I’m gonna be honest with you. I do not read the newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch the news on TV. I know I should, but I have my excuses: I’m too busy. I don’t have a TV. Most of what I read online goes over my head. Deep down I know that it is important to be informed about what is happening in the world. I was reminded of this last week, and I decided to take action. I subscribed to a few CBC podcasts, and on Tuesday I listened while doing the dishes. “This is great,” I thought. “I’m being informed while being productive.” (I love multitasking)
But then I was listening, and I remembered the REAL reason I don’t keep up with the news.
It is too sad.
I am an empath: one who feels the emotions of others. The news that night was full of death, death, and more death. After the half hour was up, I felt sad and hopeless. I tried to distract myself by checking Facebook, and it was then I saw the image of the tiny Syrian boy, dead on the beach. A number of thoughts ran through my head as I processed this image, and I shared them with Nuni later that evening as I sat on the couch and wept. I was angry at the photographer for taking such a personal, devastating photo, angry at her for sharing it online, and for making me so sad. I was distressed by the hate, the killing, and the injustice of this situation. Listening to the news reminded me that our world is in a bad place. I don’t like thinking about these things, feeling hopeless and sad. I would rather just ignore it all and be happy in my own little bubble.
A few days have passed since I first saw the image, and I have some new thoughts. There have been so many posts on Facebook about Syrian refugees: political posts, petitions, and places to donate to. It made me realize that that photograph, although so shocking, so heartbreaking – was extremely powerful. It has caused people to think, and to act. I pray that Aylan’s death will spark fury in our hearts and cause us to help in whatever way we can. I signed this petition on Amnesty International’s website to call on the Prime Minister and all party leaders to increase Canada’s contribution to the Syrian refugee crisis. I donated to Winnipeg’s Refugee House. This story has broken my heart, and I’m sad and mad that I can’t fix it… but if we each do a little bit, together we can do a lot.
I don’t want to listen to the news, but I’m going to try. We all have a responsibility to be informed and to help however we can.