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Day 8: We Could Be the Devil, and We Already Are

By Zilong Wang

As we travel through the southern states in America, we are greeted with the famous southern hospitality. We are almost surprised by the warm welcome in Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, etc. At the same time of being thankful to people’s niceness, I can’t help thinking: how could these people be the same mob that had ruthlessly beaten the Freedom Riders and burned buses in 1961, not to mention the lynchings and the whole institution of racial crime? In the end, the Southerners are also people who love their families and care about their children. How could this love be translated into cruelty and hatred to some other people?

To answer this question, let us fast forward our clock by 50 years. Now we all think of ourselves as pretty nice people, but this is what our grandchildren will ask us in the year 2061: “Grandpa, how could you have damaged our earth so badly fifty years ago, and leave me with no choice and no future? How could you have allowed your government to kill so many people in countries far, far away in name of democracy? Don’t you know that every time you fill the gas tank of your SUV, you are overdrafting our energy future, and fueling your car with the blood of thousands of soldiers and millions of innocent people in the Middle East?” In fifty years, our grandchildren will look at our life and society in 2011 with shock and disgust: shocked by our consumerism and indifference to the environment, disgusted by our self-righteousness and inaction. Our grandchildren will ask, “Grandpa, how come you did nothing to help despite the repeated warnings from so many people?”

Faced with our grandchildren’s questions, what will be our answer? Will we regret, will we be shamed? Are we going to be the devil that we are condemning now? Are we already the devil that we are trying to fight?

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2 responses to “Day 8: We Could Be the Devil, and We Already Are”

  1. Simran

    16th May, 11

    HI Zilong,

    I love this blog post and agree, what will our grandchildren say to us for letting conflicts go on and plundering our environment. What is the solution though? What do you think that your generation can do to change these trends? Is there anything or any one thing that you would encourage people to do now to have a better future?

  2. Zilong

    17th May, 11

    Hi Simran, thank you for your message. One very concrete thing we could do now is to learn a foreign language. A different language provides a different world view and introduces a new set of philosophy. It would be especially helpful to learn a language from a totally different culture: Arabic, Chinese, Persian, Hindi, etc.