A few short weeks ago, I—along with thousands of others—walked blithely along the beachside promenade of La Croisette in Cannes, France, which is only a short drive from Nice and its beachfront walkway.
The weather was beautiful and the strolling couples, the skateboarding teens, the babies in carriages, the sun worshipers so attired (or not so), the older walkers, the pushed and the pulled, and the just sitting were all in harmony with each other, the place and the sea. There was no discernable security, as I look back, and clearly none of us felt or commented on its absence. Then, just a few weeks later, the attack in Nice occurred…BOOM!
I struggle with what to write tonight…and every business proposition I begin has quickly turned stale and irrelevant.
It’s not that I am shocked—unless you have your head in the sand, acts of evil like this are occurring every day. Yet whether they’re in Israel, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan, to name just a few, we seem to ignore them. The sad truth is that indignation wakes us up only when these acts of evil strike the US, the UK or France. It’s as though we expect to be able to meander along that beach without needing to worry about murdering terrorists and their hate-fueled killing.
As new revelations are being made public about the previous tragedy in Paris, the horror is compounded by the sheer malevolence of it all.
We are all guilty (myself included) of posting our indignation and changing our photos on social media in order to become “one” with the victims and their families, only to soon return to walking the beachfront—with maybe a backward glance or two in the beginning—until all is once again forgotten.
What do we do? And how do we begin?
One place, I’d argue, is to pay attention to the news and to get angry and angrier each time you learn about these same kinds of attacks, no matter where they are…no matter what your politics might be…no matter your religion…the color of your skin…or anything else that makes you different in any way from the victims. Don’t wait until you yourself are walking along the Croisette and hear the “BOOM!” By then it may be way too late to save your own life.
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
So how do we speak out? How do we make a difference? How can we change the world?
If you are like me, you wonder if your little actions can really make a difference; you do what feels right and good and you sleep a little better…you hope for the best and you start all over again when the best doesn’t happen.
But then I read this. Listen:
Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. — Robert F Kennedy
You can start a ripple. That’s all you need to do. That’s all any of us need to do. Start a ripple. And if we keep it up, our little ripples will combine into a tsunami of epic proportions and then…?
#changetheworld with a ripple…be outraged…don’t be inured. And I will add my ripple to yours and then…who knows…but at least we won’t be waiting complacently for the “BOOM!”
What do you think?