Sunday, January 16, 2011

Should we Care?

You wanna know what I care about the most: me.  I care about myself first probably, I mean come on, let's be real.  My family comes in a very close second, I feel like I care about them more than myself, but I cannot guarantee that.  And then I care about my friends.  Are you kinda the same?

If anything bad happens to any of these people, especially me, I'm upset.  Why I should care about one more natural disaster or famine etc. in a foreign country sometimes bewilders me.  Sometimes I just don't care.

Does that make me devil-like, or just human-like?

I don't want to be like this, I want to care more, but sometimes I can't stand how every single day there is something going on somewhere to somebody.  I want to take a break from the world and escape in my own bubble.  The bubble of my life, where my people are.

I'm sure there is a lot on your mind right now.  You may be reading this, talking on the phone, eating lunch and thinking of your plans for a weekend getaway all at the same time.  You are worried about bills and relationships and maybe even your own mortality.  Then you switch on the news...

There was a huge flood in Brazil.  420 people are dead.  Most likely you don't know any of those people. You sit through that and see that there are food riots in countries all across the world because the price of food has soared internationally.  So the question is, should you care?  Should you worry?  Why?  Do you change the channel to Real Housewives of Atlanta or do you watch in horror as Wolf what's his name on CNN tells you about mass devastation?

There are tragedies going on all around the world every minute of the day. How many are reported on and how many are ignored often determines whether we care or not.  But let's for a moment trust our news sources and decide, should we care about natural disasters in other countries? Should we care about unfair wars in other countries? Should we care about tyranny and poverty in other countries?

Well the sad thing is, when Katrina occurred, it seemed as though our own government didn't care enough about it to do enough and left many people in horrific situations.  But is Katrina more important than what happens in Brazil?  Did you notice that people all around the world were concerned about Katrina, yet how many Americans will be worried about world tragedies?

I mean, of course you are gonna try and protect and be concerned about your own home first.  America is my home and when something happens within it's borders I am more concerned than I would be if something happened in India, even though my cultural heritage comes from India.

But should I even care about countries that I have no associations with? Should I spend that extra minute worrying about the people in Sudan? How much worry can I fill my brain with before it explodes?

Well, there is the notion that we are only using like ten percent of our brain, some say it's an urban myth.  But if it's true, than we can think and worry about all kinds of things at the same time.  You can worry about your waistline and at the same second be worried about those in the world that have no food.  We are capable of a lot more than we think,

Also, we live in a world, not just a country.  The boundaries that we have created between our land and foreigners land is sort of made up, they are not naturally occurring boundaries.  Even just raising awareness by having a conversation or reading a blog about what happens in other counties helps.

We may or may not care about what happens in other countries, but you better believe that other countries care about what happens to us.  You will often find that foreigners know more about what is happening in this country than we do.  I noticed this when I went to India a few years ago.

I wasn't in India during any particular tragic event, I was simply confronted with severe poverty head on for the first time in my life.  I'm not just talking about people who don't have homes, but people who don't have limbs because Leprosy has spread in their poor neighborhoods.  I'm talking about people who walk around naked and sleep in tents on the side of the road. Small children with sad faces begged me for food and money.

I did care when I was confronted with it.  I did care for the short time that I was there.  However my relatives
who live there sort of stopped being shocked by it, they didn't care as much as I did.  They were desensitized as we are when we watch the news.  However this wasn't just the news for them, this was the situation in their backyards.

None of these poor people were my relatives, of course.  Of course I could plainly see that they were not one of us and I was not one of them.  But just to see that every day when I woke up in the morning made me a little more humble. It made me appreciate my life a little more.  It made me think about what I want to do with my life, that perhaps I should think about lifting at least a finger for another human being.

Although I sit here and do nothing for anyone really, and I'm concerned about myself first, I would hypothetically like to help battered women and children in India find refuge and education in order to recover and prosper.  I have no idea how I'm going to help make this happen but even having the thought, writing it down, and sharing it, helps I think.

I don't think it is only the responsibility of Americans to help the world, but we do owe the world something since we eat up like an enormous portion of the world's resources just by being alive and going to Starbucks.

Do you have to care about people suffering outside of our borders? You don't have to do anything.

It would be nice though, if we all did our small part.


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