HART Prize for Human Rights 2019| On Switch Off

27 March 2019

This year we received a record number of entries from a diverse range of countries, resulting in our toughest competition yet! We were truly impressed by the quality, creativity, and passion for Human Rights demonstrated by our participants, and toughly enjoyed all the submissions we received.

Beck Broom won the joint 2nd place in our HART Prize for Human Rights Intermediate Creative Competition 2019 with their entry titled:

On Switch Off – A short story surrounding the conflict in Syria, and how the desensitisation of the Western world affects our willingness to help.

The sky is red and black, smoke so thick and heavy and cloying that you can’t tell whether it’s night or day. Your skin feels like it’s on fire, like any second you could just melt away into nothingness and it wouldn’t have mattered, it wouldn’t have changed anything. You stand in the middle of a street – of what used to be a street – and nobody sees you. Nobody sees you, and you question whether you’re really there at all.

Rubble is scattered over the ground, crumbles underfoot and threatens to trip you as you walk lethargically forwards. Or is this backwards? Direction makes no difference when there’s no destination, and the destination here has been lost for years. People are blind to where they should be, where they need to be. These bricks used to be a home, they used to hold somebody’s life. Now all you see is a prison, and an unstoppable, unyielding wall.

There’s a child crying. You can’t see it but you know it’s there, and you wonder when guilt turned to indifference. Has the time worn away at your sympathy— eroded it so that all that’s left is resigned acceptance? Or is simply wanting to help an excuse for not helping? Some children will make it and some won’t but this will always stick with them, the blame that they’ll carry for the rest of their lives permeating society like gas in the air.

This isn’t your conflict. This isn’t your fight, this is never what you wanted. You wish you could turn back time, walk away, change history, but you’re just you. It would be impossible. Why fight an impossible fight?

Sorry, you think. Sorry, but I can’t help you. I can’t change anything.

Sit back down. Change the channel. Switch off.



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