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Articles > News & Politics December, 03, 2015

How Have We Not Learnt A Thing After Two World Wars?

Leoni Stäubli
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5.80 / 10

The whole world has seen the picture of drowned innocence. A three year old boy washed up on the shores of Turkey. Face down in the sand. All alone. Dead. What did this child do to deserve this fate? We stare at the screen, feel upset for a moment and then scroll on and forget about it. Why do we ignore these pressing issues? How have we gone through two world wars and still don’t know any better? Are we desensitised to death – have we given up caring?


Human lives are lost or about to be lost all around us, but we just turn the page, click next and carry on with our everyday lives. Life is still fine and dandy here at home, so why not? That’s what our society does to us. The speed of our news flow and prevalence of irrelevant matters makes it impossible to process the most important issues. We are too obsessed with Kanye West’s impromptu announcement to become president, stars that apparently look alike or new diets that claim to work well, for example.

The second after we have heard about one thing, we have to concentrate on the next trending article and the next junk article and so on. We have adapted to being fed all this information without really having a good look at it. It is simply there to keep us distracted. I just read the slogan of a local newspaper saying: “News that really entertains”. Is this what we want? To be entertained? Entertainment is great, don’t get me wrong, but no one grows through entertainment, nothing is developed through entertainment. Entertainment means relaxation for your brain. It puts your brain to sleep and the world carries on without you. There is no way we can develop solutions for current problems when we can’t even take them in.

I feel so much hatred against everything that caused these kinds of catastrophes. But I don’t want to add to the excessive amount of hate we already have in our world. To be honest, I don’t even want to be a part of a world like this anymore, but that doesn’t mean I have to go. I am not in the wrong for feeling upset and wanting to change things. It’s the rest of the world that’s to blame. I mean the people who want to take advantage of other peoples’ vulnerabilities, the people who think that life is less precious than them reaching some menacing goal.

How can we accept that? Call me a delusional optimist but this world can be changed, and it has to. It shocks me most that even young people who have limited experience have already given up on this world. They gave up long before they even tried. They say: “It’s always been like this” or “I could never make a difference”.

What right do we have to pretend we know so much that we can be sure the world can’t change? Think of all the great people who have changed the world for the rest of humanity: Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela to name a few. They were only humans, like you and I, only they didn’t dare give up. Do you remember when you wanted the world to be full of rainbows, unicorns, love, good food and fun for everyone? Please don’t forget about that vision. It’s impossible, I know, I too have given up on colourful unicorns but we can definitely move in the direction of utopia. Please, I beg you, don’t grow up and give up.

Do your research, be critical and educate yourself, suck up all the information you can find and use it to do good. Whether it’s fighting bullies, racism, pollution, illness or anything else that you feel is wrong with this world. If you want, you can make a change. The only one who can decide what change and how big of a change you will make, is you. Or you can sit and wait until it’s too late. Your choice.

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  1. Lee Hampson

    This is a strangely argued article. I’m going to present my response in a chronological order. Now the pressing issues are not issues that I ignore. They are not necessarily ignored by everyone. You could have used the example of Ukraine which was the hot topic for a while and is now sidelined. I still try to keep up with developments to stay informed.
    I am not desensitised to death. If you see a dead child on a beach, care for a moment, and then stop caring that makes me question your sympathies. At the same time we have to maintain emotional stability in order to live. Do you really think that the people at home in the UK during both World Wars were not emotionally wrought at the same time that they had to show resilience and keep working? You don’t have to pay attention to celebrity triviality – consider one of the recent South Park episodes were the whole town starts reading a school newspaper because it simply delivers the news. If this is what you think is important then start that change and gather together like minded people. “Weapons of Mass Distraction” – this is what are being used against the people at home to keep peace and ensure the stability of capitalism. Add the overemphasis on sports to list of entertainment we get. We need to be entertained. We live in contrasts and cannot be eternally critical. (Honestly think about how much time you spend in the library and how much of that is productive.) We need the contrast of work and play. Goals are especially important – you don’t improve the lives or situations of anyone else unless you are successful. Now be careful of invoking ‘sacred cows.’ Read Christopher Hitchens ‘Missionary Position’ and reconsider the place of Mother Teresa in that list. Put down the happy pills. Life is not happy for everyone all time in any age. Even celebrities in their bubbles need ridiculous amounts of drugs or therapy. Like I said before, we live in contrasts; it is impossible to be happy all the time. Growing up doesn’t mean giving up on your dream or ideology – it means you can think more about it and critically appreciate different position. I’m proud of my tattoo of Che Guevara’s last words and still have maintained my (generally Marxist) position – I’ve simply branched out into a wide array of political and philosophical areas of it. And weirdly, you seem to have made the criticism I myself am making. I’m slightly confused but that may be the happy pills combating my critical views.

  2. Agilang Andrew

    Things happen every day good and bad, that shouldn’t oppress you because at times when it gets to your turn, things tends to change for good. so leave your life to the fullest. Life still goes on

  3. Agilang Andrew

    I think it’s a wonder most especially when it happens in the media

  4. Ajuma Sylvester

    Yea it is! despite the fact that death is inevitable, one will always be astonished when dead occurs

  5. fatimaB

    I think that situation won’t end simply while the power on the hands of wrong and greedy people.
    I appreciate deeply your enthusiasm and i thank you for this beautiful article.

  6. Gabe Lee

    because man is evil we have sin in our hearts…. some people at the top make some wars deliberately to make money or to fulfil what they want to fulfil. It angers me because I cannot do anything until then…

  7. Krystal

    I believe that we can make some difference but we need to get together and sort this world out. The media shows us the least important news the most as the elite want to shelter us from other news and when they do tell the important news they cause a moral panic putting the fear of God into people.