I saw this today and I had to share! A truly moving speech by Charlie Chaplin in the movie “Dictator”. Although the topic is based on dictatorship I find there is much to learn from it: humanity, dignity, justice and love. So many lessons to learn from a speech made by a man who’s successful career revolved around silent comedy!
Today I was included on a text stream. The subject was Syria. The objective, an April fool’s joke. Someone had the bright idea to propagate a fake tragic event in Syria and ask for prayers for those hurt. In the instance it seemed so painless, forwarding it. A display of care with a press of a button without a second thought. Yet there was no such news.
Another text message followed:
Sorry, this seems to have been an April fool’s joke.
That was no joke. It was sheer callous.
The joke is how undignified we have become in our inability to connect with the pain and destruction that millions of people face everyday simply because we are not directly in contact with any of it. It happens thousands of miles away. Appears to us in the form of petty headlines devoid of emotions which we hurriedly flip and skip through. To carry it further, we willingly mock the destruction because it is not ours. It means nothing more to us than a derogatory tabloid news brief.
Perhaps Syria makes headlines today, tomorrow it will be another so why should we care?
I think we should care because every time we care we ensure our own liberties and freedoms. When has it ever been a solution to look and not care? Every time we take the time to look, the time to care we protect not only the humanity and the civil rights of another we do so for ourselves too. I think this philosophy carries forward globally now more than ever before. We are not protected within nation borders if we cannot help other nations. I cannot think of one instance of revolutions and social changes where there was ever a benefit to looking the other way.
Everyday we make choices, big and small. We make a choice not to help an ailing neighbor, we make a choice to help spread undignified rumors, we make a choice when we choose the path of moral muteness, we make choices every moment. Perhaps some days we should make the effort to make the right choices even if they are not as popular, liked or appreciated. Syria is just an example of what happens when an entire world population sits back and chooses moral muteness. Yes it is indeed very important that major world leaders keep their political affiliations in place even if it means the death of almost 70,000 people during the course of this conflict. The weight of so many lives lost hardly seems a burden to us. Why?
Our humanity lies in our ability to hold the hand of a stranger with the care and affection we would allow our loved ones. At the very least, if we cannot join in the sorrows of another we must not let their pain be mocked.