by Maitri Pamo
Activists demonstrate – physically at rallies, and also by words and deeds. They demonstrate the way they feel the world should be. They demonstrate their ideas in the hopes of igniting the spark. I am thankful that I live in a country where I am free to raise my voice at the injustices I see. As an activist, I am plugged into a constant stream of brutality. It is a horrific, ceaseless parade of depravity and one that demands opposition. I have no choice but to stand against this culture of apathy and cruelty. Silence is not an option for me.
This was not the case for 13 year old Hamza al-Khateeb. When he disappeared at a rally in Syria in April, he was not making his voice heard. The child was going to the rally simply to see the commotion. He was not a protester. The fact did not matter to the Syrian Airforce Intelligence that has been accused of this child’s sadistic murder. The torture inflicted on this boy by his government has fueled anger and protests across Syria.
A few years ago, in Baltimore, another 13 year old child was savagely murdered. To any rational person, the first event in the chain that led to Tywonde Jones’ death appears trivial. The thought that a ringing mobile phone could eventually lead to the slaying of a child is ludicrous, barbaric. Regardless, this is what happened and what is more absurd is that these incidents continue every day.
Whether discussing the vicious killing of humans, or the jaw dropping cruelty of a group of men setting fire to a live cat and filming the suffering of the animal while laughing, the point remains: humans would do well to learn empathy and compassion.
What parent wants for their children a world such as this? In our development as a species we are stymied by detachment, an inability to empathize with other living beings. Too many do not practice compassion with constancy. And while some may think that it is not their problem, I posit that the rampant disregard for life and the culture of cruelty, a true disease in the world, should be everyone’s problem.
One of the solutions should be inculcated in everyone, starting with children. Children should be taught empathy and compassion just as they should be taught critical thinking. TeachKind.org is a website with materials that educators can use to teach compassion to children. This is good, but it is not systemic. There is no standard curriculum that makes these teachings mandatory for our children. I think there should be. I think we should all demonstrate to our schools that there should be.
Contributor, Maitri Pamo.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.