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Abeera Hassan

Santa's not-so-little helper

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Writing my way out of monotony.

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The necessary rebellion

Jul 29, 2019 8 months ago

For millennia, the early human tribes existed in peace because of a belief system that was deep-rooted in our genetic makeup: the feeling of “oneness”, of coming together to unite and protect what is ‘ours' for survival. This shared empathy and kindness transcended land masses and dialects; tribes came together to survive winters and to support the weak, and kindness was a virtue extended to everyone without bias. The modern day human also follows this inherent humanist ideology. We also form tribes, our own trusted group of connections that gives us a sense of belonging, some sense of identity. Modern tribes take many diverse forms, with humanity existing in a fascinating cacophony of different skin colors, languages, food and music. However, modern day tribes to not blend as well as they used to. Our eclectic disarrangement of different types of people often results in friction between these groups. A person not part of our intimate circle is seen as an outsider and often, this lack of cohesion within a society creates divide; great are the ramifications of this simple concept of ‘us and them', and often destructive. Today, our society suffers due to this 'divide and conquer' policy, peddled by politicians and law enforcement. Once we have been convinced to look at someone not like us with contempt, we begin to see them as a threat and disregard their right to kindness, empathy and respect. The intolerance can be rooted in gender, race or social class bias but once we are convinced of this simple concept of ‘ours versus theirs', one group versus another, we become easier to control- empathy has no place in politics, and kindness holds no weight. Continuing this alarming downward spiral of fear mongering, we elect among ourselves leaders who uphold the same contentious values as ours. As the blind lead the blind, we allow these malevolent figureheads to represent our interests and make laws that favor further segregation and alienation amidst people of different values, further convincing us that someone who is inherently different is foreign and hence, malicious. A prejudice emerges, and tribes begin to mistrust and judge each other for having a different culture. We begin to abhor people who look different, people who practice a different religion or speak a different language. We are no longer kind and compassionate towards those who deserve it, simply because we have been convinced to look at them as a dangerous. Collectively, we become an inharmonious society, lacking in kinship, empathy and kindness. Dissociation and subsequent isolation becomes commonplace and on an individual level, this rift in a defective society cultivates rampant spread of mental illnesses, particularly giving way to individuals with low self-esteem who are unable to lead fulfilling lives. No matter how many mental health support programs we nurture, how much charity we give, it will not be effective unless it nurtures intersectionality. Once those in power start to make laws that focus on impeding and maltreating a certain group of people based on differences in culture, religion, gender or economic status, we allow hatred to seep in and damage our fundamental sense of tribe and community irreversibly. To create empathy and act with kindness, we must be able to relate to each other on a humane level. It is true that humans are capable of forming connections that surpass borders and governments, geographical location and history. Together, humans are capable of pursuing new experiences, overcoming struggles and developing a sense of comradery through shared experiences and relativity, giving way to empathy. A society that lacks empathy lacks kindness. By being aware of this knowledge, we can question ourselves. Which side do we chose? What would it take for us to look at someone, anyone, in the eye, recognize their struggle and offer support, no matter who it was? Does a person of a different culture or economic status not deserve kindness from us? If we deemed everyone, without any bias, worthy of our help, would the fabric of our society shift dramatically towards one of care, love and kindness? What would it take for us to reconnect with our tribe? In a society fueled by hatred, is kindness a necessary rebellion?

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