In the musical, "The Phantom of the Opera", the Phantom tells Christine that he must hide from the garish light of day. You see he had his face disfigured. In the shadows he could be romantic and mysterious. But in the light his face was that of the monster. The Phantom learned to detest the light. The old folktales of vampires tell of creatures that could not be out in the light of day- the sun would vaporise them. So they did all of their misdeeds at night. They too detested the light.
I am not a vampire or a phantom. I enjoy the light very much. I wake up with the dawn. I love hearing the first bird songs of the morning (well ok the kookaburras on Hamilton Island with their pre-dawn symphony were a bit much but other than that I love the songs of the birds). I don't like the shadows of night all that much. I am not scared of the dark like I was when I was a child, but still it is not my preferred time to be out and about. Things are much more calm in the bright light of day.
In the next week, we will be celebrating the equinox. It is the great equaliser. For 24 hours, all citizens of the world will be enjoying for one day the same amount of light and darkness. For my friends in North America and Europe it means that there is one more sign that the long winter is over and that spring is on its way shortly. For those of us on this side of the equator it means that there will be fewer and fewer hot days and more cool nights to look forward to.
I like the idea of two days a year where everyone is equal in one thing (that is the amount of sunlight we get that day). Because unfortunately in so many things, despite people's attempts to change the status quo, equality does not exist. I grew up in the developed world. That automatically means I have advantages that people in places like Burkina Faso do not. I am able to read where many cannot. I went to university where others have not had the opportunity even for school. I am able to drink clean drinking water whereas others don't know if the water in their wells is safe. Being a white, anglo, middle aged male means that I face less discrimination then a woman who comes from a different culture and speaks another tongue.
We have come a long way in making things fairer in the world for everyone. Some horrible systems like apartheid in South Africa have been abolished. Women now are found in greater numbers in board rooms, as police officers, as military officers, in fact one might even be president of the United States come November. But to say everything is perfect, that there is no racism, or sexism, or ageism, or whateverism is just wrong. Privilege still exists. Those of us who have this privilege must work to abolish the structures which give us an advantage over our neighbours. Such change unfortunately takes a long time. In the meantime, I will think of others this next week as we all share the same amount of light and day. Blessings.
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