Egypt: Demonstrations in support and against the legitimacy of the coup مظاهرة لدعم الشرعية وأخرى تؤيد الانقلاب

The following piece I produced aired on Al-Jazeera Arabic on Sept 31st 2013 took place outside of the United Nations in New York.  All footage copyrights to AJA. Atabic text written by NY correspondent Morad Hashim.

تقرير / قلق دولي حول حقوق الانسان في مصر

مقدمة

اكد وزير الخارجية المصري نبيل فهمي التزام الحكومة المؤقتة بالمضي قدما في تنفيذ خارطة الطريق . وقال في كلمة مصر امام الدورة الثامنة والستين للجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة إن جميع المصريين مدعوون للمشاركة في تنفيذها طالما تجنبوا العنف والارهاب على حد تعبيره..ونظم مؤيدو الرئيس المصري المعزول محمد مرسي مظاهرة خارج مقر المنظمة للتنديد بمشاركة وزير الخارجية المصري نبيل فهمي فيما نظم عشرات من مؤيدي الحكومة المؤقتة مظاهرة اخرى لدعمها

مظاهرة لتأييد الحكومة المصرية المؤقتة ودعم خارطة الطريقة أمام مقر الامم المتحدة بنيويورك
ومظاهرة أخرى في المكان ذاته لمعارضي الانقلاب العسكري للمطالبة بعودة ما يصفونها بالشرعية الدستورية .
مصريون في مواجهة مصريين وانقسام يؤكد بالصوت والصورة أزمة سعى الوفد الحكومي المصري جاهدا في تحركاته هنا الى التخفيف من حدتها ومن مخاوف المجتمع الدولي بشأنها.

في الداخل كان وزير الخارجية المصري يؤكد للمجتمع الدولي أن مصر تسير الآن في الطريق الصحيح وبموجب خارطة مرسومة
ستقود الى عودة سلطة منتخبة في غضون الصيف المقبل لكن تبقى الاولوية كما قال لمواجهة التحدي الذي يفرضه العنف والارهاب.

المتحدث : نبيل فهمي زير الخارجية المصري
الازمة في مصر لم تكن غائبة بالمطلق عن دورة الجمعية العامة ومادار في هوامشها ولعل هذا يفسر رسائل الطمأنة في كلمة الوزير المصري ، فالقلق الدولي جرى التعبير عنه خلال الجلسات المفتوحة والمغلقة سواء بشأن مسار الديمقراطية ومصيرها في مصر أو بشأن اوضاع حقوق الانسان فيها.

قلق سمعه الوزير من قيادات في المنظمة الدولية وسمعه العالم في كلمات قادة ورؤساء على منبر الامم المتحدة.

نحن نتابع عن كثب الوضع ونأمل عودة حرية التجمع وحرية الصحافة وحرية النشاط السياسي واطلاق سراح السجناء السياسيين الذي نراه ضروريا لاستقرار مصر
الوفد الحكومي المصري سعى هنا دون كلل الى تحسين صورة مصر ما بعد الانقلاب لكن الرسالة الاهم التي سمعها من أكثر من طرف هي .. اصلحوا واقعها أولا

مراد هاشم / الجزيرة / نيويورك

English Translation:

Report / international concern about human rights in Egypt

Introduction

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, the interim government’s announced it’s commitment to move forward in the implementation of the road map. Fahmy said in a speech at the sixty – eighth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations that all Egyptians are invited to participate in the implementation of long shunned violence and terrorism. However supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi isolated a demonstration outside the organization ‘s headquarters to denounce the participation of Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, while dozens of supporters of the interim government started another demonstration to support them.

The demonstration to support the Egyptian interim government and support the road map in front of the UN headquarters in New York took place while another demonstration in the same place for opponents of the military coup to demand the return of what they call the constitutional legitimacy .

Inside the Egyptian Foreign Minister assure the international community that Egypt is now going in the right way and under -drawn map would lead to the return of an elected authority within the next summer but remains a priority as he said to meet the challenge posed by violence and terror.

