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horrific tragedies and looks forward to an unknown future. As today’s society contemplates human rights – past and present – abuses, kidnappings, torture, and genocide exist in real time for the victims and in the forefront of our consciousness for the rest of us.

“Awakened” calls out the failure of the species homo sapiens to honor its most basic obligations as human beings individually and collectively to live peacefully and respectfully under the same sun. The contents also speak to despotic and tyrannical personalities that vociferate dogmatic ideologies alongside humanistic leaders who empower and cajole us to be our better selves.

‘Human Rights’ in its vague description describes rights we wish for ourselves and families. In this context, Dr. Winston contributes a nuanced sense of good and evil, power and subjugation, intention and action to help us consider and appreciate our basic human rights. Abundant violations force us to consider and reconsider our duty as a community, as a nation, and as global citizens.

Can a country ‘re-educate’ people to be slaves and, in doing so, declare its humanitarianism through rape, torture, and genocide? The world has a dark side that we, as free people, often forget. The spores are grown within societies as some people learn to hate while others find great difficulty in accepting those who stand starkly different in society.

We are not condemned to live out tragedy. We can become Awakened to our own personal humanity and all that it means to us and those we love. We may one day look back on our existences as lives honorably lived.  Awakened, makes clear that this is the time to take a stand. Perhaps there is little time left. The abuse of humans and denial of the rights of beings must be powerfully addressed in the now of our days while we are still free. The awareness, consciousness, and action steps are up to us. This active engagement must also include the impending catastrophe of our Earth’s atmosphere, summed up as “global warming.” 

Freedom allows each of us to stand in awe of every new day. Freedom allows us to live based upon our chosen needs and preferences. Freedom is a precious right, which stands in contrast to the totalitarian control of a single dictator – Communist or Fascist, backed by an amoral, powerful, and self-selected few who impose their will on all. The gauntlet laid within their territorial boundaries is merely a first step before coming for everyone everywhere. History provides no exceptions to these outcomes. We are in danger. Dr. Winston’s voice is the voice of us all if we were to speak it aloud.

Today, the media silences the masses, while our culture cancels history and tradition. Our going-along-with-the-crowd social media frenzy has created a mentality where ‘influencers’, irrespective of their wisdom, drive culture. History tells the  predictable story of the downfall of civilizations, including those who perpetrate the violence. Historical analogies are recorded in lives lived both long ago and in the not-so-long ago.

“Awakened,” long overdue, is an introduction to the horrific practices that lead, inevitably, to cultural erosion and societal disintegration. Wherever history is recorded, there is a prophet, someone not unlike Zephaniah of old, who warned of the dangers of a culture unhinged from its moral moorings. “Awakened” reminds us and informs us, often shockingly, that the rampage and violence contained within our heritage is also within our capacity to end.

Dr. David A. Waugh, United Nations, Retired

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