Being humane offers hope to restore humanity

BY Nicole Yainne

I wonder how many people turn on the news so that the stories of horror and death form the background noise while they rush through their breakfast before work. Too many people are unaffected by details of mass killings or war – they have experienced and heard stories of destruction so often that it has become the norm; and gradually they have continued to lose faith in the world’s fading beauty.

Too many people see war as unavoidable, and have accepted and learnt to be unmoved by the millions of avoidable deaths. Have we stumped the good by stereotypically expecting the worst from countries, leaders, people and situations?

Imagine a person walking down a dark alley in the wee hours, carrying a gun hidden under his or her coat. She is alone and worried when she sees a man standing against the alley wall. Fear prompts memories and she remembers all the awful stories she has heard as a shiver runs down her spine.

The man looks up and she doesn’t smile, or walk by or away and instead pulls out her gun almost too easily and shoots. The man falls to the floor and a phone, breaking away from his grip, is tossed towards her. She can barely register the events taking place because her heart is beating fast but when she looks down at the phone’s screen, she sees the caller ID says ‘Mum.’

She runs. His mother will later hear how her son, who was walking home alone after a party, had decided to take a dark alley when he received a call about his whereabouts. He stayed on the phone because he feared that he could be in danger, and was killed. Shot dead due to the lack of humanity, reason, consideration and perspective, and because of the other person’s inability to doubt a stereotype long enough to discredit it.

I’m not saying she should have stopped and had a chirpy conversation, nor smiled and asked him how his day had been. I’m saying that we have turned this world into a dark place because of how it has been portrayed. By expecting a lack of good from people, we have instilled this idea that people are unpredictable and cannot be trusted. We have taught people to fear people.

Maybe her mother had told her that dark alleys are filled with rapists and muggers, and she knows that most alleys are unsafe. Firstly, she should have avoided a situation where her safety could be compromised.

But that fear was so deeply ingrained in her that she didn’t even wait for an insult from the man in the dark alley or for him to walk towards her. And she didn’t wait for him to pull a gun, hear him call out nor did she even try to walk past him. Instead she merely shot him!

The stereotype that dark-minded people line darker alleys has resulted in a mother losing her child and a young man who will never live the rest of his life. She was also walking down that dark alley. The was she a rapist? A murderer or thief? Or even a drug dealer?

The world needs to begin believing that it can be beautiful again, and people can live together in harmony and off each other’s happiness. It begins with a smile that silently extends acceptance or a polite hello to the person in the queue.

It begins with the extra money donated to war relief programmes because people are still as shocked and moved by death, war and refugees. Or perhaps by taking a leap of faith and employing the man who is under-skilled but has potential. Maybe that job was his last option before buying a gun to end his life, and possibly the lives of others who had provoked him and his small beginnings.

Expect kindness and you’ll begin receiving it. Emanate hope and your surroundings will start reflecting it. Take leaps of faith – you will realise that it becomes easier every time. Be moved again by stories of loss and maybe more orphaned children in war-stricken places will be adopted.

Make more friends and maybe you can potentially change the world by rightly influencing someone by loving them, perhaps someone who might’ve wanted to kill thousands because they had grown up alone with no guidance or role models to stop the horrifying thoughts.

See the world as you want it to be and begin to make it that way. Be humane – it is a quality everybody possesses. And eventually, humanity will be saved.