Speaker: Nabil Fahmy, Egyptian Foreign Minister: “The crisis in Egypt were not absent absolutely for the General Assembly session and Madar in the margins and perhaps this explains the messages reassurance in a speech the Egyptian minister , Anxiety international was expressed during the meetings open and closed both on the path of democracy and its fate in Egypt or on the human rights situation there. We are closely following the situation and we hope the return of freedom of assembly and freedom of the press and freedom of political activity and the release of political prisoners that we see necessary for the stability of Egypt.”

The Egyptian government delegation here sought tirelessly to improve the image of Egypt after the coup but the important message that he had heard from more than one party is repair the situation first.

Reporter: Morad Hashim, New York

The Malnourished “Field” of Journalism

The year is 2013 and never has society been so technologically advanced within the realm of social and telecommunications.  The phrase, “with a touch of a button,” is no longer of metaphorical descent, for our smart-phones, kindles, laptops and other hand-held devices have become our magical red pill into the virtual world of Wonderland.

However society has also taught us that as one fixation advances in correlation, another begins to fail thus yielding the argument of the imminent death of journalism. This claim includes the deterioration of newspapers, the shrinkage of broadcast sites and that the once singular position of a journalist currently requires for one to obtain the skills of a multi-tasking producer, videographer and copy editor.  But the fallacy does not stop there. The field itself has also been painted as a manipulative and unprofitable one filled with scapegoats and propaganda. Journalism, they say, is forever dying.

And although some of these claims hold true, it is within an utter bias that the field is merely malnourished. The monopolization of the industry is a painful one, where the media is fed off to cruel corporations and its roots painfully dismissed and clearly forgotten.

Despite the obvious, journalism is more than just news, rather, it is the catering to an untamable desire for a curiosity that is never fully complete.  It is the drive that allows journalists to find answers within the depths of every corner within the social, political, economical and scientific aspects of the world. To give in to the immeasurable crave for new knowledge and most importantly to prove so by fulfilling the urge of viewers everywhere with substantial and thorough answers.

The digitalization of media points out that journalism is not dead, but continuously evolving rapidly as information is spreading through new and innovative means. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have replaced our regular 8 o’clock sit-in TV dinners. People are no longer sweeping up newspaper with their morning espressos or utilizing radios as we once did before. Information is now tweeted, shared, visualized and photographed, all at the same time. Citizen journalism is on a rise and contribution to information has increased dramatically.

However, journalistic or any other industrial advancement, comes with a price. Throughout time, techniques will unavoidably die out and strategies will eventually need to be replaced, just as with any other field. An industry like journalism in particular, thrives itself on the sprouting affairs of around one’s home, country and world will certainly not perish due to technological encroachment. Rather, it will extend and multiply through new and methods such as today’s globalization of the internet.

The fact of the matter is, information will always exist. The human brain will forever yearn to fulfill the void of the unknown. Society constantly demands for information, as it is fed to us soundlessly through the myriad of surrounding implicit and explicit messages.

Without a doubt, the power of journalism is underestimated, undervalued and quickly criticized. However, it requires more than the eye to truly believe in its cause.  Information is inevitable, knowledge is admirable and presentation will always be key. The mixture of these three is the formula for an educated, sophisticated and in-demand field that stipulates talented and brilliant people. Too many times it has been cheapened out, ruined in reputation and  too many people, like myself,  have been warned to stay away from the dying and unprofitable field. But next time, ask yourself, where did you learn about the poverty crisis abroad, the political platforms of your politicians or the local soup kitchen initiative down your street?

For the information that has become embedded into your daily life as normality serves as the career and lifestyle for another’s reality. How has journalism died when it is quenching the covet aspiration to serve the public pursuit for a redefined perspective on the world?

