Ignoring the obvious

A curious event

I shared a video clip about racism some time ago. The reactions were numerous and went from approval to the opposite, although most of those who bothered to comment were in favour of the share. What made me think — and think again, was one sanctimonious comment. The content was that those who speak about racism are the only racists.

In a way, that states one thing only. If we bury our heads in the sand nothing bad will happen. That is something I must write about, I think. In my opinion, the clip was touching and couldn’t offend anybody. There I was mistaken. Did this person want a mud-slinging contest? If so, I managed to stop it. I wrote an exceedingly polite answer, saying that people are entitled to their opinions, but that I found the piece relevant and touching. Then I wished this person a pleasant afternoon and evening. That answer received a couple of likes. It seems that there are more people, who find it important to speak about problems, than those who want to give trouble of any kind the silent treatment. I had more than my share of that in my childhood. Maybe that’s why I find it so inappropriate now.

How are we supposed to make changes for the better, if we always swallow our opinions? Without debate, solutions to problems and misunderstandings won’t materialize. Silence kills: sometimes it kills millions. Is that acceptable? I think not. Was this an attempt at trolling? Perhaps, but even trolls can express their thoughts on important questions. They have a right to say what they think about anything: from fashion to genocide. That is the basic principle for maintaining a democratic society. Even if democracy is complex and hard to manoeuvre, it is by far the preferable concept until we are ready for Utopia.

It isn’t easy for humans to live together. If family quarrels abound, how can we expect that countries among countries can find a common denominator? The sad part is: if we don’t, we must suffer the consequences, which could be anything from revolutions, military or plutocratic dictators, world — or local — wars, to murder and mayhem, suicide or any other forms of killing. Who wants to live in such a world? I don’t. I admit to being part of a privileged minority: I’m well-educated, I have a place to live, I can buy food and drink fresh water. Many people don’t have such advantages, but it won’t help them or change the world to ignore that there are inequalities that must be addressed. In every civilized nation, it goes without saying that every man, woman, and child has a right to a humane life. So far, most of this world’s people live in appalling circumstances. As far as I can see, this is the source of hatred and racism. We fear those who can take away our privileges. Those who we fear, we fight. Wouldn’t it be better to work towards a benevolent change?

I’m getting carried away. But it is important to open one’s eyes to these problems. There may not be an immediate solution to any of this, but real change must come from within. If we bury our heads in the sand and deny the problems that inevitably riddle an unjust society, we mustn’t wonder, if all hell breaks loose. Look around and accept that we humans have created a flawed community. Are there any solutions to these issues? The paradox may be that we aren’t able to live in peace. Should that stop us from doing what we can to create a better world? Personally, I think that this isn’t an option. We must do whatever it takes to improve — first ourselves — and then the world. This is a challenge that we must meet with open eyes.

© HMH, 2019

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