Here in South Africa, there seems to be two active responses on social media to the shock of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One is a sense of outrage and sadness at the disruption and tragic loss of life. The other seems to be an almost flippant expression of gratitude for being far away ‘down south’ from the conflict zone.
But remember that in this globalised society nothing is ‘far away’. Surely, we learned that lesson in the Covid-19 pandemic? This is a deeply interconnected world, and the disruptive social and economic consequences of war will affect all – one way or another.
Especially with social media and the power of instant communication, we need now to reconsider the impact of our words – especially those thoughtless comments. If we genuinely seek wellbeing and peace for humanity, we will surely want to avoid the risk of adding fuel to the fire by seemingly taking grim satisfaction in someone else’s misfortune.
So this is a good time to review our daily words and deeds – in our workplaces, families and communities. How might we inadvertently still be contributing to the perpetuation of violence in society? Or do our words and deeds help to enhance peace and wellbeing?
Now, as we continue to watch the events in Ukraine with deep concern, let us re-evaluate our own personal contribution to the atmosphere we might be creating with what we say and with our actions. That is why the study of non-violent communication (NVC) has become a pressing need in this interconnected world – see: https://www.cnvc.org/
So, whilst understandably, we might feel that we have little individual influence to bring peace to a conflict zone like Ukraine, we do still have influence in our own communities. If we want peace, let us practice that daily in our local spheres of influence.