“The subtle and deadly change of heart that might occur in you would be involved with the realization that a civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
It’s a little past 8 and the night is dark as we drive along on a crowded lane. These are roads I’ve traversed all my life and apart from a few new shops and buildings scattered on the street map, I know every alley, every shop, and every single person who calls this street home. Naturally, I was quick to notice a child and a man missing. I’d seen him grow frail over the course of a few years but the child was young and brimming with life and beauty.
Homelessness had made their lives seemingly less important than others and I realised with an aching heart, how neither of them would be given the luxury of having their faces plastered around the cities or broadcasted on news channels, simply because the world’s definitions of what it meant to live weren’t defined by them.
I bring it up in school next day hoping to provoke action but it breaks our spirits to hear an adult say, “They’ll turn up dead at some point”. It hurts the very fabric of our hopes to envision a time when the girl turns up lifeless after having been subjected to inexplicable torture that no one ever has to go through. We start hating ourselves when we see her little body being cremated, with no relations to mourn or pray for her, no stories to be exchanged that will help, keep her memory alive.
“After all, if you do not resist the apparently inevitable, you will never know how inevitable the inevitable was.”
― Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right
It’s lovely to hear someone say, “Our world is messed up but we still have hope”. It’s lovely because for a moment, it makes me proud to be a human being. Because it makes us feel like we can still make a difference.
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” ― Albert Einstein
(Insider @ What’s In My Mind, a wonderful friend and incredible writer, shared this quote and I found it very apt and so have included it here. Thank you so much!)
But how much will it matter, if the destruction has already been wrought and past deeds remain etched in our hearts, souls and minds; deeds that defiled innocence and extinguished lives? How can we ever express joy in the changes, differences bring, if our apathy played the biggest role in expediting events that redefined cruelty and sowed the seeds of horror?
Change does begin with one person, but only when they refuse to be a spectator and desist turning a blind eye to the atrocities, humanity inflicts on its own kind. The world is in dire need of players, of game changers, not spectators who watch as goodness burns to the ground.
“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The Tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”
― Fulton J. Sheen
-Introverted Thoughts aka D