2018 was a scary place and I don’t know if 2019 will be any better.
The world is on fire and we as a human race seem quite happy to sit by the wayside and enjoy the flames, to choke on our own inhumanity, to be boiled alive by our own obstinance and ignorance.
2018 made it seem like no-one and no place is safe. I find myself, and those around me, anxiously scouring the horizons for some light, some sign of change, some kind of shift in our trajectory.
But my heart is growing heavy, my brain is overwhelmed and my soul is weary. I don’t know how to make a difference and even if I did know how, I don’t know if it would – make a difference.
“The lack of empathy and compassion for our fellow beings is soul destroying.”
From The Leader of The Free World mocking a victim of sexual assault, to the man accused of the sexual assault winning his seat in the Supreme Court of The United States of America, to immigrant children separated from their parents and held in internment camps, to a video of two women along with their children, one of which is just an infant strapped to her back, being marched to their death, to countless rhinos being brutally murdered over the equivalent of finger nail, to Jacob Zuma and his sly laughter at the expense of every South African citizen, to governments and politicians that loot their country’s riches and over those who trusted them, the dictators that are fearlessly thriving and the even scarier ones that lurk in the shadows of shaky democracies, to climatologists warning that we have until 2040 (which is like two minutes away) to sort our s!@# out, to a seven-year-old girl being raped in a bathroom of a restaurant, to canned lion hunting, to the body of woman found in a park down the road from my home, to the plastic in the ocean, to the rampant racism that like a hydra arises from decapitation with even more heads spewing hatred and anger, to crucial natural forests being decimated in the name of money, to the Sudanese teenager sentenced to death after killing her rapist because he also happened to be her husband, to the mass extinction of countless species of animals and plants that is happening right under our noses, to #metoo and #himtoo and #webelieveher, to the to the Anita Hills, the Kwezis, the Matthew Shepards, the Philando Castiles, the Allison Bothas, the Baby Daniels to the Harvey Weinsteins, the Bill Cosbys, the Mduduzi Mananas, the Brock Turners, the Oscar Pistoriuses, the Shrien Dewanis, the Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Larry Nassars, the Qedani Mahlangus. Really, I could go on like this forever, the list of human-on-human, human-on-nature, adult-on-child, man-on-woman, rich-on-poor, powerful-on-vulnerable atrocities and are endless.
The lack of empathy and compassion for our fellow beings is soul destroying. We have become so wrapped up in our own hurt, legitimate or illegitimate, that we cannot see anyone or anything else.
The human race is waiting for a saviour, a single entity with all the answers who will wave a hand and all our problems will disappear and everything will be made right in the world. Depending on your beliefs that person may be a God, a scientist, a politician, an activist, a philanthropist or a visionary.
But why would that person even bother? What qualities of our species redeems us? Why should we be saved, when the human race’s most infamous for our ability to hurt and oppress, our arrogant belief that we are the superior beings and our relentless march towards self-destruction all in the name of progress?
Diana Prince once said, “I used to want to save the world. This beautiful place. But I knew so little then. It is a land of beauty and wonder, worth cherishing in every way. But the closer you get, the more you see the great darkness simmering within. I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both.”
And even if we are adamant in our belief that someone is coming to save us, can we afford to wait? If we wait, if we do not start working to save ourselves and start right now. If we don’t start changing our ways today will there be anything left to save when that person finally arrives? Time is up, there is no more trying, no more planning, the time for that is over, there is only time left for doing, for being. We have to save ourselves, we cannot wait. The only people that are here right now, are us, there is no one else. There is no more time to waste.
We have but one saving grace, one quality that makes us worthy of survival, worthy of deliverance. That redemptive aspect of the human condition is in almost equal measure to the parts of us that are filled with hatred and a propensity for violence, and that condition is love and community.
We need to harness our desire for progress and forge ahead towards peace, we need to grow towards kindness, we need to rebuild our humanity. We need to see the value and necessity of tolerance, acceptance, compassion, selflessness, generosity and inclusivity.
We need to stop being so driven by money and power, power and fame, fame and ego, ego and ideology. The term, “money makes the world go round”, shouldn’t be the truth and before human beings, it wasn’t.
What will it take for us to recognize that we are mere specks in a scheme that is far greater than our small-mindedness can comprehend? And instead of fighting each other, stepping on each other, pulling each other down in the race for money or fame or power, we should be reflecting on our place in the world and using our tremendous creativity to build a world based on love.
This is a choice that each of us needs to make, and we need to make it fast because time is well and truly up. Do we choose to be better, do we choose the light? Do we choose to love unconditionally? Do we choose a species united? Or do we choose to remain divided by our differences and our self-imposed borders? If we choose foolishly, we are doomed by our own stupidity and hubris. Doomed to let the darkness blanket our existence and swallow us and everything near us whole.
This is how I feel like as a human being, as a woman, but as a mother, these feelings are even bigger, even scarier, even more, desperate and even more exhausting. They have become almost oppressive in their inescapable-ness. I cannot un-see the fire, I cannot ignore the flames, I cannot pretend I do not feel the heat, I cannot pretend the world is not burning. I cannot turn my back on humanity. I have to fight. Because I am not just fighting for me but for her as well. I brought her into this world and I will be damned if I give up trying to make it better for her.
Moms and Dads, we have a responsibility, we have the power and we have the love to change the world, not just for my kid or your kid but for all of our kids. We cannot let them inherit a carcass of a world writhing with hate and discord. No mother would want that. No father would choose that. We have a choice to make – embrace the light or succumb to the dark.
“The choice each must make for themselves – something no hero will ever defeat. I’ve touched the darkness that lives in between the light. Seen the worst of this world, and the best. Seen the terrible things men do to each other in the name of hatred, and the lengths they’ll go to for love. Now I know. Only love can save this world. So I stay. I fight, and I give… for the world I know can be. This is my mission, now. Forever.”, Diana Prince.
Mothers and fathers don’t have capes, or truth lassos, or armour, or superpowers, but we are no less Super. And armed with our one and only superpower, our infinite capacity for love and our lion-like ability to protect our loved ones, we are frightfully capable of changing the world. But we cannot wait for a sign, for the bat signal, we need to act now, we cannot waste another moment. If we do not act now, the world is doomed and our children’s inheritance will not only be worthless, not only a burden, it will be a wasteland.
Time is up for not just sexual abuse, but for all the horrors and hurt we inflict on each other.
Time’s up, parents, we need to act.