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College student hoping to expose people to thoughts and ideas they might not necessarily come across on a regular basis.

Cast Your Gaze Outward...

This is more of a follow up to my third post, The Hatred in Our Hearts, than it is a post that stands alone. It comes after days and weeks of hearing about the struggle for freedom, not only in Tunisia and Egypt, but now in Libya, Bahrain, and many other countries across the Middle East and in the Arab world.

I have heard about one subject non-stop since all of this began, and which has now become especially prominent with the uprising in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi is slaughtering his own citizens. One topic that has been on every commentators lips from the start is the price of oil.

I say to those commentators, and all those people out there who are more concerned with how much their tank of gas is going to cost than the atrocities being committed by a ruthless mad man:

“Those who do not hate their own selfishness and regard themselves as more important than the rest of the world are blind because the truth lies elsewhere.” -- Blaise Pascal, French Mathematician, and the man responsible for those math triangles you hated in high school.

I am angry. I'm angry at the media, I'm angry at the heartless and careless people who are hardly even aware of what is going on in the Arab world and why, and I'm angry at myself. Where has my voice gone? Has the everyday grind worn me down to not caring about the issues?

Have we all become so immune to the suffering of others that our only concern is the bottom line? Are we so oil-thirsty that the death and annihilation of a group of citizens calling for democracy no longer holds a candle to the profits of Exxon, Shell, or Joe Schmoe?

The economy is crap, and I know that. People are squeezing every cent they can to get by. I'm going broke putting myself through school. I don't for a second think that times are easy. But I absolutely think we are being ridiculous.

The media tells us that fuel prices are going to rise because the strife in the Middle East and Africa. Some media sources tell us that Muslims want to take over the world. Few sources tell us about the fact that these people are fighting for what the American government and the American people often tout as their greatest attribute.

Freedom. Plain and simple.

And yet here we are, moaning about an extra $.20/gallon. It doesn't take a lot to change the rhetoric of the news. The American people, despite the common thought that we are all a bunch of bumbling asses, do not need the media to make the connection between the Arab World's upheaval and rising oil prices for us.

That said, we also don't need the media's constant discussion of this issue to influence us into believing that there is 'fault' to be placed in this situation. Let us not, for a single moment, blame anyone other than the vicious dictators who subjected their peoples to horrific treatment for years and years.

The time has come, my friends, for an age of understanding. These days, these months,these years past have become more and more verbally and physically violent. Lines are being drawn, and extremists are drawing them. Moderation in all things has long been accepted as the best path, and yet we, the people, have allowed the few to dictate the actions and beliefs of the many.

That is not democracy.

So often we spend our days concerned with our needs, with our desires, and I'll admit that it's hard not to. The only person who knows you in every way is you. You live your life every day, so to think that complete selflessness is what we should be is foolish. But we are not so different, you and I, and the time has come for us to recognize that.

Cast your gaze outwards, citizens of the world, and see what lies out there. Take witness of the struggles, triumphs, achievements, failures, and love of those around you. Take no witness of the hate in this world except to recognize and disregard it as a folly that has no place within our world.

Let us not find ourselves as the next Martin Niemoller:

"First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Good night, and sweet dreams.


Found this after I wrote the post, and thought it appropriate:
Day of Peace

9 Responses so far.

  1. Great Pascal quote, enjoyed reading this.

  2. Haezer says:

    I already known that quote. It's beautiful.

  3. Well what did you expect? All this is just a natural consequence of capitalism, you think you have freedom in America, think again, you're just a slave of the economic regime, the politics are just a consequence.

  4. Venus says:

    Great post... very truthful... this blog is one of my favourite blogs now....
    We are living hard times... only if we come together as sisters and brothers we will defeat oppression !

  5. Long read but worth it. Thanks

  6. I read this twice, just to make sure it all sank in. Powerful thoughts, man. Great post.

  7. I'm really glad you all like it. I try to write from the heart and be as honest as possible, hoping that it reaches others and makes them feel something.

    Motavationalized, I don't disagree with you at all. It's not that I expect something different, it's that I hope we can turn it into something different. The system is screwed up, without a doubt, but to simply accept that fate, well, we have no one to blame but ourselves then.

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