Every day, TV news and the Internet immerge us in terrible news about wars, bombs, people fleeing like never before; more attacks, massacred civilians, children swept away by the horror of violence. We are outraged, we grieve, but then – aware of our utter helplessness before these events – we resume our daily tasks. It never even occurs to us that we might do something for our ‘neighbors’, because we got used to the idea of the “neighbors” as people who are re far away. A sociological contradiction: the greater the distance between us and the place where events take place, the greater is the emotional impact they have on us; this is exactly the opposite of the old rules the journalists used to teach fledgling reporters, explaining them that the greater the proximity of an event, the higher is the public’s reaction to it. Today it is no longer the case, and the only exception are extremely local happenings.
Facebook, with its flags on profile pictures, has globalized even pity, which does not live next to us any longer. Our excuse is that we do not know what to do… we do not want so far as to ask people to open their homes to the poor and the last: a very noble gesture, but objectively difficult to see. Dedicating some of our time to volunteering or donating something would be enough.
Blood, for instance. The same blood that is being spilt by thousands of unfortunate who were born in lands devastated by war. The latest initiative in this field – but there are plenty of initiatives everywhere, even close to our homes – is the Infant Jesus of Rome, which opened its quarter located in the Janiculum neighborhood – right in the middle of summer, when everyone’s head is full of recreational and playful thoughts – for blood collection.
It is a way to stay close to many young patients who are struggling to survive, a way of getting personally involved in positive experiences at present, not only because it helps someone, but also because it helps to create a collective consciousness based on solidarity. And to shake off the hypocrisy of the “I cannot do anything.”