Who doesn’t want to change the world?   Even in the smallest possible way.

We don’t get much chance.   We live such fenced-in lives.  Driven to satisfy our immediate needs – earn a living, get our children to school, sort out the washing.

Few of us have the courage of a Dr David Nott.  Or a Terry Waite.  Or Mandela.  Or King.

Few of us choose to travel into the Syrian war zone to help treat those communities who are simply collateral damage in someone else’s territorial fight.

I, John Holtom, mere ordinary human, don’t have that kind of courage.

Unlike my colleague, Aklima Bibi, I’ve never wielded a  knife in anger, or needed to defend myself against marauding Bangladeshi villagers with a scent for blood.

My background is that of an unfashionable Personal Injury lawyer, who started out as Criminal lawyer long back in the 1980s, the era when Mrs Thatcher began the 25 year attack on Legal Aid that continues today – two areas of legal work barely registering on the scale of 21st century social justice.

Aklima’s personal history has propelled her towards human rights.

Her story is that of an forced wife pursuing her abusers through the courts in Bangladesh and the UK.

She is a true Human Rights lawyer.

Aklima has a Masters in Human Rights law.  She is also a journalist doing a degree in journalism.  As a lawyer , she’s a specialist in Immigration Law.

Robespierre  is described as having “compassion for the vulnerable and a fierce censoriousness towards those less principled in their attitudes to power than …. confident of being themselves”[1].

Good words.

But I do not aspire to be Robespierre.

Yes, he was a man driven to change the world, but in so doing he was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands.

Human Rights and Social Justice are not about the accident of birth.  They are about choices we make with the life given us.

This blog is words.

But then, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words[2].

[1] Ruth Scurr Fatal Purity Robespierre and the French Revolution p23/4 Vintage paperback 2007.
[2] Plan B

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