In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks and a day off from work to remember our fallen war heroes and veterans, I find myself seriously reflecting on why I choose value-based work. Frankly I think I just need a happy thought. It bothers me greatly to hear of terrible things happening overseas and I feel guilty for my privilege and sense of security. News such as this is deeply disturbing and hard to digest:
Lebanon sees the most violence since the end of their civil war on November 12th with 43 killed and over 200 wounded in Beirut
France sees the most violence since the Second World War on Nov 13th with 129 persons killed and 300 wounded, (99 critically) in Paris
Yet somehow our western media responds with selective grief and outrage, with certain events garnishing enormous media response and others not so much. For example Nigeria saw 147 people killed in April of this year, in a vicious attack at a university and no Nigerian Facebook flag was created to show support for those victims. Most of us have probably heard precious little of the attacks in Beirut that occurred the day before the events in Paris. All three of these attacks are terrible and sadly terrorist attacks are so common in some parts of the world, to the point that we don’t hear of them at all.
I am not condemning anyone here, just being aware that we are all human and we respond differently to different kinds of violence, some with grief, some with disbelief, and sadly sometimes with more violence. We can and do turn a blind eye to ongoing strife in the world, but when it hits closer to home it obviously impacts us more. Perhaps we can just better imagine a life in Paris than we can one in Beirut or Nigeria, and that logically increases our sympathies, and captures our imagination accordingly. Technology further allows us instant access to loved ones and places us directly in the action.
Let’s get back though to value-based work and trying to think happy thoughts. Those of us who work in the N.G.O. sector are attracted to the work values which understand that although terrible things happen overseas, there are also events here at home that need ongoing attention, events that also so often miss the media spotlight. Poverty, abuse, immigration, famine, disasters, addiction, and disability are serious issues impacting the world over.
The world needs us to do humanitarian work and to respond to those who are disadvantaged here and afar, and especially to those in war torn and third world countries and not just when disasters or terrorist attacks happen. The happy thought is that the work you do every day matters. Text it to yourself, it might just make you feel better.
To think and act “Glocally” is to support causes we believe in. We can feel proud of the work we do locally, and we can feel global solidarity with those in Paris. That solidarity is a good thing, but solidarity and compassion for victims of violence and terrorism everywhere would be a better thing.
If you want to do more here is a list of organizations that accept donations to help victims of violence the world over. http://www.un.org/victimsofterrorism/en/directory