This Business of…Waiting for the World To Change…

I admit it…I have a tendency to be impatient. Although, I love the melody of John Mayers song, “Waiting for the World to Change,” there is always something inside me that bucks against thecamel_jockey_ansarburney1.png message.

Deep down inside, I distrust the notion that the world will simply change while we wait or because we hope it will. My gut informs me that change occurs because we make it happen!

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a 60 Minutes piece about the Gulf State, Dubai. Steve Kroft interviewed the nation’s leader and traveled with him to a number of different areas of the country. During the broadcast, Kroft and the Sheik are watching a camel race. What intrigued me was that the jockeys were not human beings…they were robots!

Well, as Paul Harvey would famously say…”And now for the rest of the story.” Apparently, the use of robotic jockeys for camels is a fairly new development in the sport of camel racing. In fact, these robotic jockeys are so highly developed that they are controlled by their handlers from jeeps racing around the track shouting instructions into special hand held devices. They also wear a special perfume which makes the camels think they’re being cajoled by a real human being and not a machine. Amazing.

It’s even more extraordinary when you consider that a mere 2-3 years ago, the jockeys were little human beings… children. Many of whom had been sold or abandoned to child slavery. They were often mistreated and starved to ensure their cooperation and to keep their weight to a bare maximum of 45 pounds. Many did not survive and died, only to be buried in unmarked graves quickly washed over by the dessert sands.

So, what caused the shift from child slaves to robots? People! Sustained pressure and exposure by human rights organizations continued to point the spotlight on this barbaric practice. It was no longer comfortable or acceptable to use stolen children. A shelter was established in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to rescue these children and by 2005, it is estimated that over 800 children have been returned to their families.

But, there is another fascinating storyline which travels like an undercurrent to this tale. It’s a story about an Arabian princess, the daughter of the King of Jordon who married the Sheik in 2004. Princess Haya is a modern Arab woman who excelled in sports herself and competed for Jordon in Olympic equestrian events. One of Princess Haya’s passions is children. She is a Member of the Board of Directors of “The Right to Play” Foundation which encourages healthy, physical, social and emotional development amongst the world’s most disadvantaged children.

Today the Right to Play Organization harnesses the power of professional and Olympic athletes as well as volunteers who freely donate their time to harness the power of sports to educate children, teach Peaceful Conflict Resolution, provide health education and increase the awareness of the use of sports in humanitarian endeavors. The Right to Play works in partnership with organizations such as CARE International, International Labor Organization and the Red Cross. Their programs are currently being implemented in 20 countries in the Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

We hear a lot about “Change” these days. Today, the primary in Wisconsin is being heatedly contested on the basis of defining what Change will actually look like. Truth is…I don’t think anyone really knows. Every individual who is part of the process will be involved in doing their own unique part to create change. But, one thing is certain, change will not occur simply because we wish it to.

For in a sense, each one of us is a leader in our own world. Although we may not be influencing the ruler of a world government, we should never underestimate the power of our personal influence to effect change. Each one of us can choose to make a difference. And that… is never a small thing.


Related Stories:

BBC News: Child Camel Jockeys Find Hope

Ansar Burney Trust: Child Camel Jockeys

UAE Response: Child Camel Jockey Lawsuit & Goverment Actions

Picture of child jockey was obtained from Wikipedia and provided courtesy of Creative Commons License from Ansar Burney Organization.

*Note: a suit has been filed in Miami, Florida against the Sheik and his brother regarding allegations of the misuse of children.

6 Responses to “This Business of…Waiting for the World To Change…”

  1. Jason Sardi February 20, 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    ……parade children as jockeys for our own ‘sporting’ pleasure. Well articulated as usual Lola, thanks!

  2. Lola February 20, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    Jason, thanks for stopping by to read and comment. This is simply a more obvious way in which the souls and bodies of women and children are used. (misused) I’m glad that things seem to be changing…

  3. HeadMutha February 20, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    What a great post. I agree with you 100%, We can’t just hope and wait for the world to change. I figure a little everyday can make a big difference in the future. Like Roxy has said in earlier posts, a drop in the bucket…
    I am going to read more about this and educate myself. Thanks again for another powerful post.

  4. Ruth Outerbridge February 21, 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    Thank God for you and Rocky and all the other incredible mutha’s on this site for educating and inspiring all of us who read your posts.

    I had no idea that using children in this manner had been common place; it make me sick to think of it and am grateful that Princess Haya took a stand to make a change and saved children’s lives.

    With each individual who commits to change, there is hope for the future.

  5. Lola February 22, 2008 at 5:08 am #

    Hi Rocky,

    Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. I am becoming increasingly convinced that there are no “insignificant” acts. Every time we speak out for what is right…it’s no small thing. That is why contributing in a forum like this is so meaningful.

  6. Lola February 22, 2008 at 5:15 am #

    Hi Ruth,

    Thank you for your comment. I’m thankful that this is under world wide scrutiny . When light bears down in dark areas, the nature of transformation reveals truth and forces a day of reckoning. My hope is that not only will this unacceptable practise be stopped completely, but that all forms of injustice against those least able to defend themselves will meet the same fate.

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