Every once in a while, human beings rally together.
They do this regardless of colour, creed, country, race and all those other nice barriers we have set up to divide ourselves into groups. They do this spontaneously, as though heeding a common call to action that they call can hear. They do this often in response to strife and grave threats to human freedom and equality.
The terrorists, if they’re any good, must heed this. The farther humanity is pushed into a corner, the more likely it seems to be to discover its noble side.
Witness the great outpouring of protests following the Charlie Hebdo incident, and the current situation in Syria, and the great wall of opposition against ISIS. Thanks to social media, it is possible now to see first hand what the optimists of the world had always told us – that human beings, most of them, at most times, are inherently good.
Another incident that happened recently drove the nail home even deeper. Optus, the telecommunications provider in Australia, brought out a set of advertisements targeted at non-English speaking residents of the country in select places (where the population of such consumers had been shown to be over 10%) where the copy was written in a different language, not English. A few called out to their Arabic customers; a few others spoke to Chinese and Vietnamese people.
This is not even the good part. Many Australian native English speakers opposed this move on Optus’s Facebook page, demanding to know why Australia, a native English speaking country (which it isn’t), was pandering to non-English speakers. The language used, as you can expect from people blinded by xenophobia, was crass and crude.
But then, when all seemed lost, out came Dan.
Who is Dan, you ask? Well, we don’t know for sure. But it isn’t important. What is important is what he has done in his capacity as Optus’s social media manager. He replied to each and every outraged comment with great patience, firmness and erudition, pointing out the rationale behind Optus’s strategies and spreading the message of peace and universal brotherhood.
And as it often happens, once someone shows the way, people follow. Support for ‘Dan’ has been flowing ever since his first messages started appearing on Optus’s page, and they have never stopped. Messages of appreciation, declarations of love, proposals of marriage – you name it, Dan has received them all for this thoughtful responses to racist rants.
It is when incidents such as this happen that we, here at Made in India, feel hope swell within our hearts. It is often a cliché that peace and non-violence (in action, speech, thought) do not ‘work in today’s world’, but Dan’s messages have shown is that everyone – we mean everyone good – likes a nice guy who is firm about his convictions. And that in an argument, it’s not always the loudest that get heard the most.
We’d like to thank Dan from the bottom of our hearts for reminding us these lessons. Good on ya, Dan! More power to you, mate. You’re a true Australian hero.