Volunteer Blog – Is it us? Or is it them?

By Zayna Ahsan
July 29, 2020

Is outrage counterproductive when fighting for human rights? No and yes. Everyone has the right to express themselves – to mobilize and stand in solidarity with one another. Here’s the catch as soon as you express angry, people take that as an opportunity to portray you as the bad guy. It’s considerably hard to keep your calm especially with people who refuse to believe something that’s right in front of them. However, it’s necessary. If you use up all your energy, the movement will die down. Everyone will talk about it for a bit and it’ll go around on social media but that’s it. If you stay strong and keep fighting in a way that is smarter, you will get better results eventually. Keep all those emotions and use them in an efficient way. Again, it is difficult to stay calm around people who will constantly justify something absolutely wrong. But in doing so, you’re rising above and setting an example.

Looking at it from another perspective, I also believe that prolonged oppression will inevitably lead to aggression and violent retaliation. The oppressed are left with no other choice. After they try to make people understand peacefully and no action is taken, they will turn to violence and making their oppressors feel guilty and accountable for the damage. So, I think that their outrage is justified when they have been pushed to a certain level. It can’t be expected of them to be the bigger person in this situation because they have been suffering for long periods of time and aren’t seeing an end to it. There is a sort of short-lived relief that comes from calling people out directly and having someone to blame.

We need to end the “us” and “them” mentality.

If we work together to show each other that we as individuals, people and a society – are being listened to and simply take action against whatever problems one of us may be facing, we won’t have to turn to rioting and yelling and ‘revenge’. It benefits both sides. Everyone has their voice, and everyone deserves to be actively listened to. If we leave each other no other option besides plain aggression and violence, it’s a clear sign that there’s something seriously wrong with our societies.