There has been a lot of ‘stuff’ in the news recently which has caused me to reflect on how harmful inaction can be.
The first incident that got me thinking is related to John Terry. I don’t tend to criticise people here (there are invariably always at least two sides of an argument and often more) … but if most professions if a serious allegation is made against someone, that someone would be suspended from their role while the matter was investigated. Whether you believe Terry to be innocent or not is immaterial. Rightly or wrongly, suspension pending investigation, is the norm in our society in such circumstances and for this not to be applied in this incident seems wrong. Terry’s silence and refusal to act have caused some distress and embarrassment.
This contrasts with another person in the news over the last few days. For the first time ever I have to agree with the actions of a ‘ConDem’ alliance government minister. Chris Huhne also argues, like John Terry, that he is innocent. But Huhne realises the implications of the charge and so has, rightly, resigned his post and moved to the back benches while the charge is investigated.
Huhne seems to recognise the distress and embarrassment he would cause by staying in place and has acted swiftly, whereas as Terry seems not to be able to grasp that issue with the belief he can play on, alongside others, as if nothing had happened, whereas the FA cancelling a pre-match handshake shows that not to be the case.
This weekend has also shown that the reluctance to act can also have serious consequences. The actions, or rather the inactions, of both Russia and China at the UN are hard to grasp. It is shocking to think that in the light of such wrong doing that the world is unable to act, even though they long to do so and the people of Syria cry out for our help in such desperate circumstances. To see unarmed men, women and children being brutalised as other human beings, who can do something about it but choose to look on nonchalantly is sickening to the stomach.
There are times when it is correct to be quiet and do nothing. There are others. however, when action is the only way. In fact, there are times when action is demanded of us and inaction just simply won’t do!
So why do I approach these minor issues (as in Terry and Huhne) with a major catastrophe (Syria!) together? I believe the Syrias, the Kosovos, the Rwandas of the world do not just suddenly happen as sudden big steps. Leders of countries do not wake up one morning and decide to slaughter their populations and find they are able to do so unchallenged! They happen as a result of indiscernible small steps where people or issues are sidelined because they are seen as insignificant. That insignificance becomes unimportant, which becomes worthless, which then becomes sub-human. Two sets of rules are developed and accepted and massive consequences, and in the case of Syria I would say great evil, seem to creep uo and take people by surprise.
If we stay quiet and refuse to act on small issues of integrity when something serious comes along we are simply unable to act because we don’t know how to. Is it any surprise that Russia and China, two nations who have dubious human rights records at the best of times, have vetoed any Security Council action in the case of Syria. I suggest they do not see the lives of Syrian men, women and children as being important or of value.
I pray that we, as a nation, will never find ourselves in that place …. a place where we consider some lives to be better than others … a place where some are treated better than others … a place where there is one rule for one and another rule for another.
I pray we will remain a nation that knows when inaction simply will not do!