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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Global Perspective

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” 

― Shannon L. Alder

In America, life gives you lemons. In other countries, life will give you famine, a sea filled with blood due to incessant war, and little to no access to health care. Submerging myself in world news, I’ve come to realize that my quality of life is overwhelmingly better than most people in the world. This enlightenment has given that cliche quote “it could be worse” new profound meaning. Shit could really be worse.

The social and economic injustices in America can cause us to forget that America and its shortcomings is the lesser of many evils. The United States provides us with an abundance of life's necessities and trivial desires. Living in America, most have access to resources that other inhabitants die for. Running water, shelter from the heat, shelter from the cold, plumbing, free education, and public transportation are luxuries easily taken for granted. Although some people in America may be subjected to harsh living conditions, those harsh conditions are nothing when compared on a global scale.

While listening to BBC World Service, I’ve heard the cries of refugees fleeing Syria that witnessed their family members drown during their attempts to enter Europe illegally crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Syrians have lost their homes, their jobs, their communities, and their rest. Worst of all, they face a high probability of losing their lives as causalities of war... causalities of unfortunate circumstances. All to escape turmoil they did not provoke: A war that has killed many innocent civilians. If and when they make it to Europe, or whatever country that they believe possesses a second chance at a normal life, their misfortune isn’t comforted. Starting a new life with nothing in a country where the government is ambivalent regarding your refuge there, does not provide much ease.

If we could compare the prayers of Americans and the prayers of those confined in Syria, we would see that the two countries worship two very different Gods. Not in name, but in attitude. Those that live in America may act as if life is an entitlement of sorts and evil is something that only lurks in the dark: prayers for job promotions and material possessions. But in  Eritrea, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Uganda and Iraq, evil lurks relentlessly day and night: their prayers are for food, refuge and timely revenge. 

American adults would be utterly traumatized waking to piles of rotting dead bodies stacked one on top of the other outside of their makeshift tents. While children in these war ridden countries play a few feet away from decapitated heads. Whatever pain I feel is triumphed by the pain of those suffering unremittingly around the world. For those searching for their family member's remains in the rubble of bombed buildings, life is hell on earth. I don’t know pain. The devastating circumstances in my life can’t even scratch the surface of what my brothers and sisters experience around the world. 


They say that you should expect causalities in war, and I’ve also come to expect Americans to bask in their ignorant bliss, as I used to. Not knowing the blood shed that is happening around the world, around the clock. My perspective on life has changed significantly. And I ask myself, "Who am I to complain?"