August 2019 Theme: The Opposite of Evil

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Evil. That’s a word I often use, and I believe it makes people uncomfortable. You see I find no other word to describe certain acts that show so little humanity is difficult to see them anything other than an emanation of the Devil. Is it a judgement or a condemnation? No; It is rather that I do not find another word to qualify such acts. How else would you describe killing people, deceiving people, plotting against people, harassing people. Should we say that those acts are Godly?

Does it mean that I believe the culprits are so far gone on the darker side they can’t change? No, I believe in atonement and redemption. But for us to change, we must first accept we are doing wrong. The people you know who commit such acts, do you see signs that they accept that they are doing harm?
The world has seen so many ugly things as far back as we can remember that we have come to accept that our choices are limited to Evil and the Lesser Evil. We are formatted to rate different acts of Evil and find that some are more acceptable than others. Or less unacceptable.

The word Evil makes us uncomfortable, yet it is often the only excuse or explanation we get from the ones who commit reprehensible acts, when faced with the consequences of their acts: The Devil made me do it. They don’t seem uncomfortable when they make such grave statement, why should we?
For years, I tried to understand what can go on in the head of people who seem to have lost their humanity (understanding as in trying to find an explanation and not an excuse), but I could never find get it. So, at some point, I stopped trying.

Our History has shown us that Lesser Evils lead to Greater Evils; it starts with a few victims till we are all affected. And the damage suffered by society is often beyond repair, no matter how acceptable or how excusable we think some situations are.
Evil and the Greater Evil. Well at UMURAGE, we want to believe that we can have other choices on our menu: The Good and the Greater Good.

Like Evil, Goodness is a deliberate choice and we must encourage and praise those who make that choice of refusing to engage with the opposite of Good. Every month, we’ve tried to do just that: to find inspiration and a little bit of light in the stories of extraordinary people who who’ve showed extraordinary acts of bravery when they would have been excused not to do anything.

I will leave you, not with a song, but with a quote, one of my favourite quotes of all times. It is from His Majesty Haile Selassie, the late Emperor of Ethiopia:

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for Evil to triumph.”

As we start this month of August, let us vow not to allow for any type of Evil, lesser of greater, to triumph.

Contributor

UMURAGE Foundation