The blessings of the field are endless, for a journalist maintains the capabilities to incessantly learn anything within the field ranging from science to politics to art. We do so to better inform ourselves to educate and nourish this malnourished field that needs careful tending to grow and cultivate information into sharable knowledge, strong opinions and truth seekers. Only then is one able the fathom and appreciate the beauty, technique, hard work and necessity of this fast paced industry that will never really die out. Rather, it will continue to grow, fall weak and grow again stronger due to the passion of those within it and to those who believe in its roots and its ability to branch out. For what is the worth of a potential “field” without its meticulous and inquisitive caretakers?

United Nations Fails to Regulate the Arms Trade: الأمم المتحدة تخفق في تنظيم تجارة السلاح

The following video is about the current Arms Trade Treaty that I helped produce at United Nations in NY.

Arabic Text:

مقدمة

فشلت الدول الأعضاء في الأمم المتحدة في اقرار الصيغة النهائية لمعاهدة تنظيم الاتجار بالاسلحة التقليدية وذلك بعد عشرة ايام من المفاوضات.
واعترضت ايران وسوريا وكوريا الشمالية على الصيغة النهائية للمعاهدة التي يتوجب اعتمادها بالاجماع لافتقارها للتوازن حسب الدول الثلاث.
ومن المتوقع أن يحيل مؤتمر معاهدة الاتجار بالاسلحة مشروع المعاهدة على الجمعية العامة للامم المتحدة للتصويت عليه الاسبوع المقبل حيث لايتطلب توفر الاجماع لاعتماد المعاهدة ويمكن اقرارها بأغلبية الاصوات

النص
أغلبية دول العالم كانت تسعى لاقرار معاهدة صارمة وهو أمر لم يتحقق بفعل معارضة أغلب الدول المصنعة للسلاح ودول أخرى مستوردة لاسباب مختلفة
بينها تصديرالذخائرواتفاقات الدفاع المشترك وصفقات السلاح المبرمة سابقا والتفسيرات المتعلقة بحق الدفاع عن النفس وحقوق الانسان .
ورغم التوافق على صيغة مرضية لأغلب الدول إلا ان اعتراضات ايران وسوريا وكوريا الشمالية حالت دون اعتمادها.

المتحدث : محمد خزاعي سفير ايران في الأمم المتحدة
الترجمة ” حقوق الدول المصدرة للسلاح مكفولة تماما في المعاهدة أما حقوق الدول التي تريد استيراد الاسلحة للوفاء باحتياجاتها الامنية فتخضع للتقييم والمراجعة من قبل المصدرين “
المعاهدة تهدف الى تنظم الاتجار بالاسلحة التقليدية ومنع أي تجارة غير مشروعة او نقل او تهريب لهذه الاسلحة خاصة الى المناطق التي يوجد فيها حظر للسلاح او انتهاكات لحقوق الانسان .

المتحدث : خوان غوميز روبليدو نائب وزير الخارجية المكسيكي
الترجمة ” بالتأكيد نحن لانقبل أن تقوم اقلية من الدول وباسم حق الفيتو باعتراض نص توافقت عليه أغلب الدول بالتفاوض واصبح نصا مجمعا عليه. المفارقة هي في تبدل المواقع ، فمنظمات حقوق الانسان ومعها أغلب دول العالم الثالث تقف في مواجهة مع الدول المصنعة للسلاح التي تقدم نفسها دائما كراعية لحقوق الانسان

النص
الثغرات في المعاهدة تمثل بابا خلفيا لاستمرار تجارة السلاح غير المشروعه من وجهة نظر منظمات حقوق الانسان التي إحتجت على ذلك بطريقتها أمام مقر المنظمة الدولية .

