The Importance of Front Page News

Corruption, greed, war, climate crisis, prejudice – they’re all front page news issues. They all lead to the suffering of every day people just like you and me. And there’s never enough being done about it by the people in whose hands we place these matters, on our behalf – political leaders of the globe.

I just finished reading a book about the importance of fighting injustice; the importance of uncovering what people in positions of power try to cover up; the importance of persistance in the face of opposition and probable death; the importance of fighting for what we believe and know to be wrong; and the importance of the written word in doing all these things. All That I Am by Anna Funder is about the pre-war Hitler regime and our protagonists are in the opposing team, exiled from their own country and silenced. In the face of monstrous deeds and oncoming war to which so many turned a blind eye in those early years of Hitlers reign, our heroine persists in trying to reveal all that Hitler was really doing. And she eventually gives her life to the cause, at the hand of the Gestapo. Yet her work did do so much to save many lives before it was too late, and in the end, it documented the truth so that a move on Hitler’s regime could finally be made.

One thing that is prevalent throughout this novel is the way writing is used to try to uncover the hidden truth, to counter the words of deceptive leader, to offer an opposing perspective on current events. Flyers, newspapers, correspondence and the sharing of knowledge between sources.

Fast forward to 2015 and in the last 24 hours we’ve been presented with some confronting and extremely sad images in the newspapers  – the photos of drowned Syrian refugee children, washed up on the beach of Turkey. It has moved us all, and while we are united in our humane compassion for these familes, there is something else that must be considered. These images capture a mere essence of the tragedies that bring people to flee their country. Refugee ‘problems’ are not a new thing, and the plight of the Syrian people existed long before these pictures hit the headlines… and they still persist now. What we can be glad of is that for once they’re headline news around the globe, and that many people are now sitting up and taking note. Not just that, but there are people also putting pressure on state leaders and politicians to do something to help.

So, at this stage, a good outcome would be that the refugees from the Syrian crisis find that refuge they seek, as this just seems the humane thing to do. However, is it not also just a bandaid on the real issues? War and climate change are just some of the instigating factors to put Syrian civilians in danger. There is a lot we need to fix in this world, and one of the best ways, first and foremost is take note, second is to use our voice to stand against what is only causing damage and destruction, third is to show others – spread the word, get these things in the headlines every day, consistently. Let’s report the stuff that matters. Please.

My last thoughts on this for today are this. This morning I spent considerable time dwelling on the lost lives of Galip and Aylan Kurdi [graphic content behind that link], and further to that I was also sparing some quiet moments for a friend of mine who is today attending the funeral of a 17 year old boy, tragically killed in a car accident, just a few years after his brother also passed away at the exact same age. In my sadness for these and other inconceivable tragedies I came to say a quiet ‘Thank you’, for today… and for yesterday and tomorrow. I may not fully understand how these things come to pass or know how to fix them but I do know I am lucky, and that’s the only thing that sets me apart from these families experiencing these horrific troubles. May the surviving families and friends in both cases be blessed, and may you be blessed too.

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