Thursday, 21 March 2013

Do we need to know?

I am beginning to think that Elizabeth (About New York) has a good point when she questions why we watch some of the television programmes when they are so full of doom and gloom and we can't do anything about it.   I wonder what you think.

Syria is a perfect example.   The appalling bloodshed, the hundreds of thousands who have become displaced and are living in refugee camps at best and at worst in any hole in the ground they can find that hasn't got someone else in it - for weeks it is headline news and we watch, helpless until suddenly we realise that it is no longer headline news.   That doesn't mean that it has gone away - it means that the news reporters have moved on and that people have lost interest.   The same is true of  Afghanistant, of the Jewish/Arab problems in the Gaza strip, of the huge Nuclear accident in Japan, which certainly hasn't gone away.   Does it become 'out of sight out of mind' and is it important that this doesn't happen?   I really don't know any more.

What I do know is that it has always been so.   Burns used the phrase "Mans' inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn" in the late eighteenth century.   How very much more we are aware of it these days when it is transported into our living rooms while we sit eating our tea.

There is no answer of course.   Yes we do need to know about these things I suppose even though we can do nothing about them.   We give millions on Red Nose Day - we trust that all of it gets to where it should be going.   Certainly all of the aid in the form of food and blankets to refugees doesn't reach its destination because there will always be people who don't care, people who are prepared to let others starve in the pursuit of money for their own ends.   Nothing changes.  In some parts of the world life is cheap.

I watched a tiny baby this morning, snug in his carry cot, blue blankets, blue clothes, pink shiny face - no doubting that this was a much loved boy - William I understand.   Sleeping peacefully with all he needs in the world.   All I can say is lucky William to be born into a country and a society which by and large cares for its own, never lacks for food and in spite of the doleful Budget predictions, still manages to keep its head above water.

16 comments:

MorningAJ said...

It's hard to watch the news sometimes, but we have to hear about it. We can't afford to pretend it's not happening. Someone needs to care.

Cloudia said...

We do what we can as citizens of a Democracy, then turn back to the plow & cradle......as our kind always have.....aloha

ANGLESEY ALLSORTS said...

It is awful .. what can we do ...other than lead by example to those close to us and within our community... caring as and when we can.

Vicky

Joanne Noragon said...

Our best answer, I believe, is to do the most we can for those we have. It is difficult to be resigned to "change comes slowly."

Heather said...

I agree whole-heartedly but I think perhaps we feel so helpless to do anything to help that we can't bear to watch the news. About the only thing we can do is give to various charities and hope the money gets to those who need it.

Dominic Rivron said...

I think it's essential we're told about these things. If we weren't, they would be worse than they are. Democratic governments are held to account by their voters. If those governments are involved in conflicts -or in the funding or prevention of conflicts- then their voters need to know. The fact that they do hopefully acts to regulate their actions. Who know what our governments would get involved in if we weren't told? (At the very least, if UK forces are involved risking their lives, the people of the UK should know about it).

Related to this is is the question of how the media covers war. Usually they take sides - but discreetly, so less attentive watchers wouldn't notice. And they go for the spectacular image rather than the personal tragedy. And the coverage of war is selective. What do people here know about the wars fought in Africa over the rare metals used in mobile phones and laptops? In part we owe the comfortable world we are privileged to live in (and in which we are able to bury our heads in the sand if we want to) to a whole lot of bloodshed and suffering.
I don't have any answers but instinct tells me that the very least we can do is face reality with open eyes.

John Gray said...

i try and not watch the news...
for the very reasons you have outlined pat...
it depresses me

Country Gal said...

I do not watch the news as there is so much sadness in the world and our own Country it to depresses me . We are blesses to have what we have though ! Have a good day !

Loren said...

I wonder if constantly seeing scenes like that doesn't desensitize people to such violence.

I absolutely believe that we need to follow the news and try to understand the causes of events like this so that we can vote for leaders who also understand the causes.

But I see little to be be gained from actually viewing pictures or movies of the violence.

it's me said...

We need to know to make informed decisions. I'll always be hopeful that it makes a difference.

Woman Seeking Center said...

I ponder this often - watching the savagery vs not....

For myself, I choose not to watch the graphic and intense footage via the tele. Instead I read the news (horrible enough in that version) to remain informed. Doing so keeps me up to date yet safe from the depressive angst that unravels the soul.

Somewhat set apart (tho not withdrawn) from the problems of the world this approach has (for me) been the mainstay of optimism - if not sanity.

Better still, it leaves me all the more able and determined to go thru each day sharing and giving as much kindness or help or comfort as any day gives me the chance...

Not better nor worse an approach - just what I've found works for me.

Issy

Tom Stephenson said...

Of course we need to know - not that we are told that much - the Americans have kept no records of casualties.

We need to know for the next time a slimy, ambitious politician who has his head stuck up the arse of the entire family of an already wealthy oil family, asks for our sons, daughters and grandchildren to go off and kill other sons, daughters and grandchildren in order to protect their financial interests.

The Genie is OUT of the bottle, whether you like it or not.

Pondside said...

I found myself nodding in agreement with much of what was said above. I watch the news but often wish it could be presented in a more factual way - it often seems to be presented like 'reality TV' for the entertainment of the masses. It's numbing.

Eddie E. Cummings said...

Why do we watch these horible stories on the news? It's like watching a train wreck about to happen. You can't turn away, so we watch. We pretend to care for a minute or two, but if it does not effect our immiditate surroundings we're on to something else. It takes a lot of effort to realy get involved. Besides American Idol is about to come on the television, and whats happening in Syria will still be gong on there tomorrow

Em Parkinson said...

We have learnt, for the most part, that seeing things on the news is one step away from reality for us. It is so desperately depressing and I wish I was the kind of person that could just get on a plane and go and help. I'm ashamed to say that I'm not and give to charity instead. Those people who put their lives on the line for others are truly amazing.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a lot of sense you all talk - and how good it would be to all meet and carry on the debate. In fact - we should all run for office in our respective parliaments - I really think we could do a better job between us. Thanks for joining in.