المتحدثه : اليسون بيتلاك تحالف مراقبة الاسلحة
الترجمة : “نريد معاهدة قوية ، معاهدة يكون لها نتائج حقيقية على الارض وليس مجرد نمر من ورق “

المتحدث : لوي بيلوجيه متحدث باسم منظمة أوكسفام
الترجمة ” الاسلحة المشمولة بالمعاهدة محصورة ومحدودة وهذا يمثل مشكلة كبيرة “
تشمل المعاهدة الأسلحة الهجومية الرئيسية من الطائرات الى الاسلحة الخفيفة ولاتشمل أخرى كالقنابل اليدوية والطائرات دون طيار وقد تركت الذخائر والمكونات لانظمة مراقبة وطنية
مراد هاشم / الجزيرة / نيويورك

English Translation:
Introduction

Member States have failed at the United Nations in approving the final version of the treaty organization trafficking in conventional arms, after ten days of negotiations.
And objected to Iran and Syria, and North Korea on the final version of the treaty, which must be adopted unanimously for its lack of balance by the three countries.
It is expected to transmit the arms trade treaty draft treaty to the General Assembly of the United Nations for a vote next week, where does not require unanimity for the adoption of a treaty can be approved by majority vote

Text
The majority of countries in the world have been seeking to pass strict treaty which is not achieved by the opposition most industrialized countries of the weapon and other countries imported for different reasons
Including common defense Tsidiralzkhaúroatfaqat and arms deals concluded previously and interpretations relating to the right of self-defense and human rights.
Despite agreeing on a formula satisfactory to most countries except that objections Iran, Syria and North Korea have prevented adoption.

Speaker: Mohammad Khazaee, Iran’s ambassador in the United Nations
Translation “human weapon exporting countries fully guaranteed in the treaty the rights of nations that want to import weapons to meet its security needs would be subject to evaluation and review by exporters”
Treaty designed to regulate trade in conventional weapons and to prevent any illegal trade, transfer or smuggling of these weapons, especially to areas where there is an arms embargo or human rights abuses.

Speaker: Juan Gomez Robledo, Deputy Foreign Minister of Mexico
Translation “We certainly do not accept that a minority of countries and on behalf of the right of veto to intercept text coincided him most countries to negotiate and became a text compound it. Irony is in the Transfiguration sites, Human rights organizations and with most third world countries stand in the confrontation with the industrialized countries of the weapon which presents itself always the guardian of human rights

Text
Gaps in the treaty represents a back door for the continuation of the illegal arms trade from the point of view of human rights organizations that protested in their own way in front of the headquarters of the international organization.

Spoken: Alison Bitlak alliance arms control
Translation: “We want a strong treaty, the Treaty have real results on the ground and not just a paper tiger”

Speaker: Louis Baloger spokesman for Oxfam
Translation “weapons covered by the treaty restricted and limited and this is a big problem.”
It includes the key offensive weapons treaty of aircraft to small arms Excludes other such as handmade bombs and drones have left munitions and components for national control systems

Murad Hashim / Island / New York

U.S. court invalidated ban the sale of large bottles of soda: محكمة أميركية تبطل حظر بيع عبوات الصودا الكبيرة

The following video is part of the recent NYC soda ban that I assistant produced for Al-Jazeera Arabic. Arabic text and the English translation below.

مقدمة

ابطلت المحكمة العليا في مدينة نيويورك الاميركية قرارا يحظر بيع العبوات الكبيرة من مشروبات الصودا. وكان القرار اصدرته هيئة الصحة في المدينة ضمن حملة لمكافحة البدانة يقودها عمدة المدينة.
النص
المحكمة العليا في نيويورك أبطلت بحكم قضائي قرار بلدية المدينة قبل يوم من سريانه. ويحظر القرار بيع العبوات الكبيرة من مشروبات الصودا في المطاعم وعربات الطعام المتنقلة والملاعب الرياضية. الحكم يمثل انتصارا قد يكون مؤقتا للشركات المصنعة للمشروبات التي تدير صناعة تزيد قيمتها عن خمسة وسبعين مليار دولار.

