The Big Issue : Edition 436
In Tunis, our meetings concluded in the tea-house. I was then able to witness firsthand how students’ lives were impacted by this couple’s work. Not only did all of the students I meet have a strong grasp of English, their minds had also been opened to a world beyond their homeland. The courage they showed meeting with Westerners in such an open place was testimony to growing intolerance for the barbarous autocracy in which they lived. I have little doubt that the eventual ousting of President Zine El Abien Ben Ali in January 2011 was due, in part, to the work of people like my missionary contacts, who taught oppressed and often fearful young people that the world is far larger than one regime. 22 THebigissue5–18JuL2013 MY work doNE, I headed to the airport and took a flight to Frankfurt. In a few hours, I was on a plane to kraków, Poland, from where I headed by car to a former communist stronghold in the eastern Czech mountains. I was meeting an aid worker we had been sponsoring to establish a range of community programs within former communist cities. dozing lightly in the passenger seat, I noted an old Soviet tank decomposing on a passing street. It struck me forcibly that most of us don’t have much knowledge of the murderous practices of some foreign governments. we are fortunate not to live with oppression and only rarely consider the great advantages of our freedom. Then there are those people who selflessly choose to live under such regimes and, in so doing, can be catalysts for change in the lives of people they encounter. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a few, and I’ve returned remembering their stories and, more importantly, the stories of the communities and people that have found freedom through their work. As I jammed a satchel between my head and the car door, I considered how privileged I was to be part of that work. It was cold. I pulled my jacket around me and closed my eyes as we passed into the Czech Republic. Sleet settled on the windshield. My last impression before sleep came was the grating sound of the rusted wipers fighting against the blizzard. » Glenn Kruithoff is a former Finance and Administration Manager for The Big Issue. photographbyfreddufour/afp/gettyimages refugees grab for food in a displacement camp in tunisia, 2011 AUSTRALIAN ETHICAL SUPER IS THE ONLY FUND THAT DOESN’T INVEST IN COAL AND COAL SEAM GAS EXTRACTION Australian Ethical seeks out positive investments that support people, quality and sustainability. It avoids investments that cause unnecessary harm to people, animals, society or the environment. Go to australianethical.com.au to join or call 1800 021 227 for more information. super, pensions & investments Australian Ethical Investment Ltd (‘AEI’) ABN 47 003 188 930, AFSL 229949. Australian Ethical Superannuation Pty Ltd ABN 43 079 259 733 RSEL L0001441. A PDS is available from our website or by calling us and should be considered before making an investment decision. Australian Ethical® is a registered trademark of AEI.