About 8 years ago, I met a colleague that used to say, "you can never be too kind". That stuck with me in a way that I did not foresee. I thought it was a nice take on life: to be fully aware that you will never turn back and regret having been too kind. A simple philosophy. If we all had that outlook, the world would probably be very different. But we don't live in a world with too much kindness. In fact, as things are today, it's difficult to come to terms with the level of indifference, apathy and even cruelty that exists.
When did it become OK to turn a blind eye to the needs of desperate people fleeing from war? When did it become OK to be sitting our hands when innocent civilians are being bombarded? Since when is it OK to be numb to unbearable human pain? How can we look at ourselves in the mirror and be OK with not knowing enough or caring enough about human suffering? Every single person out there suffering from the consequences of war, natural disasters or disease is a person with feelings and hopes like you and me. How can we let these things go by without doing anything? How can we justify ignorance or inaction?
I have the privilege of working for the United Nations and the people I encounter in my daily life are passionate about trying to make the world a better place. I know that for many of my colleagues, getting up to do their jobs every day is difficult because they witness the horror first hand. It's not easy to keep the motivation up when you see that day after day despite everything we do, there is still too much suffering in this world. But "you can never be too kind". All of those - both within and outside the UN- that keep trying to make the lives of others better, share this philosophy. So even if things are not always rosy and we cannot celebrate achievements every day, we should never regret having done all that was within our reach.
My original intention was to write a piece on Aleppo, on Yemen, on Mosul and on all of the places where we see the effects of humanity at its worst. Despite efforts to alleviate these tragedies, we have too many persons doing the exact opposite. This goes beyond not being kind. This is about basic decency and respecting laws and rules that enable our communities and societies to work. It's about governing ourselves in a way that enables our peaceful coexistence on the planet.
With the way things are now; we have a long road ahead to rebuild lives and communities, regain trust, stability and peace. Turning today's serial disasters into something of the past will not be simple. In fact, it may even take a few generations but getting people to agree that we can never be too kind may just part of changing things for the better. Let's not lose faith in humanity. Let's show we can turn things around. And let's all work towards rekindling the sense of global solidarity that seems to have been lost, but without which all the major challenges of our era are going to be impossible to solve.