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 Blooming Stars

Globalization of Indifference

            Recently referring to the plight of refugees from North Africa at the door steps of Europe, Pope Francis spoke about the globalization of indifference, an apt term to describe the callousness, insensitivity, and the growing lack of concern for others in suffering in our age. We have become so used to the news of unspeakable, atrocious crimes that we have become numb. The news hungry media has lost their moral role and social conscience to present news-worthy items in order to thoughtfully reflect, conscientize, and enlighten the public through pungent and thought-provoking editorials and articles about the pathetic condition and suffering of humanity to create changes for a better world.

            Instead they focus on anachronistic news items and sexy salacious, irrelevant reports to seduce the world to buy their publications and other wares. Today (July 24, 2013) the biggest item on the menu of the media headlines going around the world scene is the birth and the consequent naming of the child of Prince William in England. That the news media cater to our voracious appetite for sensational news, and our penchant for titillation and momentary entertainment is itself a sad commentary on the status of humanity. In fact a good bulk of news is produced by the media. In a world where the medium is the message, to quote Marshall McLuhan, Pope Francis stands out as a beacon of hope to high-light the condition of the poor and the disadvantaged even though his message is not widely disseminated by the media.

            What happened to the Parable of the Good Samaritan of Jesus Christ where every suffering human is our neighbor, our brother or sister who is desperately in need of our help for sheer survival? I remember years ago when I helped educate two very poor girls to become registered nurses in my village of origin. They belonged to a different religion and community from mine. One of the girls also had a severely alcoholic father who virtually abandoned the family. Their community at that time was in great tension with my relatively well-to-do community of origin in the context of a very dilapidated and abandoned little religious shrine (kavu) of theirs that happened to be in the property of a land-owner of my community. There was communal polarization in the village, and a contingent of police had to camp in the village to avoid violent conflicts.

            A few of my relatives did not appreciate my financial assistance for those girls in abject poverty in order to lift them out of the deep pit of poverty. They thought they could use that money themselves. They were not persuaded by my argument that those innocent girls needed a break in life, and it was not their fault that they were poor or one of them had an alcoholic father, who wasted whatever little money he had on alcohol, and that my mission in life was not to make my relatives, who had enough to live on, richer. They were like most others in the world were engrossed in their immediate needs and desire for more wealth. Then are we our brother’s/sister’s keepers? Are we so immunized from being affected by persons in dire need? Are we so insensitive, and indifferent to the precarious situation of others?!


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