How easy is it with social media to feel we are doing our bit without actually doing anything. We simply hashtag the latest issue, feel righteous, then move on and not give a second thought to the actual plight of those involved. A classic example of this is #saveourgirls. Whatever became of this movement - too hard, too old?? I can remember at the time talking to others about these poor, unfortunate girls and saying that if they were not released, I hoped they had all been lined up and shot. It was greeted by stunned silence! However, I went on to explain that there is a fate worse than death, and these girls were likely to meet it. They will be raped, tortured, sold into slavery and a misery that few of us can imagine. To them death would be merciful, and welcome, but we have moved on to the next hashtag #icebucketchallenge, so our conscience is clear (apparently)!
In Africa, we have the ultimate enemy of Ebola, as it heeds no borders, no religion, no tribal ethnicity. We all thought this outbreak would be like others, where it hung around for a while, killed off a few, and retreated back to the rainforest. However, while the world (until recently) stood by and waited, this virus spread like the plague in the Middle Ages. Lack of hygiene, lack of will, corrupt governments, ignorance, and complacency from the West has let this crisis escalate till it is no longer just their problem (which we would happily ignore forever). Without Bill Gates the world would have waited forever, then screamed blue murder when it arrived on our doorstep. Oh sorry, that is different, as it is now 'us' and not just 'them'!
We have a very strong 'them and us' mentality today. All the way from religion, civil rights, health issues, and everything in between to whether or not daycare is good for kids. There is no 'them' and 'us' with sickness.It strikes indiscriminately! Yes, the battle may be different depending upon your circumstance, but it makes us face our mortality and realize that no one of us is any better or worse than another. It is how we play the game of life that will make a difference when our time has come. We will be able to say we lived a life well lived and done our very best for ourselves and others.
It is time those within religions stood up and be counted against their own who perpetrate evil. Stand up publicly and stand beside the country that has become their home, accept their customs and say enough is enough. We are firstly citizens and secondly a religion. It is time for us to become one community. The world is no longer a conglomeration of isolated tribes that occasionally happen to bump into each other. We live next door to each other, we travel through each others borders constantly. We need to respect each others beliefs, and way of life, while embracing the community as a whole. Through standing up for others - be it those less fortunate, the ill and infirm, religious and sectarian minorities, women, children - we can make the world a better place.
So drag yourself away from your cell phone. Be not afraid to actually take a stand a little more strongly than #selfiewithoutmakeup. Have a look at those Kurdish women who have taken up arms to fight evil. They are real women with real issues and real courage. Instead of 'Them' and 'Us' let us try to become 'One'. We will not succeed in one day, and we do not have to do the quantum leap on the first day! But, by actually standing up for what is right and the rights of others, we and the world will prosper.
Maybe,just maybe, out of this mess a real Spring will rise!