The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

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It's a short story by Ursula Le Guin. 

I really don't like the story, but a lot of people like it. It has a powerful message which I can't deny. It's just that I don't like Ursula's style of writing it.

It's a story of a city that was full of prosperity and every good thing of life for everyone. No one lacked, intellectually and materially. But there was a dark secret to their prosperity. Somewhere in the city, in a small dark basement room a child was imprisoned; forced to sleep, defecate and eat in the same tiny dark room. And as long as that child remained ill-treated and imprisoned in that  room, Omelas would remain prosperous. But if the child was treated better and like everyone other child, the entire city would collapse and everything that was good about it would be gone in a flash. So for the good of the whole land, that one child must suffer. 

Everyone knows about it and most feel sorry for the child. But the knowledge of the fact that all the prosperity, law and order, and the almost heavenly bliss they enjoy is as a result of the suffering of that one unfortunate child, no one was willing to do free the child. The deeply concerned ones would shake their heads in disgust and feel sad for sometimes, but they don't fight for the child's freedom.

Occasionally, one of the citizens of Omelas would suddenly decide that he couldn't bare it anymore  and would walk away from the prosperity and leave the city of Omelas.

Unfortunately, we face similar situations daily. But I want to ask you -- "What would you do if you lived in Omelas?"

You can read the full short story here, The ones who walk away from Omelas.


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