May 21, 2009

not nice

From time to time I ponder the need to know when to act. When to throw caution to the wind and do something to change a situation which isn't really my problem. Every now and then I hear a story about a situation where someone has acted and made a difference. My recent favourite was a friend of my grandmother's who was 60-odd and on the tube in London. Two men were getting into a fight, and so (being a good quaker) she eventually got up and walked down the carriage and (in her rather sweet way, and with her very bad stutter) she offered them a sweet from a small bag of sweets she had. Somehow she did it in such a way that the two men politely refused the sweets and got themselves out of the fight and peacefully sat down.

I wish I had both that inspiration and the personality to pull that sort of thing off. Generally I'm not very good at it. I tend to miss the moment where I could make a difference because I'm surprised by it and just generally too contemplative and woolly to get on with making a difference. I think, for me, it's one of those learned skills which takes regular practice to get used to.

So I have some sympathy for the various people who failed to stop the abuse of children in catholic church-run facilities in Ireland, and thus enabled it to go on for decades. But it's a really, really, tiny amount.

Posted by carla at May 21, 2009 10:04 PM
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