GUEST POST BY KYLE CRYAN, ENDSILENTTRAFFIC.WORDPRESS.COM
On a nice warm summer day in June of 2008, my mother was out in our driveway sitting in her purple lawn chair sipping an iced coffee as strangers walked around tables looking at old junk to buy. My mom had always loved a good yard sale. I, however, had to go down and remove at least one stuffed animal from the pile (even though I was a freshman in High School) to be saved from the clutches of an uncaring stranger. While I was sifting through the mound of fluffy eyes, each one begging to be saved, I heard a woman ask a man, whom I assumed to be her husband, if any of these items were either made in America, or Fair Trade. He replied with a sigh and said “Unfortunately no." "I don’t want something made by an enslaved child," the woman replied. “I know honey, me neither.” And with that, the couple walked back to their car and drove off.
“Slavery was abolished by Lincoln, so what are they talking about?” I thought. Little did I know, just how far from the truth I actually was.
I was fourteen, so my ignorance up to that point could’ve been chalked up to being young and carefree, but the truth is, deep down I knew this to be true. I knew that somewhere in China, India, Thailand…etc, a poor, underpaid (if paid at all) human being was making all of my first world comforts. From my shoes, clothes, and the coffee I have been addicted to since I was ten, most, if not all, have been made by the exploited hands of the innocent.
On that day I began a journey. I Google searched “Child Slavery” and was immediately drowning in a sea of facts, percentages, websites, blogs, and pictures of children whom had the same “save me” look as the stuffed animals being sold on my front lawn. But I kept silent; I kept all this inside. I didn’t know who to go to and I didn’t even know what to say. So I prayed from that day on, not just for the freedom of the children and the other men and women, but for the buyers and sellers of these humans to somehow see the terrible error in their gross and inhumane ways. I prayed and kept up with International Justice Mission (IJM) and Somaly Mam, whom, despite the recent expose, is still a hero in my eyes. For years I silently watched movements being made and listened as people spoke up and fought back. But it wasn’t enough; God didn’t create me for the sidelines and I now know that.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Fast forward to college life, as soon as I arrived, I searched for ways to be involved, to create for myself a voice from which only love, acceptance, and truth were being spoken. And as I grew and matured as a person, so did my voice. As a result of this growth, God handed me an opportunity to use twitter to fight against Child Slavery, and stand for 24 hours in the heart of Scranton, PA speaking out against the dark and hidden world a modern day slavery. In those 24 hours, I spoke to many different people from all walks of life and watched as people became more aware of the slavery and human trafficking around them. My heart fluttered at each new person that either my teammates or I spoke with. But this was just one day…I have many more to live.
These are the words of the graceful God that I serve: “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.” - Jeremiah 22:3
A life lesson: our silence is just as worse as any evil done; as well as that this world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. I am done being a silent observer. For my God doesn’t create second-string players. Each and every one of us was created as a starting player. Each one of us has a choice, we can either endorse the evil around us with our silence or to yell, scream, and fight…and end the silence.
I can’t answer for you. But I choose the latter.
Guest post by Kyle Cryan. Used with permission.
Originally posted at endsilenttraffic.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/ending-my-silence-by-kyle-cryan.
Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress was everything that Washington, D.C. is not. The Israeli Prime Minister laid out the threat of a nuclear Iran and why the current negotiations with Iran are a bad deal, and did it with a level of clarity and class that stood in striking contrast to the bickering and partisan that marked even the event of his speech. 55 Democrats boycotted Netanyahu's address to Congress on the grounds that it was "partisan grandstanding" and an attempt to give Netanyahu a boost ahead of Israel's upcoming elections (a theory which was addressed in our last blog post).
"I have often wondered what it would have been like to listen to a Churchill address. I think this is as close as it will get."
You can watch the full speech below. Skip to about the 25 minute mark for the beginning of Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech.
"Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel."
Tomorrow Prime Minister Netanyahu will deliver a speech before Congress. This speech comes two weeks before the Israeli elections. The invitation to speak has brought much contention in American politics for two reasons. In the first place Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to speak on a topic which he disagrees with President Obama. He will be speaking on sanctions on America's enemies, specifically Iran. The second reason for the controversy is that Netanyahu's election is close at hand and as a policy the US government does not like to dabble in other nation's affairs - at least that is the argument.
Netanyahu believes that Iran's government is serious about their rhetoric to destroy Israel and the United States. Thus it would be wrong to allow them to get any advantage by removing sanctions. Iran must be dealt with the same way that the Nazis had to be dealt with; through force.
President Obama believes that Iran and their leadership is basically misunderstood. If we in the West would stop oppressing them perhaps they would stop attacking us. Thus negotiating is the only way to peace.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing major opposition and a tough election from the Labor Party. One of the major problems is that unless the Likud Party retains leadership in the Israeli Parliament, Prime Minister Netanyahu will lose his position. The Labor Party is running a tight race, finding funding from many United State's liberals. Democrats claim that the United States would be endorsing of Netanyahu if he speaks. Many Democrats because of the belief that Speaker Boehner and Prime Minster Netanyahu are attempting to snub the President have announced their resolve to boycott the speech.
Republicans state that President Obama is currently negotiating with Iran and thus Netanyahu's take on the matter is time sensitive. They point out that most Israelis disagree with the Prime Minister's agreement to speak, because of the political infighting that his speech has caused. The Republicans note that the Prime Minister's goal has always been to do what is best for Israel, regardless of the personal consequences. Israel has an important part to play in any decision regarding Iran, Republicans argue, because it is Israel that is most affected and has the least ability to put economic sanctions on Iran.
Freedom's Defenders agrees with the Republican position on this topic. Because of Israel's close proximity to Iran; the fact that Israel will be affected the most by any decision regarding the fate of economic and political sanctions on Iran; and because she is our closest ally and the only democracy in the Middle East, her input should be valued. Because the President is going ahead with the negotiations despite the objections from Congress, Netanyahu should be consulted to give the American people the perspective of our closest ally.
Unfortunately Netanyahu's agreement to deliver the speech may hurt him politically in Israel. This is a price that he is willing to pay to defend Israel from the danger of Iran. Netanyahu's courage proves once again that he is a man of integrity who has the best interest of his people at heart. We should hear him out and support his effort to protect Israel.
To read more on this topic click here.