All talk, no action

The recent news about Sahar Gul has gripped my attention. The fifteen-year-old Afghan girl was allegedly beaten and tortured by her in-laws after she refused to engage in prostitution. It’s a horrific story, one that raised indignation and anger in many people, myself included, and highlights the continued need to fight for human rights across the globe. People are talking about the need for justice. Good.

But at what point does all this talking become idle chatter, the hand-wringing become exploitation?

It’s not enough to talk about atrocities and spread information about them; we must work to stop them. Yet in my desire to make everyone aware of injustice, I often spend my time talking about injustice rather than acting on behalf of justice.

And in not actively working to stop injustice, I wonder if I am somehow participating in it. I’ve heard that all it takes for evil to reign is for good people to stay silent. I’ll add, “for good people to talk so much about evil that they no longer hear the cries for help, only their own voices.”

I let my thoughts of helplessness—What can I do? What can I do?—beat in my head until that’s all I hear. I let them keep me from doing anything.

Words can do a great many things. But words alone aren’t enough to care for Sahar’s wounds, physical or emotional. Swapping horror stories isn’t enough to stop horrible things from happening. Talk must lead to action, or it is useless.

So it’s time to stop merely talking . . . and start doing.


4 thoughts on “All talk, no action

  1. So, what can one do? Thinking about it for a minute I remember that my church is supporting a local organization that work with women caught in prostitution right here in little ol’ Madison, WI. I think I’ll look them up and see how I can volunteer. Because I am one of those that like’s to herald every crisis and issue that comes along. How about I put my feet where my mouth is and walk down there and help. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for this genuine challenge.


  2. I was flicking through your very interesting blog, and came across this sad story. As you say, sometimes we can talk a good fight but do little else; this happens everywhere. Sometimes some Middle Class people, people who are moderately well-off and the like, can be well-meaning but you do wonder whether they are taking an interest to attract reflected glory and look important and caring, or whether they are doing it for more genuine motives. Who can say in the final analysis.

    If we can help, we should try to help, but if we can only highlight these issues, then maybe we can do that then.


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