I WAS born in 1965 into a poor family in Northern Ireland. I grew up in County Derry during the “Troubles,” the violent conflict between Catholics and Protestants that lasted for more than 30 years. The Catholic minority felt discriminated against by the majority Protestant establishment, accusing them of gerrymandering, heavy-handed policing, and employment blacklisting, as well as unfair housing practices.
I saw injustice and inequality everywhere I looked. I lost count of the times I was beaten up, was pulled from a car and had a gun pointed at me, or was questioned and searched by police or soldiers. I felt victimized, and I thought, ‘I can either accept this, or I can fight back!’
I shared in the 1972 Bloody Sunday marches, in memory of the 14 people who were shot dead by British soldiers, and the hunger strike marches, which honored the republican prisoners who starved themselves to death in 1981. I put up banned flags and scrawled anti-British graffiti everywhere I could. It seemed there was always another atrocity or murder of a Catholic to protest. What began as a parade or march often escalated into a full-scale riot.
While at the university, I joined student protests for the environment. I later moved to London, and there I took part in socialist marches against government policies that seemed to benefit the upper classes at the expense of the poor. I participated in trade union strikes against pay cuts, and I shared in the poll tax march in 1990, which resulted in Trafalgar Square being heavily damaged by the protesters.
Eventually, though, I became disillusioned. Rather than achieving our goals, protests often stoked the fires of hate.
Despite noble intentions, humans cannot bring about justice and equality
It was about this time that a friend introduced me to Jehovah’s Witnesses. They taught me from the Bible that God cares about our suffering and that he will undo all the harm ever caused by humans. (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:3, 4) Despite noble intentions, humans cannot bring about justice and equality. Not only do we need God’s direction but we also need his power to overcome the unseen forces behind the world’s problems.
Now I feel that my protest against injustice was like trying to straighten deck chairs on a sinking ship. It has been such a relief to learn that a time will come when there will be no injustice on this planet, when all humans are truly equal.
The Bible teaches that Jehovah God is “a lover of justice.” (Psalm 37:28) This is one reason why we can be sure that he will bring about justice in a way that man’s governments simply cannot. (Daniel 2:44) If you would like to learn more, contact Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area or visit our Web site, www.jw.org.