My brother’s keeper

Outrageous! Shocking! These are only some of the emotions triggered upon learning the news of the recent happenings at the eastern German town of Schmölln. Not only did a young Somali man, aged 17, commit suicide just days after he had been dismissed from a psychiatric facility where he had been treated for depression, but reportedly he did so as some were inciting him to jump from the fifth-floor window whilst others were recording the event on their phones from nearby apartments.

Our human conscience cannot but give voice to lament and protest at the shocking barbarity of such an act. Can’t we see a young person who is agonising?! Have we become that hard of heart?! Definitely it is very easy – all too easy I must say – to say ‘not in my name!’; however when evil starts to grip bit by bit the whole of society, paralysing and corrupting it, we find ourselves with no leeway but to admit that evil is corporate – societal indeed -and it is society which is truly finding itself in a bad need of an exercise of soul searching.

I could definitely venture in reiterating that our society needs to be more inclusive, doing away with xenophobia and racism. However sometimes I cannot but have the impression that our discussions are too comfortable, too abstract and disconnected, bringing about no real change, as the gangrenous tissue of indifference continues to corrupt society which is all too busy, all too fragmented to take proper action.

Today I just wish to invite all to the German town of Schmölln, where it is all too late. I hope that in being there, at least through our empathy – if we have any – our human sentiment can teach us once again the sense of human fraternity, the ability to say that he who is different is indeed my brother, my brother!

May he rest in peace! May we awake from our lethargy!

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