Here’s Another News Report
Strikes me as somewhat sad and condemning that we are currently seeing more news reports, tributes and commentary on the life of Rosa Parks than we are about the ongoing disaster zone in Pakistan. Read here for a blog on the spot.
I’m a history buff, particularly 20th Century history. The human story started racing ahead as we filled more pages than we ever dreamed of with our ideas of progress, philosophy, invention and prevention. We cured diseases and discovered new ones. As quickly as our ability to record our history developed, so did our voracious apetite for preserving our triumphs and tragedies in all forms of prose, image, moving image, soundbites and cyberspace.
Throughout history the human race have been storytellers. In every culture, we have maintained, developed and kept our history in the oral tradition. In our storytelling, it becomes nearly impossible to resist the urge to bring out the romance of every story. Sometimes I think this has skewed our ability to determine what is pre-meditated intent, and what is unintentional influence as we write, re-write and re-tell our stories.
I loved the Rosa Parks story. I loved her for her stubborness, for her simpleness. For her ordinariness. She was just a woman who was tired at the end of a long day. But in no Modern History Of America, nor even in the journals of the Civil Rights movement, did I ever read or even come to understand that there was pre-meditated intent behind her actions on the bus that day. Her humility in admitting even then, that she simply couldn’t be bothered make her admirable.
Long Way to Pakistan
Now that she’s dead, her heroism is even easier to grasp hold of. Let’s re-tell the story. And fair enough, because human beings need to hear our own stories of triumph and stubborn unwillingness to give in, in order to inspire us. Now there will be a Movie of the Week, and family estates that will benefit. And all of this is good and acceptable, because it will raise awareness of an important story. The ordinary can triumph, your voice can be heard, you can make a difference.
But at the cost in our news reports, of remembering the current human story. The tragedy and need that is so malignant, growing each day, in a part of the world where individual heros are so rarely recognised, and yet we have the opportunity to do so much without needing to be praised for it. Daily the body count will continue to grow, and we will mourn one hero after another as they pass on through the rest of 2005.
We will perpetuate the practice that we venerate Rosa Parks for contributing to ending. We will discriminate the plight of a nation, and villify the value of one life with our remembrance, while thousands and tens of thousands die while we continue not to tell their story.
Donate money, do whatever you like. Switch channels and speak knowingly at the water cooler about the disproportionate and discriminatory media.. do whatever you like. But do it honestly, in light of the fact that as a human race, we are still plagued with our own hypocrisy.