This week a very brave woman revealed, to the world, something she could have kept private. It possibly could have stayed unknown for some time; no one had found out about it during the months that she, and her family, have dealt with the decision and its outcome. She revealed it to the world in a hope to help and possibly save the lives of other women. This announcement should have been heralded with applause for her bravery, for her honesty and for the solidarity she showed with other women who also face the 'Big C'.
This woman was Angelina Jolie. With her family history,and the revelation that she carries a gene mutation that increased her chances of breast cancer to 87%, she decided to undergo a double breast mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. This has now reduced her chances of cancer to 5%. This would not have been an easy decision. The decision to make it public was even more brave, particularly in view of her celebrity and being famed for her curves.
Following the news of this decision, I held my breath. As with everything these days, social media is set off a-twitter with anyone and everyone giving their opinion. Me included, as is obvious by this post. I had hoped that humanity had some decency left. Just a little shred of compassion and non-narcissism from social media would not have been too much to hope, I would have thought, considering it is really none of our business anyway.
The early signs were promising. There was hope for the world yet... but I should not have spoken so quickly. News stories and blogs are now surfacing, revealing the self-absorbed culture we now live in. I have previously lamented on the direction the hive mind of the general populace appears to be taking, and these reported reactions and comments only serve to re-enforce what others are also observing.
This is the evil side of social networking, where trolls feel they can say anything they want (usually about people they don't even know!) without fear of consequences or caring for the feelings of others. It is a sad statement on what the world has become, when a brave woman tells the world of her decision to help other women facing or fighting the spectre of breast cancer, and the trolls surface, with some fans only able to think of themselves. She should be praised for something many people don't have these days - bravery and compassion for others. Badly done trolls. Bravely and wonderfully done, Ms Jolie.
"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving" (Dale Carnegie).
And then there is just a flicker of hope, enough to spark hope that all is not lost... Locally, a family lost their house and all of their belongings in a bushfire that scorched over 600 hectres of land. They have publicly declared that they consider it an accident and do not have any ill feelings towards the person who (legally) had a burn off that went out of control. The people of Adelaide have opened their hearts and their wallets to support the family.
In adversity, we see a true nature of a person's character.