Why we can’t turn our backs on human suffering

There are times when watching the news is too much to bear. The last week I have been hiding from it. The human suffering, the horror. I can’t bring myself to read news reports, the pictures are heartbreaking. I can’t empathise, I can’t even begin to imagine how those people are feeling.


I am privileged.

My children are up in bed at the moment, safely napping. They are in clean clothes. They are warm. They have been fed. I don’t worry about what they will eat tomorrow.

We can live here, in comfort and no one to bother us. They play in the garden, they have books read to them, they have art supplies, toys and games. They have grandparents and aunts and uncles, they are loved. They visit friends and family, they go to the library and the supermarket. They don’t worry about anything.

They don’t go a day without hugs and kisses.

They will go to school when they are old enough, they will learn to read and write. They will make friends, they will have options.

They will lead privileged lives.

I had all of that. I grew up with all of that.

How can I empathise with people who have no options? How can I begin to understand how it would feel to bring your children with you on a journey that you know is full of danger with nothing to sustain you except hope? How can I begin to imagine how a parent feels trying to keep their children safe in such circumstances? We all hold our own lives dearly but the lives of our children we cherish and protect fiercely. All of us.

We must stand with them. We must do more than just cry for them, but we must do that too.

Someone said to me “it doesn’t bear thinking about”, but we have to. We have to think about them, we have to understand our privilege does not extend to everyone.

We have to know that we have ours, not because we are more deserving but merely through an accident of fate.

They are us. We are them.

3 thoughts on “Why we can’t turn our backs on human suffering

    1. Doesn’t it though? I think it just leaves all your nerve endings exposed, everything hits home a bit more. I often find myself crying at the news since having mine. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂


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