If anybody wants to witness a real life example of the exact degree to which compassion might be non-existent, then reading a few comment threads on Facebook covering the Syrian Refugee Crisis would be a good start on this International Day of Peace.
“Go back to your country,” “Throw them back into the sea” and “They are economic migrants coming here to steal our jobs” are just a few examples of callous comments on various online platforms. They provide us with an unsettling insight into the human mind—a system of beliefs that rapidly needs to change.
Scrolling through various news articles every day, I fear that we are becoming more and more immune. Numb to the number of people dying, numb to all the vicious attacks taking place in different countries, numb to children suffering. One lost life is news—a hundred deceased become stats. With our swanky lifestyles full of latest iPhones and Kylie Jenner lip kits, we forget that there is an enormous part of the world being used as a punching bag.
This other side of the globe is full of brilliant, educated people seeking a better life for themselves by jumping into boats and crossing seas. Sometimes it isn’t even necessarily humans—animals receive just as much of a backlash from different portals of the digital world. It makes us wonder—is compassion dead? Let’s hope not, because it is a powerfully beautiful sentiment. But not everyone feels the extent of pain until it hits too close to home.
Human beings function differently. Several choose to stay in their bubbles, others try to venture out and do something for those in need. The basic steps for exhibiting kindness and concern are extremely simple and essentially start with giving a damn about someone other than ourselves.
Some people have too much pride to ask for help but are clearly in need of financial and emotional support, while others request aid explicitly to keep their families afloat. In both cases, it is our responsibility as humanitarians to offer assistance and provide any kind of refuge within our control. Lost jobs and homelessness are extremely unfortunate events and in extreme cases when your entire country is in shambles, there’s little you can do to save yourself.
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We also need to be more tolerant as global citizens of planet Earth. This includes understanding other people’s religions, their cultures and most importantly, their situations. Our mindsets are unique and each condition is perceived differently by diverse sets of individuals. Therefore, it will always be a good idea to not force our opinions onto other people, especially those already suffering. The hateful comments on the internet also need to stop—haven’t people heard that if they can’t say anything nice, it’s better to not say anything at all?
An incredible effort would be needed to keep ourselves in their shoes. I come across a homeless man every day outside my local tube station with his battered guitar case open for people to toss their ‘useless’ pennies in. It makes me thank my blessings with all my heart and think about the hardships the poor man goes through on a daily basis.
For all the horror stories and the joke of a year that 2016 has been in terms of human suffering, there are still fragments of hope. It is our duty to come forward and lend a hand in putting their lives together with whatever resources are available. No contribution is too big or too small if it makes a difference in somebody’s life. It would also be sensible to cut down our personal rants of complaining and be grateful for the innumerable blessings bestowed upon us.
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If there is food in our tummies, a warm bed to sleep in and our families alive and healthy, then we are richer than sense. Peace and unity are the fundamentals of a strong community and all of us as inhabitants of one planet are the bearers of fulfilling that responsibility.
And, just for the record, that sense of duty is not restricted to only one day. Helping other people and loving them despite our differences is the responsibility of a lifetime, and a brilliant feeling.
Exploring and writing her way through life, Queenie Shaikh is a biryani addict, latte-art admirer, women’s rights advocate, fitness enthusiast, Harry Potter fanatic and a perpetual nomad, amongst many other things.