Chapter 7: Pay the Price

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"I have a question for those of you who say you care so much about human rights, equality and people like our friend Fátima who aren't free to make their own decisions. My question is: if you care about your classmates so much, what about Diego? He was forced to leave school a month before the end of the last semester and nobody asks why. Maybe we could include him in the protest too, find out why he had to leave and fight for his rights."

The entire monarchy suddenly gets to their feet, looking at each other nervously.

Sandra snaps back aggressively:

"We cannot tolerate women's inequality. Violence against women around the world is unacceptable."

Juan interrupts her:

"You haven't answered my question. What about Diego?"

"We want a world without barriers, borders or wars. Nobody should be exploited, least of all immigrants, we want..."

Juan stops her again:

"And what if Diego was exploited, too, without us knowing?"

Everybody at the podium is restless, they look each other, not knowing what to do. The expression on Natalia's face betrays their alarm. She's hiding behind the rest of the monarchy. I don't take my eyes off her for the whole of Juan's masterful speech and I swear to myself to never do anything in life that would make me hide behind somebody like she is right now. I would die of shame, witnessing the death of my own dignity, and that's exactly what I'm watching Natalia experience in front of my own eyes. How pathetic to hide from yourself your entire life. A lot of people pay the price, it's a universal truth. Hiding from yourself is one thing that does affects all ethnicities, cultures and ages equally... Nobody can escape it.

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