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Freedom Writers

By Rosemary Fincke, Bachelor of Laws

I watched a film once called "Freedom Writers ".... This movie reflected that inner voice we have in all of us. My inner voice aligns with Saint Scholastica, “Here is to all the women who want to assert what is right before God”.

We spend time studying and learning at university, yet I have come to the end of my law degree as a mature age student and on the other side, it does not look more attractive than when I started. This reminds me of the ‘father of the Soviet Hydrogen bomb’ who later became a human rights activist, Andrei Sakharov. You go through the honeymoon stage of learning and then you have new found knowledge at the end one needs to deconstruct to create greater good.

This blog is a reflection on my experience of speaking my truth and raises the question….Why do others turn away on hearing truth and silence you?

I rarely speak out, however interestingly at university whenever I did speak to one of my peers about this, they had a similar story. The same story over and over again, it is like we live in the Truman Show .... a facade of signs of "respect now", yet when you find the courage to speak up a wall of silence appears. You may get pacified emotionally... yet there is no justice in the current system. The system fails you. These are human beings just part of the system. Are there individual thinkers out there, or are we all Adolf Hitler's henchmen doing what we are told? Is fear driving this conformity?

"Why are you studying law?," the Dean asked. "I find the law interesting," I said, and "I enjoy the intellectual challenge. I also find the idea of the lay saint Dorothy Day intrigues and inspires me:

"There are many saints for charity and few saints for justice"

So often problems want to be moved away and rarely do they want to be actioned or addressed. Through action change can occur. This ruffle feathers, disturbs the status quo. People do not like this as it can lead to exposure.

We are all different, we all have our weaknesses and strengths. However there seems to be a black hole in the legal profession and society in general regarding psychological harm. This is ignored, and actually controversially, I have found that there are professionals in corporations, communities and universities that both thrive and condone this behaviour. This seems and has become the status quo.

For someone who is respectful of others, uses their voice only when they really need to express something of importance, to be met with a wall of silence is confronting. The world has forgotten to be still and quiet. I thrive in quietness and solitude. There are others who don't, I understand this, however when I ask for this to be respected, it is more than often ignored. Then at times antagonised and use as a tool and causes harm. This is when you think the law steps in. It doesn’t. I would perhaps make a great moral lawyer. This will require a new moral code, which one would think already exists. It is like international soft law, it is not binding. It would be considerate to follow moral code, it is a choice that many times errs on the side of law- and this is the problem.

Today I attended a fascinating seminar as part of my Experiential Credit (GL X29) for the Global Leadership Program. I selected it as I was curious. It was entitled "Ecological Security”. I could weave my personal story into a global issue. It was fascinating. For someone who is still mastering the academic jargon, I heard academics speak my simple words in complex ways, through theories and analysis. My words were spoken, sensibility, rights/needs/future generations, current systems are limited, new systems/paradigms are needed, human security - not to cause harm, survival/emancipation - to flourishing, nourishing, justice and rights.

How can we be freedom writers? How can we make an impact? How can the still small gentle voices be heard and not be dismissed? How do we nurture, create space and respect for lasting change?