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A Speck

By Jibran Anand

There is a famous saying, or rather quite a few morally appealing ones which talk about equality and empathy, which appeal to the better side of humanity and attempt to reach the spot in our hearts which makes us human and apparently far superior to all the rest. Well, today while I was trudging across my room, one of the many pointless strolls which result from concentrated psychology and usually end up with the door of the fridge opening and shutting within seconds of each other, I noticed something.

It was something very tiny and it was something which I’m reasonably sure has lain there for a few weeks if not months, given the state my room currently is in. However, while I stooped down to touch it and examine it, such is the brutal nature of humanity, we cannot bear to leave the world as it is and have to disturb the tranquillity of the universe before us, there was a calm breeze which drifted though my open window and as I moved closer to the object, the calm breeze transformed into a rough wind. Distracted by the sudden change in Velocity and temperature, I ventured out towards the beach in order to experience the wind of which I received only a blast. However, even though I lay carelessly on the parapet, my feet dangling into space, I couldn’t shake off the sensation which went through my body as I was about to touch the object which still lay on my floor. The more I thought about the object, the more I began to question the very essence of humanity. Sure, humanity is a wonderful thing, with peace, love, friendship and compassion being the predominant things in the hearts and minds of the seven billion people that exist. However, despite this fact, I couldn’t get over the human history of oppression. From the beginning of times, we humans have oppressed, whether it was the crusades or it was the Jews in the Second World War, not to forget the constant oppression that goes on unnoticed.

However, what I realised while I was lying there was that there is so much oppression that goes on in the world, oppression that we, humans, just assume to be fine just because we are the predominant race that exists in the world. I realised that we as a race, simply couldn’t co-exist with other races, the selfish desire for our own existence triumphs any other emotion that could have resulted in some compassion. I thought of what I did every day, trample upon that object without even understanding the significance of what I had done. I trampled upon the lives of children, of parents, of families, all to gain some satisfaction from meaninglessly opening the fridge and wasting electricity, a habit which we have now mastered. Perhaps I didn’t intentionally destroy the lives of many people; perhaps my act was similar to that of an elephant walking, which annihilates millions of ants with each step. But if this was the case, then what separated us from elephants.

However, as I attempted to jump down from the parapet onto the beach, an exercise which was to prove futile after several tries due to this entangled branch, something hit me. Perhaps if I rushed to my room and attempted to remedy the situation, either from some misguided notion of self-righteousness which lay dormant for all these years or from the guilt which had overcome me, I might be able to make the lives of those millions slightly better. I suddenly changed my course and headed over to my room at a speed which could have made quite a few snails proud, but just as I was about to reach my room I glimpsed at something from the corner of my eye. As I saw what lay on the floor, all the noble thoughts, though whether they emerged from noble stems is a debateable topic, which made me trudge across to my room, vanished. And it was then, or rather quite some time later, that I truly realised the greatest error of humanity.


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