I feel discouraged. And it’s not because I got a bad grade or my “friend” said something mean to me or something generally unimportant like that. But this may be unimportant, too - depending on how you look at it.
I feel discouraged because I feel powerless. I’m the kind of person that likes to know my actions will produce a specific result. How can I be assured of this when the things I’m concerned with are human rights issues? How can I be assured that writing a letter or calling a higher-up will produce some sort of resolution. I can’t.
Last week, I posted about KONY 2012. While I stand by most of what I said in that post, I concede that the campaign has it’s flaws. Still, however simplified the documentary is, however “white savior” like IC may be, it has opened people’s eyes around the globe. But that was a week ago. Now that people know, what can we do? I’ve been thinking about writing to politicians a lot this past week. I haven’t done it.
Here’s why: I don’t know what I would say. And furthermore, I don’t know why I would be saying it. Now if you’re going to come at me with some bs like: “You think they’re actually going to pay that much attention to your letter? Just write something to contribute to the pile.” Um, no. I believe in the power of strong, purposeful communication.
Here’s my issue: Kony is no longer in Uganda. Kony/the LRA are now minimally active in DR Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic of Congo. So why should I write a letter to my officials telling them to keep American troops/increase their presence in Uganda? Those troops really need to be in the affected areas if they want to actually have a shot at capturing Kony. The UPDF doesn’t have the authority to cross the Ugandan borders so this is not a Ugandan problem anymore. I get it; most Ugandans just want to move the hell on with their lives now. And you know what, we should respect that.
But getting the governments of the affected countries to allow the U.S. military into their territory spells trouble to me. DR Congo, CAR and Sudan all have unstable, corrupt governments. Getting the leaders of these countries to consent to something like U.S. intervention doesn’t seem likely to me. So what am I supposed to say in my letter? Hey, could you organize some conferences with those leaders and get them to let the U.S. military in so they can find Kony? Perhaps this is already been/being attempted. (If it has, feel free to link me to the source.)
Now the Trayvon Martin case. Thinking about this case just makes me want to cry. And I have been on the verge of tears after researching it in more detail. I’m shocked by the ridiculousness of the crime, the Florida law and the police response, even though I shouldn’t be. And I’m disheartened, of course. What really gets to me about this case is that I could have known him. It’s been the cliche floating around in quite a few blog posts and comments, but that could have been my cousin, my friend or my brother, if I had one.
But again, I feel lost as to what to do. I talked to my grandfather about it last night. Now, this is a man that grew up in the Jim Crow south. I expected him to be livid. Looking back, I don’t know why I did. He smiled at my zealousness, at my outrage and said, “Don’t be discouraged if justice isn’t done the way it should be. This country has a history of that.”
But I’m mad. I’m mad that my grandfather, after crying on the night that President Obama was elected, knows that wasn’t the end of racism. I’m mad that there will never be an end to racism. But I am even more mad at the fact that we haven’t come to a point in this country where justice is served in spite of it. And I’m mad that people are ignoring this problem. I’m mad and I don’t know how to convert this anger into a productive course of action.
Lastly, there’s the situation in Syria. I watched a documentary on CNN the other day which gave some journalistic insight. I’ve never respected journalists more in my life. Arwa Damon, who was the “star” of the documentary, so to speak, said that this is why she gets up and does her job everyday, to expose injustice in the world and incite the public to stop it.
But how do you stop it, Arwa? How? The Syrian government is killing their people and there is nothing I can do about it. Again, I could write to my officials. But again, what should I say? “Make Bashar Al-Assad step down and stop attacking his own civilians. Make it stop.” The guy will barely let humanitarian groups in to provide relief.
It’s just not that easy.
I don’t want people half way around to world to be killed senselessly NOR do I want people to be killed senselessly in my country, either. I feel like it’s time for some more justice in this world. I just wish I knew how to help make it happen. And I wish more people would be concerned enough to want to know, as well.