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Hope is a precious commodity. Hope can keep one going in the face of harsh and painful conditions. Hope can sustain one through the roughest of circumstances. Hope can win an election. Yes it can!
Eventually hope can turn to despair if its promise is not eventually fulfilled with concrete improvements because hope, despite its magic, cannot fill a hungry belly or wipe out a lethal virus. We cannot overcome by hope alone.
The election of Barack Obama as the next President of the U.S.A. has brought hope to people the world over. Across the globe people hit the streets in celebration. Mr. Obama’s victory is felt as a victory for downtrodden people everywhere. But will this hope be fulfilled?
In his initial speech upon winning Mr. Obama began to temper people’s hope with clear words about the long and difficult road ahead. He understands that unrealistic expectations can only lead to let down and cynicism and thereby even the modest opportunities which are possible will become unrealized if people become demoralized and deactivated.
What can drug users hope for from Obama’s Presidency? Can we expect more compassionate open ears will listen to us when we speak out? Surely that is the least we can hope for. So let’s organize ourselves and make sure drug users’ voices are a strong part of the dialogue about what needs to get done.
Speaking of organizing ourselves, I recently had the privilege of attending IDUD 2008 – International Drug Users Day – in Copenhagen, Denmark. Hosted by the Danish Drug Users Union, nearly 100 user activists from around the globe – literally – came together for discussions and celebrations of user culture and our collective struggle for human rights and safe conditions.
The most important lesson arising from this incredible gathering of drug users is that we can raise our voices in every community in this world. To do this takes bravery and commitment, and lots of hard work, but it is a task that only we can do. No one can truly speak for users but us ourselves. Have a look at some of your peers already speaking out for user rights: IDUD 2008 Photos
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