Christmas letters to Themis

January 5th, 2013  |  Published in Social justice (general)

Day 1…25 Dec 2012…Letters to Themis

Dear Themis,

I’m planning to write twelve letters, one for each day of Christmas (and I’m practising for Twitter so each one will be short – less than 140 words, if not less than 140 characters). In this first one, I’m not asking for much, just that it’s a good day for as many people as possible, and that you will accept my letters for the next eleven days. I know Christmas is not your business, as a goddess of justice, but the seasonal chaps are busy and may get impatient with twelve letters from the same person. Also, I know you’re a myth, and a wish-list to a myth may seem silly, but I also know the idea of you can help when hope wears thin.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 129(words), 681(characters)…Keep working on it.

Day 2…World peace

Dear Themis,

Fantasy territory, I know, but please see what can be done.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 15(words), 101(characters)…Good omen?

Day 3…Meeting basic needs

Dear Themis,

I know you would agree it’s not okay for a few popstars, executives, and ball-players to have annual incomes that could feed and house most of the population of a country like Sri Lanka, for example, or certainly the homeless of Australia. My own family’s lifestyle, although not in the same class, is privileged compared with a tea-picker’s. Your guiding hand is needed to spread resources so that everyone can at least meet basic needs.

(The malnourished dogs in Sri Lanka are also a lingering and disturbing memory, so I guess I’m really talking about basic needs for all living creatures – and an end to factory farming).

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 112(words), 668(characters)…Backsliding.

Day 4…Right to belong

Dear Themis,

People can be alive in a basic kind of way but still have nowhere they belong, or nowhere they belong that is safe for them to be. They may be seeking asylum, or displaced or stateless because of wars, tsunamis or other cataclysmic events. They are ‘People Like Us’, as Waleed Aly invites us to recognise in his 2007 book, and have the same entitlement to a sense of belonging. We need creative vision to develop inclusive policies. Please see what you can do. At the moment, we seem to have lost the plot, especially here in Australia.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 102(words), 576(characters)…Some improvement.

 

Day 5…Survival of the planet

Dear Themis,

As custodians of our planet, we are not doing enough to slow, stop, or reverse the escalating destruction. The gap between what we know, and what we are prepared to do about it is a chasm that needs bridging. Please direct attention to our custodial responsibilities, and mobilise energy to heed the call. If we fail to respond, we should not be surprised when fire, wind, and water unleash their formidable powers.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 76(words), 459(characters)…Getting better.

Day 6…Eliminating Othering

Dear Themis,

When I was planning these letters, I thought there would be several about race, gender, sexuality, class, and other divisions of power. But, seriously, our similarities are far more substantial than our differences so if we stopped accentuating difference, we could also eliminate Othering, and if we eliminated Othering we would also eliminate the basis of discrimination. Those who benefit from existing arrangements would no doubt take some convincing, and that’s where you come in: As a goddess of justice, you must know ways of convincing people that balancing the scales ultimately benefits everyone. Please speak out.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 101(words), 670(characters)…Not so bad given multiple issues

Day 7…Workplace worker-safe

Dear Themis,

After pleas for world peace and saving the planet, it may seem prosaic to make an issue of workplace relations and worker abuse. However, the workplace is a microcosm of broader power relations, as well as a socially acceptable context for pursuing power. Once people have power, substantial numbers are bound to abuse it. I think we could learn a lot from reflecting on existing power relations in workplaces, and even more from attempting to change them. I could use help in promoting awareness.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 88(words), 539(characters)…Okay if Twitter counted words.

Day 8…Everyplace child-safe

Dear Themis,

Happy New Year, and please may it be a year in which children are cared for wherever they are. No child should be abused, exploited, bartered, or trafficked, but they are, and all too often. I know you abhor all forms of child abuse, and your ideas for keeping children safe would be extremely welcome.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 59(words), 344(characters)…This is too hard!

Day 9…Mental health in context

Dear Themis,

We (mostly, anyway) no longer see people with mental health problems as possessed by evil spirits, and that’s progress. I think it’s time, though, to review the creeping pathologisation of human behaviour. Hoarding disorder, for example, is currently set to become a diagnosis – alongside internet addiction, and gambling addiction; how much more socially constructed can ‘illnesses’ become and still be seen as individual pathologies? Immigration detention syndrome is a label applied to asylum seekers, and yet more accurately describes a sociopolitical malaise. Your help in shifting attention from disordered individuals to toxic contexts would be appreciated.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 101(words), 706(characters)…Not good.

Day 10…We need to talk

Dear Themis,

Painful as it may be, we need to talk about suicide. Ignoring the reality will not make it go away, or ease the pain of those left with unanswered (and unanswerable) questions. Please help guide conversations that will increase understanding.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: Not appropriate; we need to talk more about suicide, not less.

Day 11…Specific projects

Dear Themis,

Here are some current local projects to keep an eye on:

Recognition of Aboriginal Australians in the constitution;

National anti-discrimination laws;

Marriage equality;

National disability insurance scheme;

Royal commission on child sex abuse;

Human rights for asylum seekers (huge job in itself);

Many more, within and beyond the local, so stay tuned.

Best wishes…2020social justice.

Twitter assessment: 58(words), 388(characters)…I need extended Twitter.

Day 12…5 Jan 2013…Review and rest

Dear Themis,

Thank you for your patience. Today is for reviewing the previous eleven, allowing ideas to settle, doing some planning, and getting some rest before the real work of the year begins. I have no doubt there will be more to say about each of the preceding matters over the course of the year, In summary, they have included: world peace; meeting universal needs for food, shelter, and belonging; survival of the planet; erasing all forms of discrimination, worker abuse, and child abuse; contextualising mental health; and opening up discussion of suicide.

I’m sure there will be some good news over the course of the year.

Best wishes…2020socialjustice.

Twitter assessment: 109(words), 663(characters)…Maybe just forget Twitter.

 

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