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.