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Gandhiji’s 3 monkies


See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, but as a result, we ignore the evils that afflict our “modern society”.

As recent events surrounding child abuse by people in place of authority and trust, rapes, terrorist strikes by “neighbourly guys”, financial collapse caused by responsible individuals and institutions, political inertia, corruption scandals etc have shown that in our bid to be politically correct, we do not ask questions we should or probe where we should.  As a result, we have a society where evil can function under the very noses of people who should prevent it.

In our eagerness not to displease, we don’t call spade a spade and ignore the obvious – the proverbial “elephant in the room”.  Like ostriches, we bury our collective heads in the sand to survive the storm and not even realise that this particular storm could bury us ass deep !  Neighbours do not know if the person they are living next to is a terrorist, killer or a rapist.  People get away with terrible secretes in plain sight of others around them. 

How do terrorists function in our cities or recruit new people without friends, families and neighbours noticing ?  Does no one suspect them ?
How does domestic violence go un-noticed or unreported by all those who must witness it on a regular basis ?
How does child abuse happen without neighbours, teachers, friends and family suspecting anything ?
How does depression, self-harm and sucide happen in a society teeming with people ?

Abuse of trust and authority goes on all around us.  Children in care homes, schools, religious institutions get abused and no one seems to know for years or decades !  How does a baby get raped and killed in a neighbourhood teeming with people ?  If not for the carelessness of “US”, the collective “US”, how does this happen ?  Abuse, neglect, bullying, rebellion, carelessness, lovelessness, despondency – though this happens in plain sight, how comes we are missing such massive clues about these ?  Is it because we refuse to see, hear or speak about the evil that surrounds us ?  Isn’t it time we stopped being so cagey and spoke our mind ?  Shouldn’t we stop pussy footing around problems and face them ?

How did the collapse of the Western financial system happen without any forewarning from any number of regulators who were suppose to monitor the banks, bankers, institutions, investors ?  What was the use of all those expensive qualifications from all those ivy league universities and army of MBAs if they could not predict or forestall such a massive collapse of the system that the governments had to step in and virtually bank roll private institutions to stop them from going bankrupt ?  Despite the total cluelessness of the “people at the top” of these institutions, why are they still receiving such huge salaries and bonuses ?  Why aren’t they having to pay for their culpability in the collapse of the western economies through loss of their own jobs or reputation ?  Where is the government, its watchdogs or institutions who were suppose to protect everyone from such a disaster ?

We are all guilty of seeing nothing, hearing nothing and certainly saying nothing in all such disasters.  Yes, we grumble in the pub, bar, restaurant, sports club, barbeque, community centre.  We might even sign a petitions.  Those who are more active may go on a march or hold a rally.  But what else do we do that is concrete ?  Do we quiz our MP ?  Do we vote for parties or candidates that put forward a manifesto for change ?  Do we even care if the party we vote for has a manifesto ?  Do we write to the board of companies, financial institutions to complain about their callousness ?  Do we vote at the annual general meeting of companies we hold shares in ?  Do we ask our priests and pastoral caretakers to see what’s happening in the society around us ?  Do we ask the teachers to see what’s going on in the school or in the lives of our children ?  Do we ask the old man that’s sitting forlorn on the park bench if he is all right or if has had something to eat today ?  Do we even care ?

Maybe Mahatma Gandhi kept the three monkeys in front of him to remind him of the terrible slavery his people suffered on account of being voluntarily blind, deaf and dumb. 

Let’s face it, unless we start looking, unless we start listening and unless we speak up, nothing will change.

© Bhagwat Shah   
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