Legacy of War Foundation: Statement from Giles Duley

We at Random Acts are always proud and inspired by the work done by Giles Duley and the Legacy of War Foundation. Below is an excerpt on their statement:

As CEO of Legacy of War Foundation, I hope to learn from my colleagues and communities, so we can do more to challenge these structures. On a personal level, I need to understand more about how my unconscious bias impacts my work, storytelling, and approach to humanitarian projects.

Living with a disability is not easy. Most of the time I’m in pain, some days the most basic tasks are impossible, I have felt anger due to the discrimination I faced based solely on my disability. But I have always said that despite my injuries, I am still in a privileged position; both as somebody living in a county with the wealth to support my rehabilitation, and also as a white man. Accepting my privilege does not mean I’m saying my life has always been easy, it is saying I live in a system that has helped me overcome my challenges, rather than obstruct my opportunity.

  • My life is not valued less because of the colour of my skin.

  • My passport is not invalid because of the country I was born in.

  • I am not profiled and feared because of the religion I was born into.

My race, colour, or national origin has never denied me an opportunity, subjected me to violence, or curtailed my freedoms.  To recognise that is not to say one is racist, it’s to recognise that I live in a system that is and that I have benefited from that. The reality is that my accomplishments and opportunities, such as being CEO of this organisation, would have not been realised without the advantages I was born into. It is my duty, I believe, to use that position to redress that imbalance of power and opportunity. I have dedicated myself to that work, but I still have much to learn and I am grateful to those who help educate me.

I am a photographer and I am a lover of photography. If we have greater diversity behind the camera it does not impede my view; it actually enriches my vision. Life is the same. I have a platform in life that was given to me because of where I was born into and the colour of my skin. I did not earn that; it was simply the life I was born in to. Nobody is asking me to give up what I have, I am simply being asked to share that stage. My belief is, that when we step back to share our platform, all of our lives are enriched.

We feel this should be the case within the humanitarian sector; we must all readdress the balance so organisations are no longer dominated by Western, white, non-disabled, and often male voices. We must create spaces for more diverse and local voices to share the knowledge and experience they have. As a result humanitarianism can be re-shaped by those new players, ending the age of top-down saviours and creating a more dynamic, forward-thinking, and positive model.

Unlike many organisations, the team and patrons and Legacy of War Foundation reflect the communities we serve. We believe our strength is in our diversity and as we develop and move forward as an organisation, I will endeavour to make sure our future will be shaped by that team and by continuing to listen to the beneficiaries we work with.

 

Read the full statement on their website here.

Read more about Random Acts’ work in supporting the Legacy of War Foundation here.