The human race either needs to evolve or die off entirely.
I know. Good morning to you, too.
I guess I should forwarn regular readers of my blog, that this entry is going to be about as funny as Carrot Top, so don’t expect to laugh . It is topical and current and will leave you feeling there is no hope left in the world. Or simply indifferent, as the title would suggest.
Now, typically when I write topical blog posts, I do so the moment I begin to feel a tremor of interest in a topic, before I decide how I truly feel about it, and before I know if I have any facts straight. You know. Like cable news. So this time I decided to give myself 24 hours to ferment in anger and all around disgust before sharing my thoughts. But when I woke up this morning I was angry, which isn’t a good look for me and decided for the sake of my appearance, I would withold my feelings no more.
Which brings me back to my initial statement. The human race either needs to evolve or die off entirely. I’m not bitter, just realistic, and there are plenty of examples of why what I say is true; school shootings, American politics, the popularity of Honey Boo Boo, etc. But in this case, I am referring to the dangerous combination of headline news and Internet anonymity.
Yesterday the Internet was all a-twitter with a news story regarding a 70 year old man in Saudi Arabia, marrying a 15 year old girl who he purchased from her family for a US monetary equivalent of $20,000. The story become international news when the man contacted authorities about being “ripped off” when the girl ran away. I thought it was a given that this is a completely disgusting, tragic event, not only because of age difference but the very fact that human trafficking and slavery exists so openly in undeveloped parts of the world, never mind existing quietly in Western culture. However it wasn’t the headline that shocked me, but the reader comments.
Although a healthy majority of reader comments were aimed at the sadness of this situation, there was also a disturbingly large amount of people making jokes, calling it a scam on the old man, defending the practice as “heritage” or “culture,” and generally spouting indifference. Here are a few examples:
Again, these are only selected comments I have copied from a few different articles. I am not arguing that this is in any way a reflection of the majority of people in Western society. However the stark lack of empathy demonstrated in these comments says a lot about who and what we breed in our “first world.”
Many people argue that this issue is an example of “heritage” “culture” and “religion,” and that is partially true. It is a tradition of humanity to enslave miniorities, and particularly women, as seen in most cultures at some point in history. However if the excuse we are making for this man, the girls’ parents, and millions of others who have participated in human trafficking, is that it is part of their culture, what excuse do we have for the people above who have had the presumed benefit of Western education and upbringing?
The truth is, there is not much we can do as individuals to actually provoke change in other cultures. But we can control how we react to it and the example we choose to set in our own. Several of the people above as well as people I did not quote proudly profess their indifference.
“I don’t even know that girl so I feel sorry for no one”
“Get over it, that’s the way it is in that country. Not our business”
Am I unevolved if my first reaction is to beat these bitches down? Yes, probably. But I truly can’t understand the argument that it is not our business to care.
It is not our business to have any sort of empathy or interest or sickened gut-wrenching feelings about something like child rape and human trafficking. How disconnected from humanity must people get to not only not care, but to tell others that it is not their business to care either? And where does this indifference end, if it does at all? Catholic church, Boy Scouts, Penn State Summer Camps? Down the street? When does it become our business to care?
I look at the people who make these comments, primarily Americans, and I think to myself, how lucky you are to live in a society so far removed from the horrors of third world human conditions, that you have the liberty to joke about them and mock their importance. Your essence, or soul, or whatever you refer to it as, could have just as easily been born into a body in Saudi Arabia as it was here. How arrogant to act as though it is wrong to care about what happens to the people who are born somewhere else, victims to a world that is either oppressing them or indifferent to their oppression.
Human enslavement is a human rights issue, not a cultural practice. Whether you believe Western culture should intervene in these practices is one thing, but trivializing the pain and suffering of oppressed people is a slipperly slope to becoming one of the oppressors.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
And for the love of God, make it your business to care.
The girl with the monogramed soapbox