Okay so to my absolute shame I have been shockingly inactive as a Digital Advocate for the World Humanitarian Summit. However, I have been shockingly inactive at digital anything so I’m going to try to redeem myself right now.
Having just watched a video called Do Americans Know Enough About ISIS? I read a few of the comments and they were very presumptuous and generalising. The assumption was that, because said Americans didn’t know much about ISIS, they clearly didn’t care about the issues surrounding them. It’s undeniable that this is a topic subject to a lot of miscommunication, misunderstanding and stigmas but it really got me thinking. Does my knowledge on a subject validate how much I care about it? And my conclusion was absolutely not! I can’t read/watch/hear anything about wars, present or past, and not get wrapped up in a cloud of misery thinking about all the young women like me, their mothers, brothers, grandmothers, fathers, grandfathers etc and not get a little teary. I do care, I just don’t know how to help. And even if I had known what ISIS stood for (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria by the way, in case you didn’t know) would it change my opinion of them? No! If I had known the name of the leader of ISIS before watching the video would it make it any easier for me to empathise with people and help the cause? Of course not.
That fact is, this video was made in order to make Americans in general look ignorant to the cause but the fact is that these people, like me, have probably watched/read/heard news stories about ISIS/terrorism (no I am not offering that as a synonym, don’t worry) for the past 5 years or more and have become numb. It’s a human coping mechanism to shut off unpleasant information – if we all sat and thought about every horrific thing the world has gone through every single minute of every day we would all fall to pieces. Also, when were we ever told these facts? Never, because they’re not really useful when discussing ISIS’s actions unless they are directly relevant.
I am a complete over thinker. I do find it quite easy to empathise as much as I can but it’s not a skill, it’s debilitating. I take information about genocide, or even ‘just’ homicide, and I let it eat away at my mind and I have quite often broken down at the thought of that happening to me, my family or my friends. And that’s just how I react thinking about it, not actually living it. I don’t have to know facts about a school bully to know that I want them to stop hurting people and I don’t need to know facts about ISIS to care about the millions of people they are affecting daily.
I recently watched Front Line Doctors (on the BBC) and it really shook me. The refugee crisis caused by ISIS’s actions against its own people is unbelievable. The boats they travel on are an absolute joke and the people on them have paid at least 1000€ to be on it. If they’re willing to leave their lives, homes and family behind just to feel safe away from ISIS’s power and destruction then something has to be done to protect them once they’re here. Why are undocumented people not given the same rights as those who have a passport or a driver’s licence? I watched an old woman struggle through the ice and the snow just to travel to a check point where she would have to stand in a queue for hours on end, waiting to be accepted, waiting to be safe. There was a car present she could have been transported in if it weren’t for the fact that that would be considered to be people trafficking. This situation is awful and the laws surrounding it are unnecessarily tenuous. I know that it’s not as simple as “hey, come in, you’ll be safe here” but it has to be easier than this. And if it can’t be easier, it has to become more efficient and much safer for those involved. There is no doubt that this WHS will discuss these topics in the coming months because something has to be done.
After expressing similar views in the comments section to what you have just read I received an email about WHS (I know, what a coincidence!!) And this is what it said:
Dear Digital Advocate Team,
This week we are doing a special social media campaign to spread information about Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Agenda for Humanity – his vision to overcome the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis.
The Agenda for Humanity contains 5 Core Responsibilities, 5 areas where global leaders need to take action to stop human suffering.
Every day this week we will strive to give a human face to these responsibilities and show why they are important principles in rethinking humanitarian action.
Monday, March 21 – Core Responsibility 1: Prevent and end conflict
Tuesday, March 22 – Core Responsibility 2: Respect rules of war
Wednesday, March 23 – Core Responsibility 3: Leave no one behind
Thursday, March 24 – Core Responsibility 4: Working differently to end need
Friday, March 25 – Core Responsibility 5: Invest in humanity
Can you help us spread the word about the Agenda for Humanity and the 5 Core Responsibilities?
It should be easy! There are graphics and blog posts explaining each of the responsibilities are available here:https://trello.com/b/ YnuESBuF/agenda-for-humanity and here:http://blog.worldhumanita riansummit.org/. We are trying to focus on one responsibility per day, but please feel free to adapt this schedule to your followers. And feel free to add your own thoughts about these responsibilities to your posts too!
The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) Team
If, like me, you would like to have a few faces to associate with these causes then do some research! I will try to do my own research on the matter and find some case studies for each Core Responsibility. They could be activists, victims, survivors – anybody who represents that Core Responsibility.
If I manage to stick to this schedule I will have done myself proud and will also have done Ban Ki-moon proud in the process. And who doesn’t want to make that man smile?
I hope you can help me, and the WHS, to make these world-wide Core Responsibilities a little more personal. And let me know in the comments what assumptions you would like to challenge or what world problems you would like to see solved. Maybe look at the UN’s Global Goals for inspiration? Also, check out the links from the email too, reposted here for your convenience: