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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Global voyeurism and ignorance

My definition of global voyeurism is a set of  guilty glances that we poor mortals have when looking at others's misery. Those glances that we process with our socio-cultural and emotional standards bring empathy, sympathy, fear, pity, hate, anger, happiness or sadness. We are often compelled to do or say something. We want to help, accuse and criticize. I understand the need of sensational photographs to coerce common people into donate and help. It is all about effective marketing. I do not support it because I am African, and I do not want my child to be blinded by them. As a child I was the first Black African in my elementary school. All the silly and annoying questions were not caused by hate but by stereotypes and ignorance. All they knew about Africans was starvation, death, lack of infrastructures, and folkloric clothing. One teacher told the class that where I am from, families live in one room, and we all do voodoo. I did answer that we have houses too and we do black magic. Just in case! Nobody ever bullied me! For the longest time I was trying to impeach our son to watch sensational images of poverty and misery. I did not want him to have  distorted views. Although after Tsunami, Katrina, and Haiti, I did let go. Sadly global natural disasters are equalizers, we are all connected. Floods, earthquakes, fires, droughts, and tsunamis remind us that we all play games of hide-and-seek in economical and political boudoirs. And global voyeurism is a way to alleviate our moral burdens with quick fixes. Before I became a mother, I did read about the Great Chinese Famine, parents were exchanging children so they will not see theirs die. It made me understand that as much as we act like political animals we are humans. And the degradation of a human being struggle for life hurts me deeply because that dying child could be mine. And as much as I would love to receive help when in need. I would love more dignity and decency. At the end, we are all the same.

Some great links:
The Aid Watch blog is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.
The End of Poverty?, "a feature-length documentary directed by award-winning director, Philippe Diaz, which explains how today's financial crisis is a direct consequence of these unchallenged policies that have lasted centuries. Consider that 20% of the planet's population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate. At this rate, to maintain our lifestyle means more and more people will sink below the poverty line"

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