I was talking to my sister about our younger brother’s room. Besides it being a typical guy’s room with things all over the place, over the past weekend it had a very weird pungent odour. You could swear the smell was conjured up in some big pot with ingredients including stinky shoes; stinky socks; banana peels; meat bones and I don’t know what else. My three brothers are very close and they decided to cuddle up in my younger brother’s room this weekend and binge on movies.

What’s funny is that when I first entered the room the smell was so strong and so overpowering that you couldn’t ignore it. I kept complaining to them to a point that they got a bit irritated and gave me the ultimatum to either go or stay. But because I am a sucker for family time…I decided to just chill for a few minutes. Guess what? After about an hour of chill time, I found that the smell didn’t bother me anymore. What’s worse is that I couldn’t even smell that there was something wrong. When I narrated this to my sister, she called it the “immune syndrome” which simply means in our own words- “you have become unaffected”… and just laughed about it.

It’s a scary thing and this actually made me think about life. Isn’t it funny how we can be so passionate about certain injustices happening around us, when we looking from the outside…but as soon as we become part of that “environment” we become unaffected and we compromise far worse. I see this happening all the time; we see it with some politicians. How it can be that for someone who once stood tall and risked his/her life for human rights, turns around and becomes part of the very fabric that undermines human rights through corruption. I see it happening in organisations, you can have so much zeal when you take on a new role, passionate about making a difference. But because everyone around you “slacks”, gossips about the boss, you begin to lose your drive and find yourself part of the passion draining cliques.

I see it happening in churches, we witness Pastor’s consistently manipulate people and abuse them and they all use the name of God to do this. Yet we remain silent at some of these injustices for the sake of “peace”. Tell me, when people are stripped of their human respect and dignity; is that peace?

The compromise narrative is an interesting one. In the context of relationship building, we often hear that for human relationships’ to be healthy there has got to be a compromise. You have to do your part to ensure things run smoothly. But I’ve since learnt that sometimes compromise is not what you do, but what you don’t do. Every time we choose to turn a blind eye and don’t speak up against certain injustices we are perverting justice and the truth is not in us. I am distraught at how people in authority within the various factions of our society abuse people. Yet at the same time, I am not of the opinion that change solely lies with those in power. But we as a society united and taking action can influence change.

To be honest, I’ve lived with some level of guilt about not speaking up about certain things and this article is part of my contribution in kindling a debate around some of the social ills we witness all around us.