4:23 PM

Defending the indefensible

There is a video out there making a lot of waves. (I am not posting this video, I saw it by accident, did not know the content, and now I am having nightmares about it. I urge you to not view this video.) In this video a young girl is playing in a street in China. A driver in a van hits her, stops as she is under his car and then continues to drive over her a second time then flees. It is caught on security video. Then people pass by ignore her as she bleeds and struggles for life. Finally her mother rushes over and finds her and carries her away. Reports is that she is now in stable condition in the hospital.

There is a global uproar about the behavior of the driver and the citizens who did nothing. There is a lot of chatter about how “they” could have so little regard for human life. I have heard this accusation from adoptive parents, my own coworkers and of course the public at large. This assumption that something so terrible could only happen over there where “they” (read: uncivilized barbarian comies) could allow this to happen. Only they could be that uncivilized.

I am never going to defend those individuals who made those choices to ignore a hurt child and especially not the one who hurt her in the first place. BUT. I find myself in the position of needing to defend China. Firstly the legal system is vastly different; there can be extreme consequences to citizens who try to get involved. http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/news16675.html

Also this keeping to one’s self mentality comes from all the abuse that occurred during the cultural revolution where everyone was asked to watch and report on the behaviors of their neighbors, the results a witch hunt that took a civilization to its knees. So needless to say, the social norm is different, and the (non- existent) support of the legal system reflects that.

Still, taking that into account not helping the child is indefensible.

There is another story of an indefensible act I know, a story of a murder. This murder was oddly enough 2 years ago yesterday. Two years to the date that I unintentionally see this video of this little girl. This was the murder of my childhood friend. Who was attacked on the streets of Toronto, and then brutally run over by his attackers in their SUV. It is on tape. There were several witnesses, but most have never come forward. No one intervened, no one took note of the license plate while the occupants of the vehicle beat him up. No one in this story had any cultural conditioning or valid fear of authority as reasoning behind their lack of action. I guess they were just too scared. And I am not sure if put in the same situation I would have been fearless enough to have done anything to change the outcomes of that night. I like to think I am brave, but… I am humble enough to know that being in that situation is more paralyzing then you might think.

Follow up stories to the video of the little girl report that the driver of the vehicle is in custody, and the little girl is recovering in hospital. So at least in China there is going to be some justice. Nothing so kind has been given to the family of my friend. There are still no leads, and no witnesses coming forward, the case is at a standstill.

This is not the first time I have struggled with the need defend China. It is complex because underling racism and general misunderstanding regarding the world outside of North America bubble to the surface at moments like this, in people who I generally think are good, kind, smart people. I am just disheartened at how quickly every one turned on and judged an ENTIRE country because of this video. It is maybe partially China's fault that this happened, but things like this happen every where in every country, there are humans who do awful things to others. We are not immune, we are not better. I think China needs to improve it's human rights. But I think Corporate America is maybe equally but differently raping it's citizens too. I think humanity has a long way to go still in every country in every race.

I want to see change in China’s human rights; there are many things I wish could be different. Here is the kicker, if they were different, I would not be getting a daughter.

One of my favorite authors, Tom Robbins, discussed the theme of good and evil. Specifically how one cannot exist without the other. The world is kept in balance by an equal and opposite reaction to every action. I think this is the closest reasoning I have found to explain why these horrible things happen, even to good people. Because somewhere out there a equally amazing thing is happening. A butterfly affect of sorts, or a universal balancing act.

How can I defend the indefensible acts? How can I teach my child to be proud of her self, all the parts of her? How can I explain the chain of political and cultural events that lead her to be mine? How do I prepare her to be the one who feels the need to make the world understand that it’s just not that simple?