Why are we so helpless in the face of evil?

There is a pain deep in the pits of our stomachs this week. With the winter rains and dark clouds marking the time of year when nature resets itself for the renewal of the growing cycle, the light that gives us hope and energy is in scarce supply. It is a time when sadness is accentuated, when you grapple to find the good in things.

And then, for the world to be in the situation it is...the empathy we feel for those who right now are awaiting attack; who feel there is little they can do to repel their attackers; whose lot in life has given them little choice but to be pawns in a political game.

Almost two years into the invasion of Ukraine, we all know people who have fled that war; whose homes and normalcy were shattered, perhaps irreparably. Our wells of sympathy had run dry and now, we are faced again with sharing the fears of those who face death in the Middle East.

We now have a front-row seat to war on top of remaining on edge from the pandemic, economic uncertainty, climate change, a global refugee crisis, polarised politics and other psychological tumult. We are overwhelmed by it all; as we lurch from one crisis to another; from one axis of evil to another.

There are no depths unplumbed in the league table of evil that is being carried out and then brought to us instantaneously through technology. Even in our own country, we are constantly assailed by stories of depravity and avarice. From a world where lockdown seemed to bring out the best in a lot of us, where greed and political ambition seemed to be shelved in the interests of humanity, we have regressed, not yet to World War, but to several situations where such a likelihood makes it possible.

It is easy to adapt a ‘there but for the grace of God go we’ attitude, when pure evil is allowed to flourish under the many guises it holds. The brand of evil is one that wears many clothes and is reinvented to justify whatever stance the perpetrator of evil wishes to uphold.

Why is it when so many of us believe what is happening is wrong, that so little can we do about it? How powerless are we in the face of evil when stances and positions are taken in our name? The scenes on our TV screens for the past few weeks have been horrific, as they have been for the past 20 months as we watch people’s lives ended and altered for a political advancement that rarely comes after such actions.

War is such a lucrative business, much more so than compassion. Compassion and empathy and raising our heads above the parapet can show that even in the face of such turmoil, that we here in the non-conflict zones of the world can stand up for right and wrong, and call out evil and immorality in the hope that the aggression will end.


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