that we ignore the plight of those in the greatest need because it suits us? Actions speak louder than words.

In these days of economic hardship, if you are a government, why do you not work constructively with other governments to halt the chain of events that is human trafficking? Actions speak louder than words. If you are a company who employs illegal labour at cheap rates do you understand how your profit is built on misery? If you do then you are no better than the criminal gangs who perpetrate such crimes. Actions speak louder than words. If you are an individual who brings with them unpaid or low paid "domestics" as you move to different countries, how could you expect anyone to treat you with respect and in a civilised manner if you are an "owner" of slaves? Actions speak louder than words. Likewise, if you are a man who happens to frequent a "house of ill-repute" where the ladies have been stolen or induced from their far off homeland, how would you feel if your own children were treated as such and forced into inhumanity by abusive criminals who see little value in life? Actions speak louder than words.

Think about it.

Our aspirations towards greatness begin with our behaviour. It is not impossible to be great and to act great and to leave a legacy of greatness. It all begins with a state of mind - how we perceive others, if we ignore their plight and even if we choose to take advantage of their situations to feed the money hungry criminal gangs who undermine every aspect of civilisation. We the workers, the makers, the creators of our society individually can only do a little. Yet when we stand together and we raise our voices together then like ripples upon an ocean we will become a wave. And this wave will have a million voices - a billion voices - as we crash over all that was deemed impossible … and our children will be free to progress … and not bear witness to the horrors we ourselves have seen.

This is freedom. This is greatness. It is within our grasp. We can start by standing up - together - against the misery of human trafficking, the crime that shames us all. We who aspire towards greatness need never live under the shadow of shame. This is how history is made by ordinary people, courageous people. This is exactly how ordinary people change the world.




James Stuart


James Stuart is a senior level advisory management consultant. He has over 20 years experience of strategy development based organisational transformation. This has been for a range of globally branded multinationals as well as a range of public sector organisations, most recently leading edge healthcare.



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