Eduardo González Viaña: The woman who disobeyed

– Get out of there and give the place to the young white man! – No. I’m not going to. – Okay! If you don’t get up I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested. – Do it! On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks took a bus back to her home in Montgomery, Alabama. According to the law, a sign showed him her place: the whites in front and the blacks in the back.

Rosa, who was 42 years old, was in one of the seats that could be used by people of her race only until a white person appeared to whom they had to give it up. The vehicle stopped and two policemen got in. Why don’t you get up? She replied: – Why are you always pushing us?

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The policeman replied: – I don’t know, but the law is the law and now you are under arrest. Rosa was taken to jail for having disturbed the order. Everyone had to observe state laws. If they didn’t, that was considered an act of terrorism punishable by jail, but Rosa decided to disobey. At that moment, the great protest began. Martin Luther King, a Baptist minister, urged blacks not to ride Montgomery buses.

The protest lasted thirteen months, and during all that time African-Americans – like any progressive citizen – walked from their homes to their workplaces. In the end, they succeeded, and both the Alabama law and all segregationist laws in the United States were repealed. “It is not the wickedness of the wicked that is worrisome, but the indifference of the good,” Pastor King once said, and this applies to the case under review.

Many people assume that obeying the laws is enough to make them proper citizens. But what happens if the laws are infamous? The American saint sacrificed his life for those principles. Now, the civilized world is aware that disobedience is a duty when the laws are barbaric. However, in some countries, like ours, certain irresponsible people even call those who proclaim this attitude “terrucos”.

Both democratic principles and the voices of the most consistent pastors of all religions and the Pope himself proclaim, instead, like MLK, that if man has not discovered anything to die for, he is not worth living.

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