المتحدث : اندرو موزيل المتحدث باسم اتحاد المطاعم في نيويورك
الترجمة : ” من الواضح أن القاضي يتفق مع شكوانا من أن هيئة الصحة تجاوزت بقرار الحضر حدود صلاحياتها وثانيا أن القرار تعسفي ومزاجي ويضر بأناس أكثر من غيرهم “
عمدة نيويورك الذي يتبنى الحملة ضد مشروبات الصودا لدواع صحية أكد أنه سيطعن في حكم المحكمة ليتمكن من تنفيذ قرار الحظر الذي يدعمه ايضا مجلس المدينة .

المتحدث : مايكل بلومبيرغ عمدة نيويورك
الترجمة ” اذا كنا جادين في مكافحة البدانة فيجب أن نكون أمناء عند الحديث عن مسبباتها ويجب أن نكون شجعانا في مواجهة هذه المسببات ، سبعون الف اميركي يتوقع أن يتوفون مع نهاية هذا العام جراء البدانة خمسة الاف منهم في نيويورك “

إحصاءات تثير قلق كثير من الاميركيين الذين يفضل اغلبهم مع ذلك عدم فرض سياسات تحد من حرياتهم. وتعد الولايات المتحدة من أكثر بلدان العالم بدانة وتنفق مليارات الدولارات سنويا في علاج الامراض الناجمة عنها ، وتوقعت دراسات أجريت مؤخرا أن يعاني قرابة نصف سكان البلاد من البدانة بحلول عام الفين وثلاثين .

المتحدث : براين البيل باحث في الصحة العامة بجامعة نيويورك
الترجمة : ” هناك ادلة متزايدة بشأن ارتباط مشروبات الصودا بالبدانة وبنسبة تتجاوز بكثير مسؤولية اطعمة ومشروبات اخرى عنها اعتقد أن الادلة الان أكثر وضوحا “

المعركة سوف تستمر أمام القضاء، والقضية بالنسبة للمواطنين هنا ليست مشروبات الصودا بل الحريات الشخصية وحدود تدخل السلطات فيها
مراد هاشم / الجزيرة / نيويورك

Translation:

Introduction
Supreme Court overturned the U.S. in New York City decision to ban the sale of large bottles of soda. The decision was issued by the Health Authority in the city in a campaign to combat obesity led by the city’s mayor.

Text
Supreme Court of New York overturned by a judicial decision mayor the day before the effect. The resolution bans the sale of large packaging soda drinks in restaurants and mobile food vans and sports stadiums. Judgment represents a victory may be temporary for manufacturers of beverages industry, which manages more than seventy-five billion dollars.

Speaker: Andrew Moselle Union spokesman restaurants in New York
Translation: “It is clear that the judge agreed with our complaints that the Health Authority urban decision exceeded the limits of its powers and secondly that the decision is arbitrary and moody and hurt people who more than anyone else”
Mayor of New York, which adopts the campaign against soda drinks for health reasons said he would challenge the court’s ruling to be able to implement the ban, which also supported by the City Council.

Speaker: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Translation “If we are serious in the fight against obesity must be honest when talking about the causes and must be courageous in the face of these causes, seventy thousand U.S. are expected to die with the end of this year due to obesity five thousand of them in New York”

Statistics concern to many Americans, who mostly prefer, however, not to impose policies that reduce freedoms. The United States is the most obese country in the world and spends billions of dollars a year in the treatment of diseases resulting therefrom, and recent studies predicted to suffer nearly half the country’s population of obese by the year two thousand and thirty.

Speaker: Brian, researcher in public health at New York University
Translation: “There is growing evidence on soda link to obesity and by far exceed the responsibility of other food and drink them think that the evidence is now more evident”

The battle will continue before the courts, and the issue for the citizens here are not soda, but personal freedoms and the limits of the intervention of the authorities

Murad Hashim / Island / New York

You Are What You…Believe? Media Consumption & the Resistance to Think Critically

Media, undeniably, is a dominant structure of power. It contains the authority to influence, mold, shape and develop ideas ranging from commercialized news to streaming propaganda. With an unlimited outreach and an ever growing audience, the media is not an institution that is expected to die out anytime soon.

