empathy

I have tagged 1 blog post with empathy:

Empathy from Afar: A Tranquil Morning and the Fiery Echoes of Odesa

A damp cityscape at sunrise, a man reading a paper, with haunting fire reflections in a coffee cup.
Kaia Thonul, Thursday, May 2, 2024, 09:25

Under the glossy grey robe of an early morning drizzle, the city moves in hushed whispers and the occasional rumble of a train. A pallid landscape stretches for miles under a heavy ceiling of clouds, drearily reminiscent of a forgotten canvas. Its hues, watered down to muted tones of melancholia. The day starts with the temperature balancing precariously on 9°C, a soft chill caressing the world outside the comfort of the train.

Nestled in my usual window seat, I am allowing the scenery to blur into a meaningless panorama as I delve into the pressing pages of a news article. My eyes trace the lines of alphabets faithfully spelling out a terrifying tale from halfway across the world. A place with a different language, culture, and landscape, yet bound by the universal connotations these letters form. A place now blazing in the crimson hues of an untimely fire: Odesa.

In an unexpected second, the tranquility of the morning is discomfortingly peppered with distant echoes of an explosion. Brick, steel, and fear dance together in the flames, aided and fueled by an indiscriminate rocket attack. A warehouse, inconspicuous yesterday, lays bare today, sent into notoriety overnight. The specifics, unspoken in the article, linger in my mind, an unformed cloud of thoughts. The heat of the fire spreads, carried by my imagination, filling the cold void left by facts unmentioned.

Emergency services surge forth, ready to collar the flames but are helpless in calming the tidal wave of dread and the fierce despair that will follow suit. The casualties - real people, with lives and beating hearts and dreams - are now a question mark. A tear in the fabric of this story still unfolding to the rhythm of the clock.

My part as the reader merely underlines my powerlessness, except to immerse in remote solidarity, feeling the edges of an aftermath I will never fully comprehend. Fire, so comforting in a Norwegian winter, becomes an unspeakable horror in someone else's context, painting a stark image I see only through the lens of black ink on newsprint.

Her stance on current social issues, so often spoken about, is now drowned in the ceaseless hum of the moving train. The imposed silence in this moment poses a harsh contrast to the loud screams in Odesa that go, seemingly, unheard. Unsure, introverted, and somewhat forlorn, I realize that empathy is too often a one-way street - with its lanes bordered by privileged ignorance. In our evolving world, empathy alone isn't enough. It begs to be reinforced by thoughtful actions, and not half-formed feelings detached from reality.

The arrival at Oslo server almost as a rude interruption, a heartless reminder of my world unaffected by distant tragedies. Another day begins, with a brewing coffee, a room full of words, and the familiar faces of academia; still, the forlorn words from miles away cling to my heartstrings. As I write, the Odesa fire finds a place in my blog, forever etched in my memories — a heart-rending paradox of the world's interconnectedness and its isolating apathy. The emptiness in the hearts of those affected, and even in those who merely observe from afar, lingers like a haunting melody.

Tags: world news empathy current events

Continue reading
 ❧