Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Can we claim ignorance?

I feel troubled. Uneasy. Worried. Something is going on in the world...

When looking back at historical events, we sometimes find ourselves dumbfounded at how things were allowed to play out, without anyone intervening. We shake our heads at people's inability to separate facts from propaganda and at how indifferent many seemed to be. How could they not have cared?

The world was a very different place not long ago. When the morning paper was the only source of information about current affairs. One would consult the family encyclopedia or head to the library for in depth knowledge. During time of war, families would gather around the radio to get the latest update on how events were unfolding. Photos from around the world had to be developed, mailed, printed, published and distributed before it reached the general public. There was very little information to be had and the power to decide what would be communicated lied in the hands of very few.

We live in a different era now. An era of instantaneous and unlimited information exchange. Never has it been this easy. Multiple connections to the world, at our finger tips. Regardless if your interest lies in Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release or in Rihanna's CFDA dress, whatever you want to know more about, it's just a few seconds away. Same goes for our ability to communicate our thoughts, photos, music, videos, opinions etc. We are free to share it all with the world, to our hearts content.

Imagine, for a second, if the underground resistance of WWII had cellphones, GPS and instant messaging. Imagine if the protesters at Tiananmen Square could upload the image of "The Tank Man" onto Instagram. Imagine if Gandhi tweeted. Imagine if we had Facebook during 9/11.

It's been about two weeks since the people of the European Union voted on who they want to represent them in the European Parliament for the next five years to come. The European people have spoken and what they said should be taken very seriously. I'm not going to go into detail, it's enough to know that nationalistic thoughts, people and policies not only gained popularity and power in most of the European Countries, these agendas came out as winners in France (Front National), United Kingdom (UK Independence Party) and Denmark (Danish People's Party). To add the the picture, fully-fledged neo-Nazis from Germany, Greece and Hungary have been elected into the parliament as well.

Meanwhile, at Europe's Eastern border, Vladimir Putin and his Russia are up to no good. Whatever plan he's concocting, it's pretty safe to say it's not for the love of peace, freedom and respect of sovereign states and people.

While these are new developments, there is an endless amount of ongoing conflicts in the world, over resources, power and religion. What if all these conflicts eventually boil down to one cataclysmic event? Will we say that we didn't see it coming? Can we really claim ignorance in this day and age?

Today, this specific post is not an attempt to try and convince people that inclusiveness, tolerance and differences are something valuable and beautiful. I'm addressing you who are already convinced. Many will say that the world has always had conflicts and it's no different today. Many will also claim that the new uprising of racial alienation is just a minority of loud people making a lot of noise, that the majority of people are still progressive and proponents of a multicultural world. They might be right. I hope they are right. But just in case, let's prove that we can be loud too. We who embrace progress, include differences in our perfect view of the future and who value respect and freedom over power and control. I ask you to be fearful of what might happen but fearless in the debate.


  1. We certainly need a few more optimistic politicians to show a bit of leadership away from doom and gloom. All these changes going on can be good as well as bad but people are easily scared.

    Where are you standing for election? :)


    1. :)

      There are actually times when I contemplate if I should return to, what used to be, a political calling, but any attempt would be cut very short. I'm too impatient, to idealistic and bad at compromises. Evidently these traits makes a very poor politician...

  2. "Imagine if Gandhi tweeted". He would have had overwhelming and worldwide support... for about 20 minutes.

    "Imagine if we had Facebook during 9/11." We could have spread fear, misinformation, hatred, and overwhelming calls for war with somebody/anybody, much more quickly.

    "Imagine if the WWII underground had cellphones, GPS, etc..." The German version of the NSA would have had a much easier time of tracking them down and wiping them out.

    That's how I imagine the answers to your questions (which is why for the past few years I've gone back to getting my news from the daily paper) but I like the optimistic direction of your answers better. I hope you're right and I'm wrong.

    1. I love that you choose to read the daily paper, as much as I love that others might choose the radio or The Daily Show. I love that we can choose. Today, we have many more ways to know, consequently, it should be much easier to care. I'm simply asking people to remember that, I'm asking people to care.