Societal Disconnect: Misplaced Attention and Priorities

Over the weekend, news of Syria using chemical weapons on its own people broke.  It wasn’t the first time this type of story came out of that country, but there are pictures and video of it now.  Dead women clutching their dead children with no apparent shrapnel or gunshot wounds on any of them.  There were no destroyed buildings, or signs of an explosion.  The evidence seems to point to Assad using chemical weapons on his own citizens.  On children.  Innocent children who never stood a chance against such atrocities, who should never have to fear or face them in the first place.SYRIA-CHEMICAL_2650175b

Syria wasn’t the biggest news on mainstream media or social networks though.  Also over the weekend, MTV hosted the Video Music Awards, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Miley Cyrus’ performance was…interesting.  It has been the topic of debate and conversation for two days now, with much of it surrounding the questionable behavior during the performance.  Weird tongue action, foam fingers touching places it shouldn’t, and the twerking happening every so often.  Her performance has been deemed inappropriate, disgusting, to sexual, and just plain trashy by most.  I will admit, I even through out some faux rage about it.  She is young, was a Disney star (Hannah Montana for you rock people), and is trying to show she’s an adult now with this type of show.  What about her young fans?  What about a little self-respect?

I used the word faux because what was I really upset about? It happens all the time, especially at the VMA’s.  You don’t watch that awards show for the awards, you watch it for the outlandish attire and questionable performances.  I was also  a 20-something once, and I did questionable things then too.  So why is there such surprise at Miley’s?  Why have we misplaced the outrage upon her, and not the true atrocities in the world, like Syria?

It really says something about our society, and the things we deem important when we choose to focus on the lives of celebrities instead of the lives on innocent children.  When was the last time you saw the face of a child living on our own streets on our nightly news?  Or the massacre of people in Sudan?  I can’t remember the last time.  I might see tiny blurbs of it here or there, but a lot of focus is on what Kim Kardashian’s body looks like post-baby, or what celebrity slipped up and did something stupid.  Social media is even worse, and a true look into what society is thinking about.   Trending today on Twitter is Miley Cyrus, twerking, and the VMA’s.  At the very bottom of the list is Syria, and even then it drops off the list off and on throughout the day. 

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How many of you can actually find Syria on the map?

Why do we care more about celebrities than children being killed, or the fact that Congress and the President keep taking vacations instead of passing a budget?  When did our attention shift so much that many people do not even know what is going on overseas?!  THAT right there is a real problem.  Our world is so small in comparison to what it used to be.  The internet connects us all every day, as well as global trading, and even seemingly small every day events can impact the world.  Our focus should be the real problems in our own country and abroad, like poverty, famine, and mass killings, not the life of a celebrity just because they are a celebrity.

We must be the change we wish to see in the world.  We can’t expect the violence to end if we do not even give two thoughts about it.  Washington wont change its tune and actions until we focus our attention on them, and force a change.  I just wish I knew why it changed, and where this misplaced attention will take our society one day.  I can’t think of anywhere good it could drop us.

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Stop Turning A Blind Eye

“You can turn a blind eye to people causing others to suffer greatly, believing God will choose who is worthy at the end of days, or you can bring down those who cause such horrendous chaos and God can still decide who had evil or good in their hearts.”

I am agnostic, so the part about God above means nothing to me, but the idea behind the quote is strong.  You can choose to stand by and watch atrocities happen, all while believing they will get their own against them in return, OR you can choose to stand up against the atrocities and those who perform them.  I choose the latter.

Recently, Russia has been in the news due to a law that was passed and upheld in regards to homosexuality.  From what I understand, the law was intended to prevent people from using homosexual “propaganda” against children, indoctrinating them and making them gay.  This has brought protests and supportive rallies for and by homosexuals, which has brought on arrests, violent public beatings, and shaming.  Carry a rainbow anything on your person, and you face the chance of an arrest, or being publicly beaten to a bloody pulp.  Support the gays, and you face the same consequence.  All in order to keep our children safe from the gay.

gayolympicsThe Olympics are coming up, and they are being hosted by Russia this time around.  Many are voicing their opposition to Russia’s laws and behavior, and fear for their own safety, or the safety of their countries athletes.  Many are even calling for a boycott of the Olympics in protest.  Russia has claimed they will not punish those from other countries who are gay, or support their fellow teammates who are gay, but come on.  Who really believes that?  They might not face criminal charges, but the fact remains that violence is being brought down on people who support, or who show they are gay.  Who wouldn’t fear walking down the street with a gay friend, or holding hands with their partner?

