Tomorrow night Get up is organising a candle vigil for the refugee crisis in Europe. I desperately want to support this cause and so my first thought of course was, great, I will go. But then something happened, practical considerations crept into my mind and I started thinking of several reasons why it just would not be convenient tomorrow night. It was in the city, a long way to travel with kids at that time of night. I have a busy week and have work to get through. I then thought about how cold it would be sitting out at night in Perth’s chilly spring winds. This is when it struck me….the absurdity of my thought, my concern about being a little cold when all those people are sleeping outside, with no food or shelter, no homes to go back to. And it was then that I decided I had to go. I had to make some sacrifice in their name. It is in the grand scheme of things, a sacrifice so small that it could be seen as tokenistic, but ultimately our habits, routines and everyday comforts are often the ones we do less easily without.
Supporting human rights involves much more than the process of memberships and financial contributions, though of course these are essential elements. What such causes need from the world is also for the privileged to confront their privilege and in doing so find an opportunity to voluntarily sacrifice a measure of the comfort we take for granted every day. It is only by doing this that we can grow our compassion for the people that suffer in the world, in circumstances where their reality is so removed from ours.