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Boom. Boston went Boom - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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Boom. Boston went Boom [Apr. 15th, 2013|10:20 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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The return of The Droz Report:

No prayers for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings

Photo by The Phantom Photographer; image manipulation by Geoffrey Dow.
Boston Marathon bombing aftermath

April 16, 2013, OTTAWA — Whenever my Facebook newsfeed starts filling up with prayers and expressions of shock and sadness about tragedy halfway around the world, I find myself wanting nothing more than to scream at all those well-wishers to shut the fuck up with their ritual grief, whether caused by a tsunami, a famine, a school shooting, a bombing in Boston ...

You got me. I'm already sick to death of hearing how you feel about the bombs that went off in Boston yesterday afternoon. Yes, it was an awful thing, but if you don't live there, or know people who were directly involved, I would prefer you keep your ostensible pain to yourself.

Offering up your prayers or good wishes might make you feel a little better, but it doesn't do any tangible good. And it's not like these things occur in a vacuum. Most of the major problems facing women and men in this world are caused by men and women. Even the damage caused by hurricanes usually has a human cause in there somewhere. And since that's almost always the case, platitudes aren't the answer, nor are prayers going to help.

Thinking might help. Political activism might help. Even donating to the Red Cross might help.

It's not the sincerity of the well-wishers that bothers me, but the lack of seriousness.

If you want my take on yesterday's terror attack, without a platitude in sight, click here. Comments, arguments and calls for my head are welcome here, or there.

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/253411.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.


[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2013-04-16 02:40 pm (UTC)
Young Géoff! such a provocative piece you have there.

I hope my post yesterday didn't bother you. I felt conflicted about the event because this sort of thing happens in other countries everyday and there aren't massive discussions about it.

That being said, it brings into question the safety of the US (once again) I think that Americans are obsessed with safety and security (and that is part of what makes us into a sleeping Nation politically in my opinion)
We want to feel safe in our public spaces, we want to be able to gather in large crowds in order to accomplish goals together without fear of physical harm. All this comes from part of the idea that we have imbedded into our constitution that if the citizens are unhappy with the government, they should make efforts to amend it or even replace it. And that I believe is why people react to this news so strongly.
"It's a dangerous business leaving your door.." But really it is dangerous just plain anywhere and the only thing that we can do is to be the most responsible to our own decision-making and responsive to those in need. This need for security makes us afraid not just of everyday things but of opposing the government or taking a risk that could better ourselves, our world. It also further gives the government another excuse to survey/control our 'public spaces' Every time something like this happens, the government can legitimize its

Another issue is that Americans/people living in 1st world countries (however misguided) view other places in the world as intrinsically unsafe and are surprised when an event happens in their own countries. This is a mechanism that we use for allowing ourselves to allow violence to be perpetuated by our own government in these places because 'the violence would happen anyway' Which is ridiculous. With an informed, conscientious. empathetic leadership in any of these countries, so many things could improve. I recently heard this talk that a man gave about starting a liberal arts college in Ghana... http://www.ted.com/talks/patrick_awuah_on_educating_leaders.html
It reminds me of the issues that we're having at home because of the fact that our college system is changing: there is less of an emphasis on the humanities that promote open discussion that could help us understand one another and more emphasis on getting a job done. We are training our leaders to have more self-entitlement than feelings of responsibility to others in need.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2013-04-17 03:22 am (UTC)

Yours didn't bother me in the least!

As per the subject-line, your post didn't bother me; quite the contrary. I quote from my piece: "If you were there, or you live in Boston, or you know people who were, or do, go ahead and share your pain; it's yours and you have every right. But the rest of us should shut the fuck up [...]

Not only were you personally affected, your post was a friends' only expression of your very real thoughts and feelings about what happened; you weren't copy-pasting ritual catch-phrases because, well, it seems like that's what we're supposed to do nowadays when a tragedy strikes close to home (or is sufficiently a-political, like an earthquake, much farther away).

We want to feel safe in our public spaces, we want to be able to gather in large crowds in order to accomplish goals together without fear of physical harm.

Which are pretty reasonable desires, in my opinion! You say it is dangerous "just plain anywhere", but that's only partly true. While no where is completely safe, some places are much safer than others. (You live in Philadelphia; I'm sure you know this on a very personal level.)

I was initially pretty sceptical about the video (and also: I tend to get impatient with docs, would rather read for information than watch), but it ended up being quite interesting, thanks. It's a good reminder that relatively small actions do matter in this big and complicated world.

As for higher education here (I say "here" because I believe the situation is similar up here north of the border, if not quite so extreme), I dunno what to say, except to note I haven't the time to say it all. A lot has to do with the academic "inflation", I think — that means everyone who wants to do any more than flip burgers needs (at least) a BA. But I have a feeling there are so many BAs out there now, that only an MA is worth a damn any more. And meanwhile, nobody wants to go to trade schools, even if that's more or less what universities have become and ...

... and I'm really ranting. Sorry about that.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2013-04-17 03:36 am (UTC)

Not quite my point

... but yours is every bit as germane.

My frustration with parochialism doesn't mean I think local tragedies should be ignored. Thanks for the reminder.
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