All that evil needs to win is that the good people do nothing, wrote Edmund Burke.
One way of describing the work of vegan activists is to say that we try to stop people from turning away. Stop them turning away from the injustice, the pain, the suffering, the killing.
Animals, if they could express their needs, would want us to look, to feel, to witness. To not turn away.
We hate it when we see people turn away. We want them to look. To face stuff. To bear witness to what is happening.
Sure, there are people who will be entirely indifferent to suffering. But I don’t believe that’s a majority, even though it may look like that.
What helps me deal with our whole society turning away is one realization: that for many people, their reason to turn away is not that they don’t care. The opposite is true: many turn away because they care.
Because they care, because they feel, because they empathize… they can’t keep watching.
Our task is not to call these people hypocrytical. Our task should be to kindle the flame of the compassion that they feel. Our task is to make sure that acting on their compassion becomes easier. That there is nothing in the way of acting on their compassion. We, as individuals as well as as a movement, should be facilitators of compassionate behaviour.
PS Here’s a powerful version of Pink Floyd’s On the turning away 🙂 (lyrics)