The tone of my Facebook page has changed in recent months. Less frequent are the jokesy ‘mumma-on-the-edge’ updates and more frequent are updates linking to tragic, and at times unbelievable, stories.
I wonder if my friends welcome my somber and impassioned updates? My posts might be a rude and confronting awakening in between the cat memes and food photographs.
But I can’t help it. This is what is taking up most of my headspace. Pulling me away from my simple and safe life to a place where I compare myself to others and try to imagine what it must be like to stand in their shoes.
And as I try to digest what I read I can’t help but want to yell: “Look! Look at what’s going on in the world everyone! What are we going to do about this?”
But as one of my friends rightly commented recently, it’s hard to know what we can do to help. How can we make a difference when the horrific events we are witnessing are the results of such complex and deeply set issues?
I think the one thing we can do to help is to simply know.
Know that a United Nations school sheltering Palestinian families during the recent outbreak of fighting was shelled killing 15 people, including children, as they slept.
Know that in Afghanistan last week 14 people were pulled from a bus, blindfolded and killed because they were Hazara – an ethnic minority despised by the Taliban.
Know these things are happening in the world so we can stand back and see what humanity looks like. So we can see the disparity between our lives and others.
Thank god for social media. For the way it opens up the flow of information beyond the hands of just a powerful few. For the way it empowers those who are suffering, to tell their story to the world. Earlier this week I was transfixed by the tweets apparently coming from a 16-year-old girl living in Gaza.
And thank god for the journalists who are brave enough to venture to these places. Fergal Keane was one of the first journalists to go to MH17’s crash site. I held my breath as I read his tweets.
I do not know enough about international relations. Being an inhabitant of a predominantly homogenous island located on the arse-end of the world probably doesn’t help. Which gives me more reason to read, and read, and read. And share, and share, and share.
Last week a friend posted this on my timeline.
A Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy (renouncing the nation’s dominant religion, Islam) was freed after intense international pressure. Pressure that was born from a collective voice of outrage. A collective voice that would have been non the wiser if her story hadn’t been told.
So I will keep reading and I will keep posting. And I will keep trying to understand the issues that lie behind some of the horrific stories that are so hard to comprehend against the backdrop of our randomly fortunate lives.