Sunday, 11 March 2012

Not Another Chain Reaction

Every now and again something happens that makes us as a group stand up and take notice. Its normally something so shocking that we can’t turn a blind eye and ignore the situation. We feel compelled to take action and try and change what is going on. This is a good thing, however, it is important to fully understand what we are doing and why.

When we first learn of a tragic accident or human injustice, we can feel compelled to act straight away. We want to jump in and do what we think is the right thing. We act. The problem is, is that we don’t just act, we react to what we have seen, and that is not a good thing.

It is a basic animal instinct to react when something happens to us. We do something without thinking about what is going to happen in the long run. This does not always lead to the best results, and can actually do more harm than good.

As a person in a global community it is now more important than ever to learn how to respond to a situation than to simply react. The difference between responding and reacting is the thought process. Where a reaction is and action without a lot of thought, a response is a well thought-out, highly consider undertaking that looks at all elements of the situation.

When we respond to a situation we take time to ask the basic questions, who, what, where, why, when and how. We then look at the situation with more clarity and not just believe everything we are told. When we don’t ask these questions we never learn about what is happening and we just follow along with what we are being told. This is a dangerous thing if it happens in a mass movement.

Let me give you an example, Kony 2012. There is no doubt in my mind that Joseph Kony is a bad person that must be stopped, however the campaign that has been devised to help bring this man to justice is dangerous. Through a very slick video which targets the younger generation, the Invisible Children is trying to get a reaction not a response. They target young people because they react more than adults. They are trying to get a youth movement built through a lack of understanding and reactions.

One of the reasons that they don’t target older people is because they have a habit of looking past the glossy pictures and wiz bang videos. When I looked deeper into the Invisible Children and Joseph Kony, I found a lot of conflicting information that did not add up. Some of the information in the video was misleading and there are questions about how the Invisible Children charity is run. This means I am now skeptical of the whole campaign.

So don’t allow yourself to be fooled by flashy videos with great music and shock tactics. You are allowed to be upset by what you see and moved to change the world. However, you also need to take time, research the topic, think about what your response will be, make a plan and then take action. This needs to be done in every situation. You will achieve so much more, than simply reacting, or even over reacting to what could be false information.

Terry Shadwell

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