However, what most people don’t realize is that controlling the media is not the only form of power. In fact, it is media literacy that has transformed into an unraveling form of true empowerment, a skill so critical that rarely is it ever implemented within society. The commodity continues to be so greatly underrated and infrequently used to the point that as individuals, we fail to differentiate between simply consuming media and consuming it critically.  Therefore media literacy is no longer a skill, but it becomes a necessity.

Before being able execute the concept, one must visibly define and comprehend the notion of media literacy. The idea is composed of a repertoire of skills that allows an individual to not only absorb the millions of message around them, but to evaluate, analyze and reproduce that content in an educated and indulgent matter. Critical analysis also includes examining construction techniques, patterns of media representation as well as detecting propaganda, censorship, and bias. Understanding what is happening around you is one thing, asking why it is and who it telling that story is another.

malcolm x

In an age where education is strongly emphasized, it is crucial to prevent an institution to instill one’s morals, values and ideas.  For wasn’t the holocaust justified through the power of propaganda? Aren’t drones acceptable since the American media initially refused to report its tragic effects on civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia?  Didn’t various Middle Eastern countries, starting with Egypt, attempt to censor its media during the birth of the Arab spring?

Therefore one can only reinforce the true power of media literacy. Its capabilities are beyond than just reporting, but it obtains the supremacy to oppress, free, educate or destroy humanity, as whole or on an individual basis. Questioning what we hear and where these sources are coming from must be conditioned into our daily consumption. For what may seem like the truth now, may not necessarily prove to be as such 50 years from now. Look back, our history only seems to prove us that point exactly.

And consequently so, with the thousands of flourishing messages constantly being fed into the human brain of what is considered acceptable in society ranging from body image to political secrecy; it has become more crucial than ever to be aware of our surroundings.

Because if you don’t think for yourself, the media will think for you.

media literacy

Running For Nothing to Achieve Everything

1,468 words. 9 hours and 3 cups of coffee later, and all I had written was 1,468 words. I slammed my laptop shut and sighed. This paper was definitely not progressing, I thought to myself.  It was time to call it a night.

I quickly packed up my things and wished my friends the best of luck on their school work. It was finals and everyone was piling up on readings and solving their last equations during the little time they had left. I would normally include myself into that category, but there was just so much on my mind. Academics was not a priority right now.

So I decided to do what I did best when my thoughts overpowered my learning abilities: I run.

Running provided me with an outlet that nothing else could. I didn’t run for the exercise and I sure didn’t run for the pleasure. But I ran to think and I ran to forget.

I also cannot run just anytime. But it had to be under such strict circumstances in order for it to be considered productive. Most importantly, it had to be cold. And not just 50 degree weather, let me bundle up with a hoodie type of cold. It meant cold enough for my body to lose physical feelings within the first 60 seconds of just standing outside.

Irrational, but it was my requirement.

And so without a second thought, I quickly changed, grabbed my ear phones and escaped outside. Running is not a new concept for me, I ran all the time. I knew exactly what each run meant to me for they varied. Some were very emotional and so I’d cry and run. Some were steady, a planned run with a set goal and a set time. And some runs were mental, I ran because I was frustrated. Each run was set perfectly to its mood and a playlist. It had to be just right.

I paced my every breath with every footstep and heartbeat until the rhythm of my body was synchronized with my thoughts. I mentally raced each passing vehicle, every bird and anything that moved. Everything was competition. My thoughts alone were competition. So I increased the volume of my music until I couldn’t hear anything around me and continued running. I’d figure it out later, I thought.

But for some reason, I couldn’t figure out why I was running. I wasn’t emotional, stressed or prepping for a marathon. Why was I running? Things didn’t quite make sense and so out of frustration, I picked up my pace and ran faster. Like a machine, my legs began to furiously speed up as I perfectly paced my 90 degree arms alongside of me. I dodged every pedestrian like racing bullets and jumped every broken sidewalk.  I ran until my chest began to rapidly tighten as less and less air was barely making it through my nose and out of my mouth. My stomach began to heat up frantically as I felt every organ inside of me about rip apart. It was hitting me that I was losing my synchronization. I couldn’t run anymore, instead I was breaking.

