We can all be brave leaders through our individual actions

the world is changed by your example coelho

Today I woke up to see this story of a 21 year old Swedish woman taking a stand against deportation of an Afghan from her country by standing up to prevent her flight from departing. Her name is Elin Errson, and she literally took a stand for what she believed to be right.

The video below is edited to 3′ and is very emotional and inspirational.

I’ve then linked to a Guardian interview of Ms Errson, then added my own thoughts and links to thoughts from two earlier posts on this site.

We can all be brave leaders through our individual actions

All we need do is simply take a stand for what we believe in, by simply being of integrity to that and acting from that place.

Leaders who do not, lose their followers.

Guardian article here, excerpt:

I hope that people start questioning how their country treats refugees,” Elin Ersson, 21, told the Guardian in an interview. “We need to start seeing the people whose lives our immigration [policies] are destroying.

The social work student at Gothenburg University bought a ticket for the flight from Gothenburg to Turkey on Monday morning, after she and other asylum activists found out that a young Afghan was due to be deported on it. In fact he was not on the plane but activists discovered another Afghan man in his 50s was onboard for deportation.

Facing both sympathy and hostility from passengers, the footage shows Ersson struggling to keep her composure. “I don’t want a man’s life to be taken away just because you don’t want to miss your flight,” she says. “I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane.”

Repeatedly told by a steward to stop filming, Ersson says: “I am doing what I can to save a person’s life. As long as a person is standing up the pilot cannot take off. All I want to do is stop the deportation and then I will comply with the rules here. This is all perfectly legal and I have not committed a crime.”

When an angry passenger, who appears to be English, tries to seize her phone, she tells him: “What is more important, a life, or your time? … I want him to get off the plane because he is not safe in Afghanistan. I am trying to change my country’s rules, I don’t like them. It is not right to send people to hell.”

After a tense standoff, during which the airport authorities declined to use force to eject Ersson, passengers broke into applause when the asylum seeker was taken off the plane.

Thank you for your inspiring stand, Ms Ersson !

At this point I’d like to share parts of two articles I’ve written here before, and as I do this, I do believe that in the power of individual action of such powerful integrity to make a difference. Remember :

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

~ Margaret Mead

The first article to share is: “Leadership – Take action, even put yourself at risk“, written earlier this month as President Trump was in the UK.

In this article, I gave two quotes. The first one speaks to individual and collective action. The second speaks to the creeping and insidious change in public dialogue we are seeing in the world. In the last week we have seen the BBC host a panel discussion on “the morality of diversity” (this is now ok to question by the BBC ?), and we have seen a oublic dialogue on whether or not the UK (which abolished the death penatly many years ago) should allow this for terrorism suspects. The conversation is changing, and it can only be shifted (I believe) by brave leadership from individuals.

So, the quotes, then please read on for the second archive article referenced, one of inspiring young leaders.

Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion.

Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

~ John Stuart Mill


First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

~ Martin Niemoller

So, to the second article, from March : “Emma, the world is changed by your example..

First, that article leads with the quote from Coelho in the image above, hence the title of the article. At that time I had already written about Emma Gonzalez, so my excerpt from the second article starts at that point.

In that {first} article, I posted the video of Emma Gonzalez speaking the day after the Parkland massacre, followed by the words: “Emma is a hero and a leader. Goosebumps watching this.”

Yes, a march is only the start. We are being lead by our youth and they MUST register and they MUST vote (something that typically does not happen among the younger demographic after any protest).

Yes, I don’t feel this movement is going far enough, and I don’t believe they yet see the power of change this can unleash. Gun control must go far further than minimal changes, we must see outright bans of almost all weapons from civilians. That is still not all we will see. This is a movement that may see outright overhaul of the US system of government, which has been fundamentally broken for decades.

Yes, a speech is only a speech, yet :

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” ~ Victor Hugo

As the phrase says, “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.”, or in this case, cometh the resolute, committed, brave teenage woman, Emma Gonzalez. She is our Mockingjay, our Tris, our Harry Potter. She and her peers were raised with books and movies showing youth overcoming dystopian evil. These stories were their guidebooks and training manuals.

On March 24th, 2018, Emma Gonzalez delivered a speech of stunning power. Savage in it’s simplicity, radically uncomfortable, she is a leader for the times we live in. As Barack Obama said after Parkland : “We’ve been waiting for you. And we’ve got your backs.”

Emma, the world will be changed by your example.

We can all be brave leaders through our individual actions