More and more posts on Facebook, Tumblr and other social media here in the States are exclaiming how they don’t want to see the horrific sites of what’s happening the world. I just saw another one today. It read:
“Wtf! Everyone on Facebook, around the world knows that there are horrible things going on in this world… we all fucking know this.. we are all aware, but some asshole feels it’s necessary to post horrific photos here, and frankly my friendship with this person just ended. I don’t need to open Facebook and see a severed child’s body on a morgue table. I don’t give warnings or second chances, my work with you is over, because you are contributing to a problem that I am full aware of you shameless piece of shit.”
I commented: “Ended up feeling so passionate about this post that i used this comment box as a platform to write a post for The Transcendence Diaries?. Please disregard and feel free to NOT read if you choose to. No harm in that and no offense will be taken.”
I’m very torn by this post frankly. As any intelligent mind would be, knowing that only the very bluntest of minds feel 100% one way or another about anything… Life is far too nuanced for that. Part of me totally gets it, agrees with it. We don’t want to be bombarded by grotesque sites everywhere we look. Especially not in our cherished world of social media. we’d rather look at pictures of cats and babies and wedding pictures. I get it. I’m with ya. Why SHOULD we have to see things we don’t want to? And yet we don’t really… do we? And we aren’t being forced to, not in reality. Let’s face it. 99% of the time everything in our cheery privileged world here in the US is the exact opposite of horrific pictures or “grotesque sites” — instead we are surrounded by smiling photos of Andi and Josh or the Keebler Elf or Captain Crunch or the cast of the Today Show; at worst we may come across some pseudo-shocking revelations about Justin and Jen or Kanye and Kim. But for the most part our lives here are pretty much Disney Family Movies?.
Meanwhile, just across the pond there are three entire countries, Gaza (Palestine), Syria and Iraq (at least… 5 or 6 really, if we include Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, and let’s not forget Ukraine…) completely demolished and destroyed AND the reasons and causes for the devastation pretty much all come down to us, here, in the US, in one way or another. But still, why should we care if we don’t HAVE to?
Gaza is a literal trash heap now. Completely demolished. almost 2,000 normal everyday innocent civilian folks killed, for no reason. That’s more than 1% of their population. It is akin to 340,000 Americans being killed in three weeks here. That’s three hundred and forty THOUSAND dead Americans. It’s astounding to consider. We wouldn’t have any clue how to deal with that kind of loss here in the US. We’d literally lose our minds if someone did that to us.
The means? 110% American tax payer money that paid for that. And American weapons that did the killing. NOTHING else paid for it EXCEPT American tax payer money. We pay the taxes and every year Israel receives 3 to 6 billion dollars of free American tax payer money. Why? How? How does that happen and we don’t even have a say in it or how it is used? But we don’t want to see images of what our money is doing on Facebook… It’s too sad. It’s too shocking. It’s hard to fathom, hard to swallow, hard to contend with. Impossible to feel the responsibility. We tell ourselves it’s not our fault. WE didn’t pull those triggers. We didn’t blast off those bombs. We’re not over there shooting people or blowing up homes. It’s not OUR business.
And yet… It is our business. Because it’s our money that pays for it and our support that permits it to happen. Just imagine Russia killing 2000 people ANYWHERE in the world and watch what the US does. Hah! Permit it we certainly would not. We would be OUTraged. But with Israel… we not only permit it, we condone it and supply the weapons and money to do it.
Same with Iraq. Sure we tried hard to “free them”. But we destroyed the foundation of an entire country’s governmental system in the process and now they’re weeks away from a bloody civil war the likes of which only Hollywood could replicate, but only in CGI –and the American people…? They now say they want no part in it. So no, sorry Iraq we’re not going to help you. You’re going to have to fight this one on your own. It’s already a disaster. But its about to be armageddon for these poor people. All because of the US and their pesky invasion and desire for “freedom”. At least that’s what they say. Frankly the Iraqis believe it had more to do with their oil… But who knows. Who cares? We’re again way over here, far from all that chaos and madness and destruction. Why should we care?
Then there’s Syria… God only knows how much the US has or had to do with it. Libya too. There’s another country we destroyed and is now crumbling before the world’s eyes.We stirred up a hornet’s nest there in Libya and now it’s getting so bad that we’re yanking our people out of there faster than Kim and Kanye marry and divorce. But the Libyans? They’re not going anywhere. For them, the Americans leaving means things are about to turn even uglier. God forbid the Americans have to see it.
Syria, God only knows how much or little we had to do with that…. sure we’re funding a host of different so-called freedom fighters and terrorists there in Syria — because we aren’t sure WHO to fund, so we’re throwing money at all of them — why? — because we just know we want that particular leader, Assad, ousted and thrown out of his country but we don’t have the courage or the fortitude to be honest about it and go do it ourselves. We know the world would never allow it. So we secretly and covertly (but openly) fund THEIR idea of “terrorists”. THIS is legal. Accepted at least. Hell, ANYthing that the United States does is legal and accepted. No matter what. It’s a twisted thing. Almost a million of their people have now been killed. In a year. How can we even fathom that? Clearly it’s not our fault. At least not 100%. This is THEIR civil war. We’re just playing a few sides to see if we can come out on top in some way when they’re done killing themselves. As we always do. (Chile, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Vietnam, Colombia, Iran, et al.) That’s our game if we can’t be directly involved.
But regardless of who’s to blame, it’s difficult to think that while we’re sitting pretty over here in Disney World that all of these people in Syria are dying or being injured. One gets the feeling that we should be doing something about it, that we should be doing something besides logging into Facebook to screw around and type funny messages to each other or play Farmville or Words With Freinds. There’s that nagging moral urge to help. At least in some of us. Frankly I feel that it exists in all of us, and furthermore I believe that’s what prompts the kind of posts that I quoted above. This girl is obviously feeling the pain created by this urge to help but not knowing how to… so she’d rather ignore what’s going on. It hurts too much to see it. Trust me, I know. I’ve never been in more pain than i have been sine Israel starting bombing Gaza three weeks ago. Talk about helpless.
Which is why at times I disagree with the above post. I get it. I really do. Why should WE be reminded of Syria and their desire to kill each other? Just like in Darfur a few years ago…. What was it our business? (Well that actually WAS partly our doing and thus our business…. bad example. But you get the point.) Why should we be worried about seeing gross images on our fun funny kooky cool social media sites just because the rest of the world is in utter chaos? We have no inherent responsibility to help our fellow man. We SAY we do. We pretend we do. We teach our children that we do. But in reality we don’t really feel that way. We don’t REALLY want to be bothered with all that. There’s too much good to watch tonight on TV here in the US. And there are too many good dates to go on and too many good restaurants to go to and too many good songs to listen to. Hell, there are just too many good apps to download! We do NOT have the time to worry about other people on earth who are dying or injured. And yes, by that standard, then it’s perfectly understandable that we should not have to see that shit on FB.
But what if we DO help? What if we give money to causes that try to help? And frankly we just can’t bare to see that much grossness all the time if we are expected to go to our jobs and raise our kids well enough to be able to afford to donate to these causes, right? We do our part. It’s a free country. We should have the choice. I get it. And if we say NO to grotesque images of reality, then so be it. The answer is NO. Because that’s what freedom means.
Now…. if we could just find a way to integrate THAT totally justifiable feeling with the fact that we are actually funding 90% of the devastation that is going on all over the world THEN i would feel totally comfortable with taking this stance. The problem of course is that we ARE creating and funding either directly (Israel) or indirectly (Syria, Ukraine) the majority of the root causes of the “grotesque images” we so desperately don’t want to see. And because of that, then by all means shouldn’t WE be forced to witness these horrific images as often as these people who are experiencing them are? At least until we figure out a way to stop our government from doing these things? How else are we going to be motivated to DO anything about what is happening in our name and with our money?
As a last thought… if WE had thousands of people dying all around US in a bloody civil war ala Israel or Ukraine or Syria, we WOULD do something about it, one way or another. We’d SEE it. Smell it. Hear it. We’d fall asleep at night listening to it. And we’d damn sure do something to stop it. Well I bet that the Palestinians feel that way right this very minute. And so too do some Israelis. And the rest of the world’s peoples struggling and suffering. Hell knows that Ukrainians are now wondering WHY they let the US come in and oust their president and government now that there’s a war going on in their country between the US and Russia over oil and natural gas. Maybe we just need to be reminded — as these people are on a daily basis — what it is that we are doing, so we can actually stop it. Hell even if we aren’t even involved anymore, Libya, don’t we have a moral obligation to help? Or did that go away with the advent of Facebook? This is what I contemplate all the time… Is there really such a thing as a moral imperative? Or is it just something we tell ourselves to make us feel better about ourselves in between bites of hot freshly baked just delivered pizza?