2017: The Year of Questions
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Is this the beginning of the end? How is this happening in my own country? Am I safe? Why do we yell at those who we love the most? What did I do to be so lucky? What did I do to deserve a warm bed and a full plate? Why haven’t we done more to help those who don’t? When did our country become so anti-Semitic, islamophobic, xenophobic? Did I forget to say ‘thank you’? Should I have said more? Should I have said less? Why did so many people in Yemen have to die from a disease we thought was eradicated? Why don’t people know where Yemen is? Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? Why do we fight and fight and fight? Why do we kill for land, for power, for wealth? How do people kill people they don’t know? How do people hate people they don’t know? Why can’t we tell the truth? Has democracy died? Why did families have to get separated? Has humanity died? Why did a daughter have to watch her mother die? Why did a mother have to watch her daughter die? Why do people have to starve if there is enough food in the world? How do people not appreciate their education? Will this be how my kids grow up? Am I doing everything I should be doing? Why do we only hear about the bad? Why does war exist? Will there ever come a day where it doesn’t? How do people think it's okay to say things like that? How do people think their words don’t matter? How have we let this happen to the Rohingya, to the Syrians, to the Yemenites? Were we always so horrible to each other? Will things ever get better? How? When? What can I do? Is there anything I can do? Is this hopeless? What has happened to humanity?
These are questions I’ve asked myself day after day, and despite an entire year passing by, I have failed to find any answers. There are days where I wake up and feel so small, so powerless, so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I’ve realized this year how little I understand the world, how little I understand the way we treat each other. There are days where I believe my actions won't change anything, and there are days that I feel guilty for thinking such thoughts.
It's easy to accept that the world is full of darkness – it's harder to convince yourself that you can bring back the light. We will never eradicate all the evils of the world. But we can, and we will, always make sure that the bad never outweighs the good. We fail when we stop believing that there is light, that there is goodness, that there is hope. The moment we stop believing in humanity is the moment it dies.
My questions cannot be answered with simple responses, and perhaps they have no answers at all. However, I will continue to ask them to myself and those around me, for if I don’t ask, who will?
We cannot accept what goes on in our world without asking why. If we fail to question the chaotic, and often cruel, world we live in, we are allowing it to get the better of us. We cannot allow ourselves to accept a picture of a Syrian refugee dying from malnutrition as a normal occurrence. We cannot allow ourselves to go numb to news of mass shootings and terrorist attacks. We cannot allow ourselves to believe that one group is more deserving of fundamental rights than another, despite what those around us say. We cannot allow ourselves to forget about the conflict thousands of miles from our homes and the struggles down the street. We should be confused by what we see, and we must never allow ourselves to accept atrocities as a normality.
I do not understand the world I live in, but I refuse to be afraid of it. If we are afraid we stand no chance in changing the course we are headed. We cannot be frightened in our fight forward, for change is not created by the faint of heart. The days where I feel utterly overwhelmed by the world I remind myself that it is not in my hands to change it, but in all of ours. A problem is not in the hands of only the people affected, for a problem that threatens the rights of one human threatens the rights of all.
It is not our vices that will be our demise, but our fear that we are powerless against those who create evils. There are too many days where we only hear what went wrong, and we fall into the trap of believing that goodness is lost.
Yet, if you can look past the headlines, you will see that the world is bursting with light, and full of people who are as confused as I am. There are people out there who inspire me to continue asking questions that may never be answered, people who will never look at the world and say there is nothing they can do. My hope is that one day we won't have to keep asking.