If someone I know and love is hurting, I naturally want to help them and defend them, but when I see a stranger in need, suddenly I’m too busy, there’s something I have to do, I’m late for work and can’t afford to stop, or I simply have no idea how to help. I’m guilty of overlooking situations where I could help someone because I would rather forget about it and let someone else help instead, and then I lie to myself saying that there’s nothing I could do to really help anyway.
Indifference and bystanders are dangerous and detrimental to our humanity. For example, during the Second World War, Nazi Germany those who fell victim to the Nazi regime were taken from their homes, thrown into these camps, starved, worked to death, shot, cremated, and almost nobody tried to save them. By December 1942, over 2 million Jews had been murdered, 5 million more were at risk, and word had reached the Allied Powers who did very little to help. It wasn’t until July 1944 that the first camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers, and almost a year later, the first camp liberated by American forces was in April 1945.
It surprised me to know how long it took for our armies to find out about and to finally free those who were being tortured in the camps, and I wonder why nobody acted sooner. It’s not until we lose something that is closely related to our lives that we genuinely care and become upset. When it’s something far away or not associated with us, we just shake our heads and say, “that’s too bad.”
If everyone cared more about something that wasn’t part of their lives locally, then the amount of suffering people would be less, the amount of violence would be less, the amount of pain would be less. I am not nearly as concerned or compassionate as I should be, but even though it can be difficult to leave my comfort zone to help a stranger, I know I should be doing it. This topic is sad to write about, but knowing that it’s a major problem I feel the need to address it and hopefully it will have the same effect on you as it did me.