Tragedies beyond borders

“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” Victor Hugo.  It is time, can you feel it?  We are sophisticated, industrialized, baptized in technology.  We have more ways to communicate than we can even handle, we have advanced solutions to disease and degeneration, and our gadgets practically run themselves.  We have overcome civil wars and slavery, come far in the establishment of equal rights, and come together in the face of the incomprehensible tragedies of September 11th.  The time is past due to begin recognizing our interconnectedness as human beings, as equals.  We cannot move forward as a nation or a species until we begin to take responsibility for our actions.  The ends cannot justify the means.

It is impossible to comprehend the atrocities that go on behind the scenes all in favor of oil production, control and power.  We extract large levels of oil from countries like Venezuela yet we give them no compensation.  Oil spills have killed their food supply, their animals, their lands, and we have done nothing to help.  We are going about our business turning a blind eye and a cold shoulder.  How do we justify allowing people to suffer in this manner?  We play patriot games and big brother by waging war in other countries all in the “defense of the weak,” yet we allow these other tragedies to go on without the slightest concern.  It makes me wonder what our priorities really are.  We exploit the masses that are illiterate and lacking influence, who believe that they have no control over the situation.  When speaking out, they are beaten and shot at, or ignored and lied to.  They have an external locus of control, they believe that the world is so strong and they are helpless.  “This is all related to the cult of oil” (Margonelli 149).  We barely give it a thought beyond whether we want the Pepsi Big Gulp and Corn Nuts or Rock Star and Doritos.

How are the citizens supposed to take control or speak out for their rights when they are being ruled by a puppet master?  They are seen as livestock and property, their tragedies just collateral damage.  It does not matter that they live on cliffs in cardboard boxes having to throw their waste over the cliffs while their children starve to death—as the saying goes, all if fair in love and war, and oil right?  Their “faith in the system is so great, and so tragically unfulfilled, that it is almost a religion” (Margonelli 169).  What has this system done for them?  What have we done for them?  There is more to life than Gucci, Apple and Hummers.

When are we going to have respect for each other and that which sustains us?  Just because our past is riddled with the need and obsession for power without regard to the damage done in the pursuit of it, does not mean that we cannot shift our focus.  We can cease valuing the ivory tower without concern for our human obligation.  There will be an initial investment, but the rewards will pay dividends.  We are one of the most privileged nations yet our national level of happiness is dismal.  Maybe we would experience a shift if we were to make efforts to help other nations experience a higher standard of living, teaching them to fish rather than throwing them a bone here and there.  We are accountable for the miscarried and deformed children, the sick, the dying and the hungry.  We have the means to make significant changes in the lives of many, bothwithin our own borders and beyond.  “Violence attracts violence, peace attracts peace.”  This came out of the mouth of one of the citizens in Nigeria.  With their lack of resources and formal education, this man had more wisdom and true intelligence than the majority of our citizens.  I strive to think and live according to the knowledge of this man.  We all should.  Adopt awareness, inspire action.  Be the change.

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