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As The World Turns

posted by Russ, February 23 in uncategorized with tags ,

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The world is a crazy place.

Right now North Africa and parts of the Middle East seem poised to explode. Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, Libya, Saudi Arabia — all undergoing revolutions where the people are calling for change. For many people in these areas there are no luxuries, they are fighting for their freedoms.

Further south on the continent of Africa, crisis seems to be the norm. Civil wars seem to be waging in one country or another fairly regularly, and once in a while the Western media cares enough to show something about it. Recently on my mind are blood diamonds and child soldiers, though from what I have come to understand the “blood diamond” issue in Sierra Leone has been handled to an extent. As I understand it, the mining continues, but the miners are paid wages, meager though they are likely to be. I am not certain of blood diamond existence in other countries, and it seems as though children are still being recruited as soliders in places.

And it’s not just Africa that is troublesome. Residents in other countries around the world are plagued by human rights’ crises and violations. And if it’s not revolution or human rights, it’s Mother Nature. Every few years someting seems to happen, whether it’s a major earthquake, hurricane, tsunami or other natural disaster, it seems that something strikes somewhere and people’s creations are reduced to rubble, and people are left in need just the same, and the struggle continues.

As if this all were enough, there is the continual destruction of the environment at our own hands, especially as the appetite of the Western world becomes what the developing world strives for. And just for good measure catastrophes like the BP Gulf oil disaster happen periodically which briefly enrage us, before we slowly resign to the destruction once more, and carry on like it never happened.

And at the end of each day, most of us sit in our offices, doing trivial work for a paycheck, making a decent living. And as much as I wish and want, I’m not much different. I wish I could look at these things and laugh, be able to say, “Not me”, I’m not part of that, what I do means something and I am making a difference. But how can we? Knowing that at this very moment thousands (maybe millions) of people are being exploited, or perhaps they fighting for their lives or their freedoms, or toiling in hot sun doing forced labor, what can we do? How can we reconcile that into our little boxed lives?

Pondering the triviality of doing work that doesn’t serve the greater good, but is merely a vehice to generate profit and satisfy some materialistic desires is a perplexing thing. Knowing that at the end of the day, the work we are doing could go away, and there would be nothing left. Knowing that all that time spent could be spent building something better, especially with all the need in the world, is in times of other’s crises a hard thing to bear.

As these major events are making headline news, the struggles and triumphs of oppressed people are finally becoming heard. It is amazing, and I wish there was a way to feel what these people are feeling. In a way I wish I knew that struggle, simply so I could feel the triumph. To know that something is so incredibly important that I would give anything for it. This is not to say I am not grateful for what I have. It is a great feeling to have security, to make a good salary, to be lucky that my issues and struggles are trivial. I suppose I’d just like to think all of these terrible things can yield something positive, that for all the struggle that maybe just this once, lessons will be learned.

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Originally posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 5:18 AM .

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