What you gonna do about it?

This is going to be a really confusing little post because - one, it is a difficult topic to untangle, and two, I really don’t feel qualified to arrive at an answer for it. As you are probably aware by now, writing is my way of achieving clarity, so that’s what I am aiming for today.

Ukraine is under siege. The world is watching. And that’s about all they are doing about it. The rich and affluent boys in class are stuck with the dilemma of moral principles v/s cheap electricity.

Then there’s social media.

I saw a compilation thread of some of the most unhinged takes on the situation. A 34-year old woman wants to be Putin’s mommy. Then there’s Gen Z kids making satirical “vladdy daddy” comments on Instagram. And if that’s not weird enough, there’s this –

Ukraine's official twitter account is shitposting as they get invaded.

Yeah, so, I don’t know how to feel about it.

Let me phrase the question I am struggling with – 

In an oppressive situation, what am I supposed to do?

Naturally assuming I am not the one being oppressed here. These are the follow-up questions –

  1. Am I supposed to do something? Can I do anything?
  2. Do I have to do something about every oppressive situation that I find out about?
  3. If I don’t do anything, does it reflect poorly on my morals?

See, for about all my adult life I have been one of those people who find out about some injustice somewhere in the world from Twitter and then get really worked up about it. I would then rant about it to those around me and remain annoyed for a couple of days.

Then at some point during Year 1 of Covid lockdowns, I started to lose my energies. Initially, I was quite outraged about the country not doing enough or not doing the right thing to curb the pandemic. As cases surged, so did my anxiety. And then cases continued to surge but somehow I stopped caring.

I felt defeated somehow? I am not sure.

Then the farmer protest began and I was incredibly bothered by it. I really wanted to go join forces with them and do my little bit. But I didn’t. I made excuses of family and whatnot.

But through it all, I continued my social media activism. Which is to say I would post a satirical take on my Instagram story every other day. Yeah, quite useless.

When the CAA-NRC protests were happening, I would go hang out at Shaheen Bagh. I’d do nothing there. I’d just stand. Or walk around. And some people would come talk to me. Most would tell me that they felt great about having a (visibly) Sikh man join the protest with them. I thought that’s an easy way to support – just show up and people seem to get a morale boost out of it. That felt good.

So during the farmer protest and the following Delta-wave in 2021, I wanted the same effect – an “easy” way to show my solidarity but through something of actual consequence.

Coincidentally, I had just switched jobs around that time and was getting paid well. So I started donating to Khalsa Aid, Hemkunt Foundation and whatever other fundraisers I would come across. I liked donating so much I would donate to random people’s fundraisers I’d come across on Twitter. Some boys lost their father in Covid and needed help continuing their education – donated. Some guy does investigative journalism in India and runs a fundraiser to support it – donated. Some people are serving hot cooked meals to marginalised families during the lockdown – donated.

It felt good. I was doing something of actual consequence, I thought.

And that has been my modus operandi since. I am one of the lucky few in the world who have easy access to money, so I use that privilege to support others without it.

But the problem arises when a situation like the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s forces occurs. There are so many contradicting thoughts –

  • It’s happening far away.
  • How do I even support the oppressed community from so far away? All I have is some money and the exchange rate is going to make it insignificant.
  • There are dozens of other such ongoing invasions in the world.
  • There’s tons of oppression happening in our own country. In my own community in fact.
  • People who go around outraging over every such situation are weird.
  • People who don’t outrage over everything are engaging in “selective outrage” and are thus idiots.
  • People who don’t care about such crises have their heads stuck up their butts and reek of privilege.
  • You only have one life and if you spend that outraging over everything… why?
  • People of privilege who don’t speak to power in favour of the marginalised are complicit in their oppression.

I don’t know how to feel about it.

I don’t know what to do about it.

What are you gonna do about it?

Send thoughts. Email / text.

P.S. Shoutout to My Buddy Karan yet again for –

P.P.S. Shoutout to █████ for –

What do you say when people try to act like you? Gogue in Vogue.


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Last modified: Feb 27, 2022