Saturday, July 30, 2005

a brief report of decency

An excerpt from an AP story I read in the Chronicle about the terrible flooding in Bombay:

    "One minute we were hanging onto the rope, and the next my cousin slipped, and his head went under water," Bhargava said, shuddering. "I tried to pull him out with one hand, but my legs gave way. I kept shouting for help, but people couldn't hear me above the roar of the water."

    As he fought to stay above water, hands grabbed him and pulled him onto a tree by the side of the road. He spent the night with the strangers who had saved his life...His cousin was pulled to safety by people farther along the road.

    This hectic cosmopolitan city may be famed across Asia for its movie industry, its wealthy stockbrokers and its powerful business clans, but this week it proved something else: It looks after its own.

    The people who rescued Bhargava and his cousin were among the still-nameless Bombay residents who offered help despite the dangers, or who opened their homes to strangers, or who fed tea and biscuits to people wading past in waist-deep water.
Now was that so hard? A news story that mentions something noble that people have done.

I don't want whitewashed puff pieces about the bonnie state of the world. And I don't want the newspaper filled with feel-good, kitty-rescue stories.

But I'm weary of the unrelenting horror. Terrifying stories of loss, murder, war and natural disaster. It's lopsided and we know it. Because while we all know people who are miserably cruel, we also know people who are exquisitely kind.

And this isn't unique to rural areas nor urban centers. It's not about the eastern hemisphere or the western. It doesn't belong to the Christians or the Hindus. It's just about human beings rising above the muck and showing their decency.

No comments: