· 
Jun 25, 2024
 · 
2 min read

The Price of Truth to Power

A journalist was released from jail and allowed to walk free today.

His crime was to share the truth about the powerful.

A father will see his children after more than 1,900 days of confinement in a 2x3 metre cell and he soon will hold his wife and surround himself with loved ones.

A creative, activist leader who believes in something and chose to stand up for it, paid one of the heaviest of prices.

Today he will go home after years of persecution, and the price of his ticket for speaking and sharing the truth of the crimes and human-rights abuses of the powerful, was years of incarceration and persecution and in some ways, becoming a pariah to many.

Some will celebrate his freedom, whilst others will not.

Some will treat him as a champion, others will see him as a pariah.

Despite that, something powerful happens when we speak truth to power and it is difficult to ignore, and even more difficult to control.

A movement forms and we begin to change.

We come together and put our hands up sometimes in a fist, other times in the hope that we too might be chosen to join the change that is encircling us.

That's the thing, movements are creative in the way they are formed and powerful in the way they bring people together.

With our hands up, we nominate ourselves to lift up the voices that spoke the truth with a faint glimmer of hope that we too, one day, might have the courage to do the same.

That we too might speak our own truth one day.

And we hold on to this hope that one day we might have the clarity of thought, the honesty in communication and the audacity — that thing that will help us speak up when we need to and more importantly when we should — to advocate for the rights of the marginalised and the oppressed, for ourselves and our communities, our workplaces and our peers, or our industries and our colleagues.

To speak up so we can in some small way, make the world better, fairer and more just.

We often speak of social change and impact, yet we fear the accountability that comes with the true change that is required to achieve such freedom, equity and fairness.

Who are we if we don't speak truth to the powerful?

Who are we if we are afraid to shift the status quo and rattle the cages of convention?

How could we call ourselves leaders if we aren't able to see how our creativity, insight and lived experiences come together to give us the voice we need to speak our truth?

Isn't that at the heart of who we are?

See you next week.

This essay was first published for subscribers of The Weekly Journal of Creative Leadership and is copyright © Dimitri Antonopoulos, Tank Pty Ltd and can not be re-published without the express permission of the Author.

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