There are days where we sit comfortably in the confines of our homes, live nonchalantly within our routines, exist and feel accepted within our social circles. Those days are simple, uncomplicated, where we cannot envision a future that is otherwise. And then there are days marred by suffering so vast, so horrific, that it breaks through our cocooned worlds. It may not affect us directly, we may never experience its brutality completely, but it manages to break through. Into our conversations, into our homes.
We’ve read about ethnic cleansing, genocides, and civil wars. But it isn’t the same to follow the events as they unfold so closely, yet from a distance. And in that instant, our stomachs sink, our hearts race, and suddenly, our problems feel minuscule. Minuscule… for a minute. Before our lives resume again, and just like that, we forget everything we felt an instant ago. Are we horrible people? How do we react? Do we say something? What do we say? How do we help? We’ll post a solidarity, we’ll say a few words near the office cooler like a moral obligation, we’ll even donate, and we’ll feel everything a human is supposed to feel.
But is it enough? Is it ever enough?
Some say we should never stop, to keep the conversation going, to continue posting. Because it’s the righteous thing to do. Because it feels good to show you are good. Because a simple 10-word post is supposedly brave, just, and liberal. But we know the reality — we, like everyone else, will post a picture of our coffees/outfits the very next day. We will continue to live our comfortable, sheltered lives.
But is there a solution?
Donate as much as we can. Support peaceful protests as much as we can. Volunteer to help. And if we can do none, listen. Listen to the people directly affected by the conflict. Amplify their stories and voices. Acknowledge everything happening right now and make those around us, particularly those from the affected community, feel heard and safe. Don’t add to the chatter, especially if we’re not well-informed. All it does is create further hostility and noise. Worse, it prevents factual news stories by actual, brave journalists and civilians from reaching the rest of the world.
Today is a good time to remind ourselves that while they are affected now, it was us and other communities at some point in our histories. Today is also a good time to remind ourselves to reconnect with our little worlds, appreciate everything that nourishes us, and hold our dear ones closer than yesterday.