Scruples

Look at this fascinating word: scruples. Just like “Paul” comes from paulus, small, “scruple” derives from scrupŭlus, from scrupus paulus: small stone.

If you get a stone in your shoe, you’ll be uncomfortable, you won’t be able to walk in a dignified manner, sure of yourself. Today scruples are that part of your mind that makes you uncomfortable when confronted with moral choices you’re not sure of. In those times we don’t know if something is good or bad, right or wrong.

In that sense, this uncomfortableness is constructive. It is an alarm that makes us slow down, stop and try to pry that stone from our shoe. In that pause we wonder: am I doing OK? Or maybe I lack scruples, and in this situation I can just… go on?

We face many giants throughout our lives, and we can’t always be the David for each Goliath. But we might be their stone in the shoe, their scruple. Some body told me years ago, when I was a baby activist: “in the end, we only aspire to be the pesky flies of power: they will be able to do what they want, but not without us being a nuisance.”

It looks like so little, aspiring to be a nuisance. Seeding scruples is turning yourself into someone uncomfortable. However, if in the end my tombstone says

Wherever there was injustice, she was an uncomfortable presence

it will all be worth it.

PS: This week Yecenia, the torture victim whose freedom we claimed for during SOS 4.8, was finally freed.

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