I must not fear.
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear. from Dune, by Frank Herbert
I watched a fantastic interview with Malala Yousafzai tonight, the remarkable young Pakistani woman, education activist, and nobel prize nominee.
I’m also putting the finishing touches on my speech for the March Against Monsanto rally tomorrow, a global call to action that has people taking to the streets all over the world.
Malala was shot in the head by The Taliban one afternoon, on her school bus, on the way home from school.
Because at 15, she was already brave enough to speak publicly about her opinions. She was known in her town for speaking out in favor of education for women and girls, saying that women should have equal rights and opportunities when it comes to school and education. A highly radical, and unfavorable viewpoint in her village, and in many other parts of the world as well.
And she knew, even while she was speaking her mind, that there was a very real possibility that someone would want to do her serious bodily harm, or want to kill her.
And she spoke out anyway.
And that is really, really brave.
And I’m sitting here writing this speech, accusing Monsanto of all kinds of crimes, and encouraging people to rise up, join together, stand up, rebel.
And I’m a little nervous about speaking in front of a crowd of people. And I’m a little nervous about encouraging people to start a revolution.
But I don’t think it’s going to get me killed. And I don’t think anyone is going to want to do me bodily harm, or want to kill me because of what I say tomorrow.
And so I’m just sitting here with this question.
Would I still be willing to speak out tomorrow, in public, about my convictions, if I knew there was a very real chance it would get me killed?
And that, oh God, that question makes me feel all queasy and weak-kneed, because I’m afraid of what my answer might be.
As Wil said tonight, “Fear is a choice. Fear collapses you. You get so scared of something that you imagine might happen, that the future you’re making up, worrying about, this imagined danger, becomes the architect of today. ”
And in the end, that’s a huge part of what this project is about. Facing the fear of speaking out, facing the fear of change and letting go, and ultimately facing the fear of death.
Because if you face your fear of death, you’re free.
Free to speak out.
Free to stand up.
Free to create a new world.
And I’m just sitting here, praying I’d be brave enough to speak out even if I knew there was a good chance I might be killed tomorrow.
But all I know for sure is that I stand in solidarity with Malala, and all the other brave ones.
I love you. Thank you. Please forgive me. I’m sorry.
I must not fear.
Thank you for listening,
Thanks to Wil for his insight on this one, and so many others.
We are incredibly lucky to have another soul touching piece from friend to the earth and activist, Jerry. Thank you Jerry!!
In the summer of 2011 I read an article about farmers in the Texas panhandle who face the end of farming in their area due to the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer.
One retired farmer recalled his teen age years when he got up early to help on the farm before going off to his day at school:
“I plowed into the rising sun and I knew there was a God.”
I wrote a song from this farmer’s point of view.
Nothing But Dry
Here in Texas Water’s precious. But nothing’s flowing anymore. Thirsty cattle; They can’t drink dust. Nothing but dry to the core. Oh no! Nothing! Nothing but dry!
My dear mama; My dear papa; I hear you crying in the wind: “Say ‘goodbye’ to the Ogallala. Cause it won’t come back again. Oh no! Nothing! Nothing but dry!”
Once I plowed into the rising sun And I knew that there was a God. But now it’s all come to nothing. Nothing; All those mornings busting sod. Please tell me? Is there still a God? You can dig wells In Nebraska And smell the sweet grasses grow. Until you lose the Ogallala, Then it’s all dry down below. Oh no! Nothing! Nothing but dry!
Jerry Lee Miller of Lancaster,PA is a climate activist, ordained minister, songwriter, and performer with the band Streetbeets, an Earth loving community building band. He and his wife, Susan, have two grown children and one old black cat.