Tara Murray was furiously typing on her laptop in a Lahore coffee shop when I met her. Fresh off the plane from the US, the Reprieve lawyer was doing the whole, hitting the ground sprinting thing. From the start, I was moved by Tara’s calm commitment in the face of what must be one of the most frustrating jobs in international law: representing Guantanamo inmates.
THE LESSON: I’ve learned so many lessons this year that it’s really quite difficult to choose one. But something that I’ve received confirmation on this year, something that I think I already believed (albeit abstractly), is that people are intrinsically the same and that if we focused on the things that make us similar rather than fighting about the things that make us different, this world would be a much better place to live in. Perhaps it sounds naïve and idealistic, but sometimes it’s the simple truths that we have a hard time accepting!
THE QUESTION: What happened to the “Change We Can Believe In” president? I’m so disappointed in Obama…
THE INSPIRATION: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl…if you haven’t read it, you must read it…though it was written more than a century ago it is still relevant in terms of the lingering tendency of the US government to dehumanize poor people and people of color and view them as expendable or merely commodifiable beings to be exploited for political and financial gain.