The past couple of years has been hard, for all of us. It feels like it is one thing after another: the Australian bushfires, climate emergencies, Covid, rising bills and now, of course, the situation in Ukraine. When this happens – when we are faced with what seems like a neverending stream of bad news and uncertainty, it is very easy to start feeling apathetic.
When there is a crisis, we sometimes start to disengage. There seems like there is no movement towards a solution. Just look at the pandemic. During the first lockdown, we all complied. As time went on, and we faced lockdown after lockdown, restriction after restriction, vaccine after vaccine, we became disillusioned and apathetic. I was one of them; the numbers seemed horrific but as time went on, I became numb to them. Instead of them being the absolute tragedy that every single death was, they became numbers. It became easier to deal with, not thinking of them as people, but just a statistic. It’s a narrative that requires less emotional labour and less energy.
The truth is that when we are bombarded with so much negativity, we can all become hardened to its constant presence. It becomes almost normal; something we are aware of in the background but not something that has the importance that it should.
This is my fear of the invasion of Ukraine. It is showing no signs of abating, and there is no resolution in sight. If it continues to rage on, people will become apathetic. They will not take notice of the horrific images the death tolls and the stories that come out of there, and they will stop taking action. When people stop caring, when apathy kicks in, the other side wins.
It’s when conspiracy theories start kicking in, and alternative narratives, that do not reflect what is really happening. I’ve already seen it on social media; people making comments about how it’s handy this has happened after Boris et al partygate, how we need something else to maintain ‘the new world order’ now Covid has slowed down. It’s bollocks, of course, but I guess it can be easier to latch onto that than face the truth of what is happening in our world.
We can’t start becoming apathetic. We have to keep our eyes open to what is going on and feel it. Sure, if it gets too much, turn off the news, cut back on your social media use. But acknowledge that it is happening and that you are fortunate that you can temporarily turn a blind eye.