Pay Your Blessings Forward

Don’t Just Give Thanks. Pay Your Blessings Forward

This is how evil prevails: when good men and women do nothing.
By doing nothing, by remaining silent, by being bystanders to injustice, hate and wrongdoing, good people become as guilty as the perpetrator.
There’s a term for this phenomenon where people stand by, watch and do nothing—even when there is no risk to their safety—while some horrific act takes place (someone is mugged or raped or bullied or left to die): it’s called the bystander effect.
Don’t turn away from suffering.
Refuse to remain silent. Take a stand. Speak up. Speak out.
It’s never too late to start making things right in the world. So this year, don’t just give thanks. Pay your blessings forward.

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No American Should Stand for the Way We Wage War

No American Should Stand for the Way We Wage War

According to a 2017 report from Eyewitness Media Hub, if you are exposed to distressing experiences, even when not physically present, your brain has the capacity to produce symptoms of distress similar to those you would feel if you had indeed been there. This is sometimes called vicarious trauma, which is acquired through working with people who have experienced trauma, hearing their stories, and becoming a witness to the pain and suffering that they continue to endure. Common signs of vicarious trauma include experiencing lingering feelings of anger, rage, and sadness. In some more extreme cases, intense exposure to such subject matter can lead to anxiety, stress, burnout, and PTSD. A recent survey of 346 human rights advocates found that 19% of them indeed did appear to have PTSD, or at least symptoms long associated with that syndrome; 15% seemed to be experiencing depression; and 19% reported burnout. Curiously enough, such rates are comparable to those found among first responders and even combat veterans. Additionally, perfectionists who viewed their efforts, no matter how fervent, as ineffective exhibited even more severe symptoms of depression.
Still, a majority of my day is spent bearing witness to the pain, fear, and terror that America’s actions have been causing across the Greater Middle East and North Africa. I know perfectly well that I can’t necessarily change any of the outcomes there, since I’m not the one directing those strikes or making the rules. However, I also know how important it is to hear directly from those impacted, so I’ll continue to do whatever I can to make sure the stories of the victims of America’s seemingly endless wars are told.
Or at least I can try (and cry).

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