Neighbors Around The Globe: Why We Should Pay Attention To Overseas Tragedies

We can all agree we live on one planet, right? We may look different; we may speak differently and we may live in different countries, but when it comes down to it, we all share one home.

Just look at a globe; we’re all there, even if you can’t see us. So, why is it so hard to agree on the fact that what happens on one side of the globe happens to all of us?

The more technology, the more knowledge we have, right? We have an immense amount of access to the news; just Google a news story or download an app on your phone, and you’re ready to go. We know so much, but do we really even care?

The situation in Ukraine hits close to home, as I was born there, and the majority of my family still lives there. I think a lot more about it than I care to say out loud because I feel like there’s just so little I can do from here.

My closest friends know all the facts and details about the stories and coverage in Ukraine and Russia, which, honestly, means the world to me because I know they wouldn’t pay attention if it weren't for me, but what about everyone else?

What about the people who don’t have a close Ukrainian or Russian friend? Does a tragedy matter if it doesn’t affect you in some way?

How about this: Say Ukraine goes to war with Russia; Russia takes over Ukraine; Russia doesn’t get enough and goes for other countries in Europe. Then, let's say America needs to get involved, and your brother, wife or son joins the army and is sent to Europe to fight -- then what? Will it matter to you then?

One of my biggest fears is not doing something because I don’t think I am capable of making a difference. Right now, things seem okay, but everything can change in the blink of an eye, and I think that’s something everyone knows a little too well.

Take, for instance, tragedies that do occur in the states. We hold memorials; we create museums; we write about them in history books. We do anything and everything to commemorate those we lost and to prevent other tragedies from occurring again.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum is there to remind us all of the painful event which occurred 15 years ago. It’s engraved in America’s history, in the world’s history.

This year was the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, and there’s so much our generation doesn’t know about it. I was lucky enough to visit the memorial in Kigali and learn about it, but I hate admitting that I was clueless beforehand. During my walkthrough, there was a quote that said:

When they said ‘never again’ after the Holocaust, was it meant for some people and not for others?

This quote reaffirms that tragedies will keep happening, regardless of how awful the consequences may be. Close to a million innocent people died, including infants and children who couldn’t even create an opinion if they tried.

They couldn’t defend themselves, but there were billions of people on this planet who could have helped, but chose not to because they didn’t believe they could make a difference. They were afraid of the risk, so they chose to be ignorant.

As a generation with more technology, more entrepreneurship and more communication, I choose to believe that we can do something to prevent these tragedies, even if they’re not directly affecting us.

I choose to believe that we are capable of caring about strangers -- about people in need, about children who truly need our help -- even if they don’t look like us or talk like us.

It may be as simple as spreading the message so people are truly aware of what is going on in our world; it may be as difficult as stepping beyond our comfort zones to complete a mission trip, selflessly and ambitiously.

I promise I will do everything in my power to make this planet a better place for not only us, but also for our children and grandchildren and the other innocent strangers of the world.

I genuinely hope you will make the same vow because tragedies hold more importance than where they occurred and who they directly affected.

Photo Credit: Vanessa Black