What The World Needs Now

So, I was privately asked by a surprising number of people why I had not temporarily changed my Facebook profile picture in a show of support for Paris. I who am usually up on the latest Facebook fads to have not done so was surprising to them. They have a point, but this Facebook Paris profile thing is just one I could not do.

I’ve been to Paris, but even if I had never step foot in the city I still would wholeheartedly feel for what Paris is going through.  Just as I felt the outrage for London when they were bombed in 2005, often referred to as 7/7 – the date of the occurrence, just as I know both countries grieved with us here in the United States when 9/11 happened.  There is this overwhelming sense of helplessness when one is reading of such a tragedy from afar. After all what can the average Jane and Joe from so far away do right?  Granted, most of the world did not have social media, let alone the ability to easily change our profile pics on FB in 2001 or 2005, but today if we can’t really do anything else, the very least we can do, and it really is the very least, is change our profile picture to show our support for Paris right? Right.

When I noticed the changing profile pictures my very first thought was that’s nice.  Our hearts are in the right places, I do not make light of it.

I get it.

I really do.

Still, I could not help but ask myself the following – where were these near instantaneous profile pics apps of solidarity for

Where are the profile pic apps for any all of them?

A couple of months or so ago, here in the US, Facebookers were able to be “StraightOutta___” whatever they chose to be straight out of in honor/celebration of the release of the movie “Straight Outta Compton”.

A movie.

A simple movie about a rap group from the 80’s was worthy of being on our profile pictures, yet today is the 580th day since 273 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria. 57 escaped and 219 are still missing.

Where’s their profile pic overlay app?

Some have tried to say that most of the above didn’t count because the countries have been in some form of contentious states for years, even decades now. But just because Paris is relatively brand new to this and is considered a safe place, are they more worthy than the Israeli and Palestinian who live with the threat of a bombing as a daily fact of life? Uh. no.  And please let it begin and end right here with why tragedies to brown faces get less news coverage and hold our attentions far shorter than tragedies to white faces.  I just can’t/won’t go there with that today for we are all hurting.

We cannot look at the events of Paris and not share in their grief. Nor should we ignore the horrors of one tragedy in order to acknowledge the horrors of another.  I have no qualms for the many Facebookers who have temporarily changed their profile pictures in solidarity of Paris. Again, because I understand it, I really do. I have changed my Facebook cover to better reflect the suffering seemingly everywhere, for I have no solutions or resolutions either.

It’s a jacked-up world we’re living in and the events in Paris and in Lebanon and in Nigeria… and… and… are already fading into the happier glow of the coming holidays, because it’s all we can do to hold to what little happiness can be found out here for us.

Let’s find it and try to hold on to it long past the times that go by with auld lang syne.

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Slice of Life : Two Writing Teachers

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers

300 Mothers

People are all up in arms over the “alleged” words of Donald Sterling.  Here in New York City a mini race-riot nearly broke on a Brooklyn bus by a 60 something year old white man who single-handedly attempted to turn back the hands of time when he told a black woman she needed to move to the back of the bus and let him have her seat.  A man who, in the midst of the argument that ensued, out right says Sterling should run for president. When it comes to black and white relations, even now there are times when it all feels as though we are just one lit match from the racial powder keg. These are the things that occupy our news and social media cycles.

But what has garnered my attention the most these past three weeks are nearly three hundred mothers.  The nearly three hundred Nigerian mothers of the girls kidnapped from their school last month and the eleven more stolen from their own homes in the middle of the night in recent days.

Did you know there were more kidnappings?  Here we are three weeks after the initial kidnapping and the U.S., is only now stepping forth with “doing the best we can”. It feels all Okay, fine I’ll do it, as though our involvement now is akin to the petulant child forced to apologize to a sibling for some wrong.  It’s better than doing nothing. It is certainly better than the incompetence that has been the Nigerian Police; the same police who initially did not even want to acknowledge that more kidnappings occurred.

Is it the sense of helplessness, the “what can we do about it?” Is because it’s over there, on another continent and not in our backyards?  Is it because it is happening to Africans by Africans,  a black-on-black crime if you will?  What is at the root of this overall sense of apathetic whatever regarding it? Let’s be honest, if this were nearly 300 little white girls in South Africa, or in any other country been kidnapped as such, the immediate public outcry would be swift and deafening. Why is the world so relatively quiet for Nigeria’s little girls?  It has taken nearly three weeks of a slow building public international pressure for any course of assistance to be offered, action to be put into play. Are nearly 300  little black girls not worthy?

  • Tell that to the mothers who do not know if their girls are already dead.
  • Tell that to the mothers who do not know if their girls are alive, but already parsed out to the human trafficking / sex trade markets as threatened by the leader of the group who masterminded the school kidnapping.
  • And as more time that passes without any of the girls being rescued, tell that to the mothers who do not know if perhaps death is the better option.

This Sunday for those of you who will celebrate Mother’s Day, unless a miracle happens between now and Saturday, take a moment to remember  the nearly 300 mothers across the ocean missing their daughters and acknowledge them. Let’s continue to put pressure on our governments until each and every girl is accounted for.

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