Give Empathy a Chance (And Stick With It)
- 1 Post
- Age 17
Imagine all the people, living life in peace.
All you need is love.
Kill them with kindness.
These lyrics and other ones from different songs which are similar in meaning drift out of every radio, mobile phone and speaker. They seep through every pair of headphones. The artists were very clear in their messages: Have hope. Be able to step into another’s shoes. Have compassion. Empathy.
It is almost ironic, then, that with the values they contain these songs hit the top charts and make their way onto people’s playlists, when it is those same values that are lacking in society. Specifically, I’m talking about empathy and people’s regard towards immigration.
I am writing from a country whose majority frown at the very mention of immigration, whose majority grow suddenly hostile if a news item flashes up with a video clip of a large group of refugees struggling, cold and tired in a small dinghy close to our shores. Only yesterday dozens upon dozens of xenophobic comments piled up under a news article on social media which was reporting that three migrants aboard a rescue vessel were denied access by our government to our islands.
Seeing all of those comments makes you question the values people are supposed to hold as human beings and, if they follow one, followers of a religion. The values even their favourite songs boast about. How can a boy play John Lennon’s music on a loop and simultaneously rant on about how immigrants should be sent back to their own country? How can a girl whose religion states that she should love her neighbour as she loves herself call a two-year-old refugee, who lost his parents at sea, an animal?
What we need more than anything else is not new government regulations, laws or bodies; we need empathy, the ability to feel someone else’s pain. Immigrants are men, women and children – they’re people. You and I are people, so what’s different there? Put yourself in their place. You’ve suddenly been forced out of your home because of a war which appears to have brewed overnight. You’ve no chance to grab anything – no passport, no documents – and you just run. Weeks pass as you make your way along the wild sea in a storm on a raft or trudge exhaustedly across dangerous borders. You finally find a potential place of refuge after all of your horrible experiences, but you’re denied access. How would you feel then?
If we only had more empathy in our hearts instead of the tendency to follow the herd of haters, maybe the world would be a more peaceful place, just as the artists sang in their songs, painted in their paintings and wrote in their words.
But it will never happen if we don’t all comply.