MAKING IT BETTER: Compassion, Empathy, Humanity

These are words that sound quite simple and straightforward but in reality are quite powerful and mean so much. As human beings we have been created to have these qualities inherently within us. These are some of the gifts that have been bestowed upon us as human beings that separate us from the animal kingdom. Sadly, these three gems seem to be sorely missing in our lexicon today and even more worrying, they are being eroded and becoming less evident in our interpersonal relations with one another. These are qualities we are in desperate need of to survive as a human race so we don’t lose the essence of what separates us from the lower animals.
So let’s look a little closer at these three beautiful words. Compassion is about showing kindness, consideration and genuine concern for your fellow human being. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s position, showing understanding. Humanity, which is the umbrella under which all three are housed, it is about humankind, mercy, charity, civilisation; it’s about people!
From what we are observing these days, these virtues are so thin on the ground at the moment that you literarily have to search to find them. We no longer bat an eyelid to what has replaced them which is meanness, cruelty, unkindness and a general lack of humanity. In some cases people even mock you if they think you display these virtues in any sustained way.  The alternative and what is fast becoming the norm is greed, baseness, rudeness, crassness, with a huge dose of the worship of fame and fortune at any cost. There is a difference between ambition, a strive for excellence, a desire to succeed and the negativity mentioned above.  It’s a sad state of affairs as well as quite frightening when you see the extent people are willing to go to inflict the most pain on their fellow human beings.
From a place of mental health care which is my area of expertise I am baffled on the one hand but equally not surprised at the level of self inflicted psychological damage that many people levy on themselves through the absence of compassion, empathy and humanity. There are no winners in a society that takes pleasure in harming its most vulnerable. Individuals are damaged, communities are damaged and the wider village of the world is also damaged.
So we continue to read of daily rapes, with victims getting younger. There is the flagrant and continuous slaughtering of men, women and children in certain parts of the country of Nigeria. People are now officially addicted to inventing damaging stories about others, of spreading fake news in the hope of destroying individuals they have beef with, or that they just envy; without a thought for the collateral damage that may follow their behaviour. In fact some revel in it!
How in God’s name can we flourish as a people, as a nation? What country, world are we leaving for our children and their children to inhabit? The younger generation are watching and soaking it all up and creating a new reality for themselves. It’s akin to infections that become immune to antibiotics. The strain of the disease gets stronger and resistant to all known treatment. I’m not comparing our children to viruses (God forbid!), but I sure you get the gist of what I am trying to get across.
I will be writing about this theme at different times in a variety of forms because as we all know our country has entered a period that we hope will bring positive change through our impending elections. We also know that this period generates people who harbour nothing but ill will and a desire to create mayhem and havoc. Hope is vital in all we do as things have reached an all time low in every possible way you can think of.
Take the challenge of spending just one 24hr day (let’s keep it simple and achievable), speaking only the truth, showing compassion, empathy and humanity. Obviously you can continue making the effort to achieve this righteous way of living for as long as you can. If you are already on this path then bless you! If like the rest of us it’s a daily struggle in the face of all the negativity that abounds; then the challenge becomes even more crucial.

My own Personal Rant
I didn’t think this section of my page would appear so soon again after the last lengthy rant. However I had no choice as I was compelled, I was incensed, I was shocked and had to get this off my chest. I am trusting it will strike a chord with some of you.
Let me start by saying I make no apologies for the language I will employ to empty my belly. I intend to push the boundaries as far as my kind editor will allow me. Also be warned if my page does not appear subsequently it will most likely be because I have been sent to a quiet room to cool off momentarily.
Some of you might have been aware June 19th was celebrated as World Sickle Cell Day. In the UK the entire month of July has also been dedicated to raising Sickle Cell Awareness and understanding. There have been a variety of efforts across the board, conferences, school events including fundraising events, workshops, hospital drop in centres and lots more. There are new clinical trials being discussed, new medication been rolled out both in the UK and the US to help people who have the condition.
Individuals who live with the condition have been given

platforms to speak about their struggles, their challenges as well as the successes many of them have achieved in their private and professional lives. Here in the UK, those who know little or nothing about the condition are being given wonderful opportunities to put real faces and real lives to the stories they hear about the condition. People with health conditions and illnesses are just like everyone else in their desire for happiness, love, success in life and they have the additional challenges of their condition.
In developed countries and healthy societies people show compassion, empathy and humanity for fellow human beings who may be challenged with or by personal experiences. This should be done in the full knowledge that we do not know what challenges, tragedies or traumas are or may be coming our own way at any given time. I think this is becoming more evident every day.
Having set the scene for my rant, I can now speak to my absolute shock, horror, and fury when I stumbled across an interview on TVC’s morning show ‘The view’ that was aired on June 19th. The date set aside to celebrate the life of those living with Sickle cell and to raise awareness about the condition. If anyone has the time and access please look it up before it is removed.
‘Professor’ Cyril Otoikkhan who claims to be a Scientist and the Founder of a foundation for the care of those with Sickle cell and its eradication in Nigeria was spewing such vile, disgusting remarks it was reminiscent in my view of something akin to Hitler’s final solution of the Jews. Without giving his offensive views any more publicity I will just relay a couple of his statements so you get an idea of his position. This moron, who regularly referred to himself as a scientist, which I imagine was his explanation for why he had the right to speak as he was: started off by saying Sickle Cell was a curse! Immediately all his credentials as far as being an enlightened educated intellectual crumbled. This is a man who obviously believes any type of disability is a curse and possibly the people affected somehow deserve it Then he went on to say ‘why are people celebrating the lives of sickle cell patients when it is a death sentence and it is like loading your money in a sachet in a moving car and throwing it away?’
There were so many of his utterances that made me gasp, but what I was particularly struck by was the fact the he is running a foundation to ‘care’ for people with sickle cell! My question is how exactly is he doing this with such a mindset? If he had said he set up shop to kill these patients I probably would have more respect for him because this was literarily what he was advocating in his asinine suggestions.
He spent almost the entire time allotted to him denigrating the lives of sickle cell patients and their families. He expressed contempt, disgust and not a modicum of decency in anything he said. Considering there would have been people with the condition and their families watching, the fact that he could not find it within himself to acknowledge the challenges and validate the courage of many with the condition show with those challenges as well as go on to make great strides in their life, is an absolute disgrace to this man and the producers of the show; who appeared afraid to challenge some of his statements. Rather than enlightening people he encouraged fear and disinformation.
His points of checking your genotype before marriage and making informed decisions about avoiding increasing your chances of producing a child with sickle cell disease is valid. However, referring to the millions of people with the condition as a waste of investment and money speaks more about the lack of humanity in this man and God save the patients in his care.

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