Monday, January 14, 2008

the power of 60 minutes

Last night Anderson Cooper and 60 Minutes did a story on the current conditions for women in the Congo. This morning six people either emailed me or came by my desk to talk about the story and what they could do about it.

Women being raped and tortured in the Eastern Congo certainly isn't a new story. Sadly, it's an old and tragic one. The government in the Congo has done nothing. The international community, for the most part, hasn't done much either.

And yet today all I could think was that one news story has suddenly turned so many heads. I wondered what would happen if stories like this were covered with more frequency. If more people were given the facts, if more people were forced to watch the truth about violence like this--and I don't mean the stupid, gratuitous violence of North American films--would some people take action?

I've been thinking about this all day. Is it the media's fault, for not covering the story and informing the public? Or is it the public's fault for just not caring? On good days (like today) I like to believe it's the former; I like to believe that if only people knew, they'd want to help.

There are, after all, people doing amazing things. For example, there are these people, who are organizing runs to raise awareness and funds for Congolese women; there are these people, who are equipping the women in the Congo with education, job skills training, and a support system; and then there are the people at Human Rights Watch, who do so much great work.

On bad days though, I think it's the latter, that people just suck. And as much as I'm on a bit of a people-really-care-and-the-world-isn't-so-bad high today, it's quite likely that I'll have one of those bad days tomorrow. And I'll wish I were ignorant. Kind of.


Anonymous said...

I don't even have the strength to comment on this post. I wish I could find it, but I can't.

complain away said...

I wish you could too, but I understand.

I actually had dinner last night with someone who asked me, and I'm using exact words here, "so why's this Obama guy in the news so much lately?"

I thought he was asking what was currently going on with Obama's campaign, and I started talking about Iowa and New Hampshire. And then he said, "I don't even know what you're talking about. I was asking who that Obama guy IS."

I couldn't find the strength. I just excused myself and went to the bathroom.

complain away said...
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