We did what we had to do
A trainer from Wimbledon, Patrice Hutchinson, went on a march last Sunday to protest with the “Black Lives Matter” movement. He saw a counter protester on the ground who was in a perilous situation, took him and brought him to safety. “We did what we have to do”, he said, “We stopped somebody from being killed”. He was dubbed as a “hero” by the press, “representing the best of us”, PM Johnson’s spokesman said. And indeed, he didn’t think twice. He saved a man who probably wished him ill.
Pull together with compassion and kindness….
Jo Cox’s sister, the MP who was viciously killed four years ago by a man who shouted “Britain first”, has urged people to “pull together with compassion and kindness”. She told the BBC, it is time now for people to be more tolerant and listen to the point of view of others. “How can we still be living in a world where people are abused, attacked and killed because of the colour of their skin? How can we still be living in a world where we are supposedly better connected than ever yet so many people feel lonely? … Four years on since Jo’s murder, I do continue to be inspired by how, when face with tragedy and crisis, people often also show the best of humanity” (Kim Leadbeater, the BBC, 16 June 2020).
Are these people heroes? In a way, yes, because they swim against the current. They promote a tolerant, compassionate world, whereas we seem to be surrounded by vocal, self-righteous and self-involved people who are spreading their voices all over social media. We would like to be able to act intuitively as Patrice Hutchinson did, and save a life when it is necessary. We would like to live up to Kim Leadbeater’s ideals. In that sense, they are heroes. But they are principally humans. That should be the norm, and not something extraordinary. Maybe it is time to raise our heads, to refuse to be silenced by the poisonous disputes that are raging around us, and to work toward a more compassionate world.