Monday, 11 April 2016

What happened to empathy?

What happened to empathy?

Anja Loven

This picture would probably trigger references from religious fanatics who would look at this woman and judge her to hell and back for her tattoos and in quote "state of unclothedness"
So why did I start this article with the picture of this woman? Her name is Anja Loven, Anja Loven was in the news recently for saving the life of a 2year old Nigerian boy who had been abandoned by his family on accusations of witchcraft. The boy had been left to fend for himself for 8months, begging for food for on the streets. Upon discovery he was malnourished and riddled with worms.
What really struck me about this story was how unbelievable religion and ethnic lines has shut off empathy. Religion failed this child; Christians, Muslims and all types of religious followers would probably have come across this child where he was striving to survive on the streets and turned a blind eye or felt it wasn’t their concern. These are the same people that would be quick to judge Anja who rescued this child for having tattoos with references to holy books to drive their points home.
Ethnicity, why am I bringing ethnicity into the mix? This is because it also failed this child. People from different tribes would have seen this child on the streets. The Hausa man would probably not be bothered because he is not his tribe, the Yoruba man might be indifferent and the Igbo man couldn’t care less. We have become so imbibed in our self-gratification, which leaves us blind to empathy. 
Our thoughts are so clouded by religious and ethnic boundaries that we fail in the basics of what makes us human in the first place “Empathy”.
What is empathy? Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling.
Even if we have been blinded by our different religious and ethnic constraints, what happened to human empathy? We were born with this before other factors shaped our thoughts and beliefs. The humanity in us should be forefront of our reactions and judgments. Anja displayed a wonderful act of kindness that we need to emulate. We need to shed our religious and ethnic differences and allow the light inside us radiate towards others. The next person is your brother and love should be the message.

The image that went viral

Road to recovery

Image credits: www.telegraph.co.uk
                       http://artebooking.dk/

Written by Femi Shine