I just finished reading a news article about the highly volatile situation in the Middle East. Listing five different countries and explaining the individual sources of tension and conflict, the article was both informative and clear.
My issue lies with the four little words at the end-cap of each country: “why we should care.” Each little blurb describes how the situation links back to the U.S. and offers a salient quote from a U.S. public official.
To me, this is despicable. The “why we should care” has absolutely nothing to do with American involvement. It has nothing to do with the fact that some U.S. citizens might be volunteering to fight in the Middle East, or to consult, or whatever euphemism they use for our government’s sticky web of self-interest.
It has everything to do with the fact that we’re human beings. That reading stories about war, about civilian and children dying, should be horrific enough in its own right. It should spur us into action, not coax us into showing a spark of interest by forging a tenuous connection with victims of ongoing tragedy.
It’s like the high school guidance counselor rewarding you with a week off school for showing up for your mandatory 3 hours of community service. It is reinforcing the message that “you need a black and white connection to your home country of U.S. in order to feel even a mild interest in what’s happening elsewhere.”
Isn’t it enough that we’re part of this world? The blood, death and destruction we’ve written off as everyday parts of life no longer shock us the way that it should. We live in a culture-wide complacency that would be terrifying.. if we could even be bothered to care.
I am mixed race, including Israeli and Arabic. While I have a supremely personal connection to what’s happening now, I find both sides of my heritage condemned and blasted. According to the news media, I should be much more self-loathing. When I read the press coverage of the Middle East I feel heartbroken, because it’s always about apportioning blame. Who fired which rocket, who killed which civilian, who issued statements of denial first, etc.
You know what I’d like to see, in a perfect world?
Media coverage of the families of victims, of the first aid workers flying in from other countries to offer their help, to put themselves on the line for others. I’d like to see the people banding together to help out in the wake of crisis, visuals of the aftermath of bloodshed. I’d like to see U.N. meetings that are pro-active instead of declamatory.
I want us to feel, to hope and act, and not just because we’re told we’re supposed to for ________ reason. More than that, how can we possibly hope for peace in the Middle East if all we can fixate on is blame, doubt, and “why we should care?”