Anouchka Grose: Before you condemn, ask: What would I have done?

Comment

Share
Related Topics

The very sad death of Yue Yue, the toddler knocked down in a hit-and-run accident in Foshan last week, has given the world yet another reason to ask itself whether wealth and progress necessarily make life better for human beings.

The creation of wealth seems to rely on dense clusters of people, which in turn attract more people who need to be where the money is. The outcome is a huge number of packed-in people who don't know each other, often competing for a slice of the pie. As people have been saying for quite some time now, this doesn't make for good neighbourly relations.

Foshan is a city transformed by China's economic boom. There are some people doing very, very well there, while others gather up the crumbs. In the aftermath of last week's accident, the Chinese press has been full of voices asking how it was possible that 18 people could walk past a bleeding two-year-old without appearing to bat an eyelid. Has the drive for economic expansion replaced any interest in non-pecuniary relationships?

For the rest of the world, some of which did its expanding some time back and is now sitting rather disappointedly in the middle of the mess, it's obvious that it's not only China that has a problem. Anyone living in a big city will surely know what it's like to walk past a body in a filthy sleeping bag and to wonder whether the person is alive or dead. Or to witness an incident on a moving train and hide behind your newspaper, too scared to get involved. It's not such a leap to imagine being caught on CCTV walking past an injured child.

Many of the 18 people in the video footage have reported being harassed in the wake of the accident. Some say they didn't see Yue Yue. Others claimed to be afraid it was a scam. But a far more common response to the story has been an anxious self-questioning: "Would I have done any better?"

It seems that a hateful, punitive response can only be given in bad faith. Perhaps you walked past a tragedy today and didn't see it – and simply had the good fortune not to be filmed. At least if we know we might have been one of those people, we can think about how we might do things differently in future.

Anouchka Grose is a psychoanalyst and author

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Riyadh is setting itself up as region’s policeman

Lina Khatib
Ed Miliband and David Cameron  

Cameron and Miliband should have faith in their bolder policies

Ian Birrell
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor