United States of Apathy

March 4, 2009
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If you've picked up anything besides a Teen Vogue or Cosmo Girl in the past year you probably got a taste of some of the current problems humanity faces. But that is just what it was, a taste.

Chances are you know more about the lives of celebrities and musicians and their fantasy worlds than you do about the one you live in. We have been born into an America that would rather turn a blind eye to the horrors of the world and maintain the belief that anything outside of their state is foreign policy instead of extending a helping hand.

The extermination of thousands is a little more important than your bad hair day. You complain about studying while school children in Israel don't dare to sit near the windows for fear of a bombing.

If you think a fight with your boyfriend is the end of the world, try explaining that to a woman who lost her baby after being brutally raped by militia men. Or the adolescent that has undergone genital mutilation and may die of infection. Your hunger for sympathy might be lost in their eyes.

To help you put it into perspective, Cambodian dictator Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, is being tried for crimes against humanity, or the death of 1.7 million people from 1975 to 1979. Thirty years after the fact, he is the only dictator of the Khmer Rouge thus far to be tried for the crimes of the regime.

We are just beginning to right the wrongs committed over 30 years ago. If you think it isn't your problem because you weren't around yet, you are adding to our nation's growing apathy problem.

And remember that cute little Darfur shirt you bought from Stamper last year that's hanging in the back of your closet? What you were advertising was great, but it's too bad you knew nothing about the product. Approximately 400,000 lives have been lost in Darfur to malnutrition, the machete and the machine gun with more pain and suffering than we can grasp. Another 2.5 million were forced to flee their homes in the region. And despite the belief of many, the issue has yet to be dissolved.

The worth of life is unaltered by race. Your brother is your fellow man, and he can be found in any color. Your sister is your fellow woman, and she may live half-way around the world. Despite any differences you may have, they are just as human as we are. They feel the onset of starvation and experience the same despair we would if forced to watch our mother, father, brothers and sisters slaughtered. In death, the skin deteriorates and we are all the same color. And we are all just as dead.

This isn't about godliness. This is about what a human life is worth to you. Not all of us are ungrateful. We just need to take a step back and evaluate our situation realistically while thinking of others less fortunate around the world.

I'm not saying you should feel miserable because of their living conditions, I am simply asking you to think of those people.
Do what you can to help or at the very least educate yourself and pay more attention to world issues. After all, one day, they will become our problems as well.

[visit unicefusa.org to discover ways you can help within your community]

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