Editorial | Community stands as one in time of need

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We live in a world where there are so often stories of indifference, and even ignorance and neglect when it comes to our neighbourhoods and communities. People at times don’t seem to care – isolating themselves from the worries and apprehensions of others, even when it should concern them. But there are moments when that picture is turned on its head, and true humanity shines through and wins the day. There was such an instance this week – for more than 24 hours in fact – which demonstrated unequivocally that no matter how detached we may think we have become, there exists compassion in abundance.
With the disappearance for more than an entire night and day of three little boys playing outside not far from where a mother was working, fears for the toddlers’ fate and chances of survival grew with each passing minute. But their panicked parents and relatives were not alone. Hundreds of residents joined them, and a large contingent of police, emergency services and search-and-rescue teams in a frantic mission to find them.
It went on for hours into the night and then again at first light – covering and scouring an area of dense bush.
All the time, the anguish of their loved ones was deepening.
It was a superhuman effort that ended joyously when first one, and later the remaining two children were found 7km away – dehydrated, exhausted but otherwise unharmed.
One shudders to think what would have happened if they had had to endure another night without shelter, water and warm clothing.
This is not a time to question how safe the boys were in their playing environment – we all know how, at their age, no less than a hawk eye in overseeing children will do.
In that there is a lesson. But there is also another – and that is how, when faced with the task of doing whatever needs to be done for our fellow beings in their time of need and desperation, we stand as one.
People at times don’t seem to care – isolating themselves from the worries and apprehensions of others, even when it should concern them. But there are moments when that picture is turned on its head, and true humanity shines through and wins the day.
There was such an instance this week – for more than 24 hours in fact – which demonstrated unequivocally that no matter how detached we may think we have become, there exists compassion in abundance.
With the disappearance for more than an entire night and day of three little boys playing outside not far from where a mother was working, fears for the toddlers’ fate and chances of survival grew with each passing minute.
But their panicked parents and relatives were not alone. Hundreds of residents joined them, and a large contingent of police, emergency services and search-and-rescue teams in a frantic mission to find them.
It went on for hours into the night and then again at first light – covering and scouring an area of dense bush.
All the time, the anguish of their loved ones was deepening.
It was a superhuman effort that ended joyously when first one, and later the remaining two children were found 7km away – dehydrated, exhausted but otherwise unharmed.
One shudders to think what would have happened if they had had to endure another night without shelter, water and warm clothing.
This is not a time to question how safe the boys were in their playing environment – we all know how, at their age, no less than a hawk eye in overseeing children will do.
In that there is a lesson. But there is also another – and that is how, when faced with the task of doing whatever needs to be done for our fellow beings in their time of need and desperation, we stand as one.

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