So I stopped and toppled myself onto the top of the nearest picnic table, struggling to fathom what just happened. I ripped out my earphones and abruptly shut off the loud music. Exhausted, I attempted to regain my breath, allowing for my body to settle as the cold air began to hit me. For a moment I forgot how cold it really was as I felt my face burning up. Everything began to tingle as each body part screeched in numbness. There was so much going on. My head was clouded with so much noise.

But as my body began to settle, it all eventually stopped. Everything. There was not a soul in the street, not a passing car nor any sign of any type worldly existence. The only noise in that moment was coming from me, the panting of my own breath. I couldn’t listen it for some reason it just felt so painstakingly loud. So I held it in momentarily and tried to not think but to simply listen. But what I heard was absolute nothingness. An abyss of silence that so soothingly peaceful.

In the midst of it all, I realized that I was the one causing the noise and the chaos. I was the one who brought upon the disruption. Through every infuriating and exasperating moment of frustration, it was all simply because of me. I was my own enemy.

I calmed my breathing and decided to stop trying to find logic. I had to let everything go, so I did, and in that second, I felt my thoughts ooze out of my ears and my shoulders come to rest. I wasn’t so tense anymore, only immersed within the silence.

My run didn’t go according to plan. It had no distinct purpose.  But that was okay because I didn’t need to make logic of a sight that was already so perfectly beautiful. Things were in place so why question it?

And just like that, the sound of nothing, helped me answer everything.

Rejecting Reality & the Harmful Deception of Bliss

Flip on the TV and observe the following headlines:

Child Killed in Local Community. Country Falls Into a Civil War. Natural Disaster Destroys Homes. World Poverty Rises.

The overabundance of news constantly sending out messages of causalities, emergencies and worldwide obstacles. It becomes too much, some say. Why depress yourself? Today was like yesterday, and it will continue tomorrow.

So just turn it off. Cut it out. The news is just too depressing. Ignorance is bliss.

The images of dead bodies, the screams of children and the guilty void of hopelessness becomes overbearing. So with power of one finger, the OFF button becomes our escape from reality.

And poof, it’s all gone. No more crying children, no more blood, no more poverty, no more guilt. Our flat screen TV’s, gleaming smart phones and HD radio’s are all off. Ignorance is truly bliss.

But on the opposite side of the world, where is the off button? Where is this magical square miracle that one can press and the sight of the dead father, the raped mother, the hungry child and the demolished homes can simply vanish? Where is it?

Nowhere.

For our ignorance is their reality.

For our mute buttons cannot mute the cries of the raped woman in Afghanistan. It cannot mute the bombs in Syria. Our mute button cannot mute the screams of the starving children in Africa.

Our OFF button that so fortunately turned our TV screens black from the bloodly battles in Palestine and the human trafficking in the Philippines is the same blackness that is seen in Pakistan when they lose electricity every night.

For then is ignorance truly bliss?

“You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel.”

And although you may have the luxury of closing your eyes and ears, let it not come to the point where we close our hearts. Desensitizing to one another’s struggle is not the solution, in fact, is only adds to the problem.

So instead of pressing your OFF button, you may want to turn UP the volume. Turn it UP so you may begin a discussion with those around you, educate. Turn it UP so that you may learn new ways to help them, donate. Turn it UP so that you may find resources to become part of the solution, communicate.

For the world’s problems may never end, no one said it was meant to be perfect. But at the end of the day, it is our world. If the roles were switch, wouldn’t you want someone to hear you out, or would you rather be turned OFF?

Just because you can, don’t. For ignorance is no longer bliss, it becomes darkness, just like your turned OFF television screen.