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The bar is low

  • Published at 05:00 pm March 3rd, 2017
  • Last updated at 03:13 pm March 6th, 2017
The bar is low

Outside my building, a couple of feet away, there’s this big heaping pile of rubble and garbage that’s just sitting on the curb of the pavement.

It’s an absolute eyesore of the highest magnitude, in a street that is relatively clean and almost always noise-free, both visually and aurally.

No one bothers to do anything about it, it just sits there, collecting all the bits and bobs of refuse that passers-by nonchalantly throw its way.

If you were expecting this to be some kind of elaborate metaphor, sorry to disappoint. I just wanted to complain about that particular bit of mess. Hopefully this teaches you a lesson on having expectations.

I think it’s high time we came to grips with the fact that the human quality we know as “empathy” is a lie.

It’s fake news circulated by socialists who have fooled themselves into believing they give a hoot about anything other than their self-righteous indignation. It’s all about “me” -- “I” am at the centre of my life, and, hence, the centre of the world.

And no one would have it any other way.

But none of it matters in the end -- problems and protests are a-dime-a-dozen these days, as easily adopted and disposed of as a bag of chips, piling up and piling up until someone notices the stinking heap and gets inspired by its sheer rottenness

No one really cares if a hike in the price of gas affects their neighbour or their co-worker, even as they march across the street to protest it. No one really cares if a bill that makes child marriage all but legal was snuck past them, even with all the heavy-handed hand-wringing on the part of people who know what the hell they’re talking about. And the less said about illegal aliens not being given the refuge they desperately need, the better.

These issues affect us all, but “all” is not what our brains are hard-wired to think about, and that, of course, applies to governance as well.

Our country has been on a hot-streak of success as of late, I understand, and laws and policies have been carefully formulated and placed so that the delicate eco-system of our progress is not disturbed. It just sucks if you happen to be someone who lives below the poverty line, worse if you happen to be a woman to boot.

Greatness is usually achieved by standing on the shoulders of giants, but since there weren’t any giants around to give us a boost, we opted to do so by piling up and trampling over the miseries of the downtrodden.

But no one really cares, not if you’re human at least.

A woman protesting the gas price hike being dragged away by the fuzz, and a stray dog latched onto her clothing in a futile attempt to “rescue” her -- a photograph that has made rounds on the internet recently -- speaks volumes to that end.

When an animal that is prone to sniffing the anuses of its own kind and often even resorts to ingesting its own vomit and feces as sources of sustenance shows more empathy than anyone you know around you, you start to wonder just how low the bar has fallen for us -- as a nation most definitely, but, perhaps, also as a species.

But none of it matters in the end -- problems and protests are a-dime-a-dozen these days, as easily adopted and disposed of as a bag of chips, piling up and piling up until someone notices the stinking heap and gets inspired by its sheer rottenness.

And, for better or worse, that’s just the way it’s going to be for us -- at least until we all inevitably go under.

Rubaiyat Kabir is an Editorial Assistant at the Dhaka Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moreanik.