‘Now is the time to act’

Transparency International says corruption, in increasingly complex forms, is eroding fair and democratic governance across the world. It’s true!

Transparency international also correctly observes that “violence against activists, journalists, and citizens who speak out against injustice and corruption is on the rise, all too often with impunity” and that now is the time to turn promises to combat corruption and promote transparency into action.

This is a great theme on corruption. It’s really wonderful, but nothing will happen until we all risk putting it into action.

There’s urgent need to move at an accelerated pace from pledges to concrete action. Truly, the time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something. Winston Churchill said, “I never worry about action, but only inaction.” And as Lenin put it, untimely inaction would eventually be worse than untimely action.

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction,” said John F. Kennedy.

And Mahatma Gandhi summed it up very well: “Action expresses priorities.” Thinking, talking, passing resolutions or declarations against corruption is easy, acting against corruption is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts against corruption into action is the most difficult thing in this fight, struggle.

A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement. Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.

What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action. No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… revolution is but thought carried into action. They say believing is doing and faith without deeds is worthless. And as Karl Marx wrote in his eleventh thesis of philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach, “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”

Action against corruption is the only truth of the resolutions, themes or declarations Transparency International has been making. Marx’s real target in this thesis was the perceived need – then and now – to deliver some kind of objective philosophical justification or legitimation for engagement with acts of social struggle against abuse, oppression, exploitation and so on and so forth. This was, of course, not a rejection of rational dialogue, discourse, or discussion, nor is it a call for blind activism. Rather, it was a statement of a desire to situate thinking about social problems within the historical context rather than outside it.

We have not heard anyone say they like corruption and it must be tolerated, encouraged. Everyone is saying that they hate corruption. If truly everyone hated corruption in action as they hated it in speech, would it survive and spread the way it is surviving and spreading?

Bradley Whitford said, “Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen…yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”

It is said that while virtue must be nourished, vice springs up spontaneously like weeds and grows by itself. For if good ideas foster other good ideas, bad things can foster, on the other hand, other bad things.

Likewise, if we allow impunity for corruption, we are paving way for more corruption. If we allow those who plunder, those who steal public resources, abusing their public offices to get away with it, we are paving way for more and more plunder, more and more corruption, endless abuses of public offices and resources. We have learnt what happens when militancy takes over, action against corruption is lost. We should therefore not allow corruption, stealing or abuse of public resources to go unchallenged. If we don’t take action now, we will have to pay a much higher price tomorrow for our inaction. If we don’t take action now, what will it ultimately cost us? It is said that when a procrastinator has finally made up his or her mind, the opportunity has usually passed by. Edwin Markum said, “When duty comes knocking at your gate, welcome him in; for if you bid him wait, he will depart only to come once more and bring seven other duties to your door.”

What you put off until tomorrow, you will probably put off tomorrow too. All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them, but confront them. Touch a thistle timidly, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble. Let’s fight this growing corruption now – the longer we wait, the bigger it grows. Procrastinators never have small problems because they always wait until their problems grow.

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