Stephen Fry was on Twitter this morning calling for a solidarity salute by the athletes, a salute to show Putin and his lawmakers that they stand by their fellow gay athletes, and that he can shove it up his ass (The hashtag is #sochisalute, in case you’re interested or have ideas).  In response, a fellow Twitterer has expressed that we should keep politics out of sports, and that we should confront the situation with more politics.  This person has also stated in a lengthy conversation with me that it’s just a law against propaganda against children, and that she has not seen proof that violence and oppression is occurring.  She’s Russian, and lives in Moscow, by the way.

Turning a blind eye.  Maybe she is doing it because the news in Russia chooses to not broadcast such atrocities, knowing full well they are horrible and should be condemned.  Maybe she really doesn’t have any idea this is going on, or maybe she is just part of the problem.  Knowingly turning a blind eye so that you do not need to stand up and fight against the problems is part of the problem.  Choosing to ignore the pain and suffering of those around you because it should be left to the lawmakers is part of the problem.  Standing by and not making your voice heard because the politicians and law enforcement can handle it is part of the problem.

How can anyone turn away from what is so obvious?  Maybe it’s a fear of getting beaten and arrested themselves, but even that shouldn’t prevent a person from speaking out.  Nothing was ever accomplished through silence.  Nothing was ever changed that way.

Stand up, use your voice, use any power you may have to stop the wrongs being forced on others.  Stand up to that bully threatening that kid on the playground.  Speak up and protest those politicians who are abusing their power to oppress others.  Stop those people beating up another just because of their skin color, or sexuality.  Even if you think it will change nothing, do it!  Awareness and a voice will bring light upon those performing the atrocities, and they will no longer be able to hide among the shadows.  They will be forced to be seen for all that they are.

Stop turning a blind eye, or you will become a victim yourself.

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#twittersilence

“Those Who Stand For Nothing, Fall For Anything”
– Alexander Hamilton-

I like to play around on Twitter.  A lot.  I mostly retweet things that I think are funny, or that I agree with.  I also get my up-to-the-minute news from Twitter, as it’s usually more accurate than the 24 hour news cycle.  It can also be a place for support, silliness, political discussion, and activism.

Today, there has been a trending hashtag called #twittersilence.  A woman by the name of Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran, if you wish to check her out on Twitter) has decided to use her platform by taking a stand against abuse on Twitter…by being silent.  Now, while I am sure her heart is in the right place, I have to wonder if it will really do any good.

Yes, her silence, along with many others, has struck up a conversation about bullying, abuse, etc on the internet and beyond, especially towards women.  However, what does silence really do?

In my opinion, the abuser wins when the victim falls silent.  They can’t win.  If they win, the abuse will continue.  Maybe not towards the original victim (I mean, if you ignore something long enough, it will go away, right?), but towards some other unsuspecting, innocent individual.  What if this new individual is at the end of their rope due to things they are keeping personal, and they are now being pushed to the edge.  That’s how some suicide sometimes happens.

No, silence is not the answer.  Sexual harassment is at a high in the military because abuse is allowed to continue.  Not only because the victim remains silent, but also because when the victim finally does come forward, they are silenced by the authority that is in place to protect them.  Fat lot of good that does them, or the next individual victimized, or the next after that.

What about the people being bullied for the color of their skin, or their sexuality?  Not only on the internet, but in the real world.  Racism is not dead people, it still exists.  Hate crimes still happen, far more often than they should.  Have you seen or heard about what’s been going on in Russia?  Men and women standing up for their right to love whoever they want are being publicly beaten to oppress their rights and their voices.  The people trying to take them down are trying to silence them, but the only way to push forward is to keep speaking out.

Silence is NEVER the answer.  We should all be standing up and shouting about the atrocities we see every day, whether it’s on the internet, or right in front of our faces.

We should all be taking a stand against the cyber bully who hides behind an internet persona because they do not have the guts to do it in person.

We should all be taking a stand against the prejudice slapping us in the face on a daily basis.  It shouldn’t matter if it’s against you.  Do not turn a blind eye.  Say something.  Do something.  Let your voice be heard.

It’s the only way to end abuse, whether it’s verbal, psychological, or physical.  Whether it’s online, or on the street.  Abuse of any kind is wrong, and should be stopped.

So no, I will not be silent, Twitter.  I choose to use my voice, and call out the abusers.

What will you do?

be kind