On Raising Awareness.
“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness,
and discipline,and effort, and being able truly to care about other
people and to sacrifice for them, over and over,in myriad petty
little unsexy ways, every day.”
We tend to believe (or like to believe) that we live in a civilised, globalised and greatly developed (at least, technologically) world. But is it this way? At this moment, one can say that the world is divided between the rich and the poor (where the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest), the peaceful places are overshadowed by warzones and togetherness is not driven by love but by fear. People fight, people die, people go missing – is this a civilised globalised and developed world? I guess not. This is why, in this article I am not going to talk about the world as I like to see it, because not even for an optimist or a positivist like me life is always ‘pink’. It is true though that for people who live outside the conflict zones life might be as pink as it gets, but sometimes it’s good to analyse the actualities and look at different sides of the story. For this reason, today I am not going to go into political issues and reasoning behind the conflicts, but I am going keep the subject related to travel and how it helped me open up my level of awareness on different issues.
‘World Cup 2014 – Brazil’. Most of us are probably very familiar with this excerpt as it seems to be everywhere on the news and social networks; plus the constant reminder the Google logo gives us when we go on the Internet. And this is not the only thing that caught my attention in the past few months in the virtual world. In the wake of the 2014 World Cup, preceded by the Ukraine conflict, the never-ending and developing Iraq War, the kidnapping of the over 200 Nigerian girls, we cannot close our eyes and act like nothing is happening. So, some of us might want to get informed. And what is the easiest way to get informed nowadays? Yes, the Internet. But, I tend to believe that there are good sides and bad sides in getting informed about global issues on the Internet and from the online Media. Why? Here are two of the reasons why I think raising your awareness online can be misleading.
First of all, when we hear unexpected information on the news or when our social network feed is filled with recent events from around the world, we tend to look a bit more into detail, if we are interested in the topic. So, we go on the Internet and we start to gather information. Though, it should be a known fact by now that the online environment tends to be biased, meaning that it might offer a wrong or exaggerated portrayal of the problem. Therefore, if one chooses to get his information only from the Internet, he/she might be misled. Secondly, probably since the creation of societies, there tended to be a divide between the West and the East or the North and the South. And these N-S/W-E divides are also present online. Now, given the divides, the news might offer different or even contradictory portrayals of the issues. Which story is the true one then? None might be 100% accurate, as each side wants to be triumphant.
So, how can one get better informed when the Media or the Internet fail to be objective? Here are two of my solutions on how can we raise our awareness without informing ourselves only from the online world.
First, having the opportunity to change places for the past few years, I came to the conclusion that discussing the existing issues with people that come from the conflict zones is much more helpful than only subscribing to what the press is telling us. Talking to a person that has lived/is living in a conflict zone, might give you information that is more accurate and objective than the mainstream one. Second, interacting with people from all around the world and sometimes discussing the recent events, allowed me to hear the different opinions on the subjects and look at what is happening from other perspectives. This made me realise that there are not only two sides of a story, but several ones that are likely to be more reliable than the common ones.
All in all, travelling or simply having the opportunity to interact with people from other sides of the world can’t stop the wars or hunger, but it might help you raise your level of awareness and find out more about what is happening in the world, from different perspectives. Even if the Internet allows us to get acquainted with global issues, their portrayal might be misleading and easily dismissed by other current issues about celebrities and the like. Once again, people need to raise awareness, not ignorance, so that we can ‘make love not war’.
Until next time, open your eyes and your ears to what the world has to tell you!
By:Ioana – Alexandra Tache #TeamSkies