Editorial: what matters most is a heart to help

Justiitministeeriumis anti üle Kodanikujulguse auhinnad.

PHOTO: Erik Prozes

Since 2004, Estonia is in the beautiful habit of pinning badges of honour on brave people who have caught crooks, helped along by fearless action, prevented a crime or assisted a victim. Thus, today’s Postimees covers acts of chivalry by those decorated this year round. Thought provoking stories – what may have happened, if... Strangers saved, own lives laid on the line.

Good to note those in need of helping hand, even in situations somewhat mundane. Like when one beholds a fellow fallen in a crowded street – better stop and see what’s the matter. And while one may feel there’s plenty of others around, people looking more competent and stronger, we’d better find out if anybody has already taken action.

What’s the use of moaning about «us Estonians being such and such» and rather the unfeeling, unkind and uncourageous sort? The abstract «others» can never be changed. We are the ones who can make a difference, even if starting by imagining what all we would do if the need arises. What matters most is a heart to help. Also, Estonians may not be all that calloused, as seen in those this year decorated.

Thirdly, the dilemmas and paradoxes of helpfulness are the common human issue, not anything Estonian etc. So let’s wise up. Common knowledge being: as a rule, people tend to shy off from somebody flat on the ground. To prove this, all kinds of shocking material and tested evidence abounds. Be a street as busy as a street can be, most will be passing the fallen one by – sure, somebody else will see to him/her with the crowd present...  On the sunny side: once the initial one stops to say what needs to be done, others promptly offer their time and energy. Someone simply needs to bring forth the «inner helpers». Just think – you might be the miracle worker.

Wonderful with the justice ministers in Estonia, year in year out, recognising the brave ones. Firstly, this is to encourage the definite people: you didn’t do this in vain, we Estonians are grateful. Secondly, this symbolically urges others to follow suit, making life safer for us all.