I'm a self-confessed news junkie. While I work from home writing on all matter of subjects my TV is on in the background, usually on CNN, and a little bit of CNBC (what? I write about the stock market!). This week I've had to turn off the TV altogether out of complete frustration. While I am sad that Whitney Houston died (albeit as a result of her own bad choices in life, a victim of her own free agency), I cannot stomach another "news" story about her funeral, autopsy, or legacy. Her legacy is this- she had free agency. She had talent. She chose to squander both on drugs and alcohol, and eventually died from her poor choices. What we should be doing is holding her up as an example of what not to do, and how to ruin a life, and traumatically hurt your own family by making selfish choices. But that isn't what is happening, is it? I refuse to say, "we're" making a memorial to her and buying her albums. I can't say "we're," because I refuse to be one of the people doing that. Sure, I listened to her music on Pandora on Saturday night, but I won't make her a legacy because she died from bad choices.
Meanwhile, around the world there are real people suffering from real problems that they did not bring upon themselves. They are suffering from a lack of human rights. Many of them do not have the ability to rise to middle-class wages, let alone skyrocket to stardom. Families starve, men, women, and children are trafficked, and innocent people are used as human shields against evil armies every single day.
I encourage you to stop and pay attention to those uncomfortable news stories that rarely make the headlines, but can often be found buried under "world news." Read the stories about the atrocities happening in less developed countries. You may think there is nothing you can do about it- but you are wrong. Just clicking on the story of the children living in dumps in Vietnam (many of which are Cambodian children that have been trafficked into Vietnam), instead of clicking on the story about Whitney Houston's pastor's memories, sends a message to the media about what WE care to read about. And the more we click, the more the media will cover the stories that matter, which will bring attention and spread light on the people who deserve the attention the most.
|Flooding in Cambodia|
A few stories for you to consider today-
Babies trafficked in Cambodia (personal letter written by the woman I worked for in Phnom Penh)
Help my friend Joel, a human rights lawyer and advocate in Cambodia, get justice for families that were kicked out of their homes by the government. Join the "event," and follow the instructions on how to send an email to people that matter.
Do you know about "fair trade chocolate" and the child slaves harvesting cocoa? Take a look at which companies you shouldn't be buying chocolate from!
And something very incredible and yet terrifying is happening in Syria. I know many Americans aren't big fans of following stories on the conflicts within Middle Eastern countries. They can be confusing and misleading. But a government has turned on its own people, shooting and fighting their own unarmed citizens. This is a HUGE deal. Other countries (Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia for starters) have already gotten involved. Should and will the US?