With the Arab Spring, the middle east has come to my attention. It was always there, comically in a way almost but no. There is always a problem in the middle east. But for me, growing up with a father in the air force during the time of the Gulf War, I have always been aware of a problem in the desert, in this exotic region so different in every way from my own.
Growing up, I guess I just glazed over it. I dont know if its an immaturity thing, or maybe I just couldnt grasp it at that point, what was really going on. I just knew it was about religion and God and America and Sadam and good, bad, all that. When something is already happening when you come upon it, and it continues while you continue, it becomes.. normal, maybe even cliche in a young mind. It simply exists.
As I got into my later 20s, I started paying more attention to the news. I had always watched the news, or checked CNN at work a couple of times a day, I assume most people do that. Early on I wasn’t reading into politics or international affairs, just things I could relate to. Around the time I started at UD is when my interest in politics and society grew. Small at first, but once it took hold, it did not let go. By the time I graduated, I was watching the news 3 hours a day, reading all that I could about politics, thinking about ways to use my skills in graphics to possibly make a difference to support what I thought would be right. Maybe I am still in that mindset, I can’t tell right now.
When the Arab Spring started to happen, I was in full swing, addicted to politics mode. It caught my attention. Something was different. It wasn’t simply the historical aspect of it all, but my ability to comprehend it. It shook me up a little. Maybe my eyes glazed over, it was normal that over in the middle east, people were dying every day, living in the desert, women being oppressed. And I do know there are great parts of the middle east where this doesnt happen, but I didnt gain that knowledge until I went looking for it.
I’m a white girl, middle class, I live in America. I have it pretty good. Its hard for me to fully understand what life must be like in the middle east. And because of my ignorance, it doesn’t affect me, and thus, I don’t have any actions to stop it. But now with the Arab Spring, something with me has changed. I don’t know if its simply that I am older, adult and grown up and I can handle it now. I don’t think that’s it entirely. I understand it more in relation to myself. We are all humans, at the base of it all. There is a link between all of us, and a lot of people don’t want to recognize that, which is, simply put, killing the world.
Watching it all unfold has been memorizing. Truly. To watch revolution happen in the age of YouTube is quite amazing. Not all of it is pretty, most of it is gritty. But it got to me. It got to me because I too, am part of this generation, the emerging generation. We all exist inside different circles, linked to one another. So I woke up, and I have a hard time describing what the difference was in how I viewed the middle east when I was young versus now. I just didnt have the experiences, the understanding to comprehend it all. Maybe I still dont, but it’s partially loading at least.
So I have had more interest in knowing what is going on, so I watch more news coverage of the middle east, and as the Arab Spring has spread, my knowledge has grown. Libya got a lot of attention, partially because the US and NATO were involved. Egypt turned quickly. Libya, it took a little bit. Only 6 months. It’s funny when you compare it to civil wars of countries past.
While watching and reading all that I could about this particular part of the spring I started to hear more and more about the “Pan Am Disaster” which I hadn’t heard of before. I was only 3 years old when it happened. Im sure I heard about it here or there, referenced somewhere, but I never really knew the incident or what happened. I didnt know what a horrible atrocity it was.
I read the Wiki article on it, in its entirety. It is one of the hardest things I have ever read. How the people on the plane died, how the plane came apart, all these facts down to a science, it was massively depressing. I had never read something like that before, that was so to the point, but unabashed. I was reading it like visual information, just information, this is what it was, in letters. It will never leave me, I am sure of that.
And I hope there is someone out there, who reads that article and feels the same way I do. But at the same time, I hope no one would ever know what it feels like to realize it.
I dont understand.