The Good Part about Not Helping Others

December 3, 2012 | Print Print |

Kabir Vega Castellanos

Despite being a good student, Kabir was thrown out of high school for refusing to cut his hair in the required military style.

HAVANA TIMES — Just like in elementary school, junior high and last year in senior high school, I feel alone. Apart from my friend who’s also engaged in this long struggle against an absurd prejudice, no one has joined in to support us.

Sometimes I even feel ashamed of the cowardice shown by my classmates. At the same time I think they deserve what they’re getting, since they don’t like having to cut their hair even it its already short.

They’re required to keep their hair shorter than the “width of a finger,” as our principle literally says; otherwise they won’t be allowed to come to school either.

But this shouldn’t surprise me. It’s what I’ve always seen: people keeping their distance, out of fear.

I remember one time in junior high when everyone was complaining about our physical education teacher.

To keep us in control he would humiliate people and be extremely rude to all of us students. Everyone in the class complained about him, but when my mother went to the school with me to find out about more this, nobody was on our side.

In my first year of high school, my classmates didn’t seem like the most obedient bunch. We argued a lot with our teachers and the administrators. But the real problem arises when it comes time to make a demand as a group. One person might decide to explain the reason for protesting, but then nobody will stand behind them.

Maybe this is due to the way we’re educated, even in the home. Perhaps it’s because of how we’re taught disunity in school. I don’t know.

I remember when I was a child I used to try to support others if they were in trouble. It was a natural reaction. But after never receiving help when it was me who needed it, I gradually started acting like everybody else.

I understand that if you see a problem and distance yourself from it that can make you feel safer. But what happens when you’re the one in trouble? …or if all of us are affected?

When I think about all this, I realize that from what I’ve seen in the movies or what’s told in history, things have always been this way. But if I could choose, I’d still find reasons to help others, like I did in elementary school.

I’d rather not accept the solution of “everyone for themself.”


What's your opinion?

  • JennyC

    Kabir,

    You conclude that you’d rather not accept the solution of everyone for himself. Don’t do it! Don’t accept such a selfish, shallow way to live. I think that path becomes narrower and narrower as time goes by.

    Be strong and follow your heart. Gradually, you will learn that you are not alone in living this way, in caring for others. Good people do step forward and help each other, even when it’s not easy. That, in the end, is what makes the world better.

    Mahatma Gandhi famously said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” He never gave up doing what he felt was right and helping others.

    Be true to yourself. Do what you know in your heart is the best way to live. You are not alone in wanting people to support and help each other more.

    Supporting you in spirit,
    Jenny