Another Article to be Forgotten
The Trendiness of Heart-Hitting News
Photo credit:Nancy \u0026 JR - Weebles Wobble
In 2017, the Uyghurs (aka Wiegers) were all over the news. The Uyghurs, as I’m sure you’ve read about in the News section, are a Turkish-speaking, Muslim ethnic group living in the Xinjiang territory of China that have been subjected to such grievances as religious restrictions, sterilization, and forced labor in concentration camps that go against every law of humanity. The ludicrous story of the Uyghurs’ treatment was the headline of every major newspaper, posted religiously on Instagram stories, and was heavily debated in most high school model UNs across the world.
If asked about their opinion on the state of the Uyghurs in China in 2022, most people would respond with a “Huh?” and a scratch of the head, probably confusing the term used to describe a still brutally-suffering ethnic group with weebles, those dopey-looking toys from the 2000s that teetered over with the nudge of a finger and would bounce right back.
The only thing teetering over right now is the human race’s ability to empathize with another people’s persecution for longer than the amount of time it takes to scroll down a phone screen.
We haven’t always been like this. Back in the day, before faxing was obsolete and bigger hair equaled better hair, people consumed news and would hold on to it; they would hold it in their mouths and let their saliva break down all the nutrients it contained so that their bodies would be able to absorb it to the fullest. When there was a war, people would not shut up about that war until it was over or everyone was dead. When the hippies in the sixties were waving signs around with peace signs and rebelling against the police, they weren’t doing it to show off their super cool bell bottoms or their mood rings; they were protesting against the war in Vietnam. They wouldn’t stop protesting until it was over. Hasn’t anybody seen The Trial of the Chicago Seven?
According to second-year Literature student Naomi Labbé-Baddeley, there is such a ‘trendy’ mindset when it comes to crucial world news because “People struggle with separating what is real from what is fake on social media. Instagram has brainwashed humans into normalizing tragedies.”
Similarly, another second-year Literature student, Stefanie Capozzo, stated, "The internet has made it so that news spreads incredibly quickly. However, that also means that it dies quickly. Exposure to so much horror and bad news makes it easy to get disillusioned with the world and give up on caring altogether.”
One of the many growing disadvantages of being a technologically advanced society is that we are losing ourselves not only to the over-exposure of the world around us but to the world, as shown through our ridiculously expensive handheld technology. This same technology desensitizes us to the point where we start resembling the robots that we once feared would take over the world; efficient yet uncaring, the robots that are unable to grasp that sentiments such as grief and empathy are to be felt and shared and that history should not even resemble repetition.
We have a war going on right freaking now in case the general public has forgotten - the war with Russia in Ukraine - the one that everybody thought would unravel into WWIII. For about five minutes. And then everybody gave up caring - the support posts trickled away, and the community outreach programs dwindled until they virtually ceased. And yet, just because we’re no longer as concerned by the plights of others who live halfway across the world, people who we will probably never meet does not mean that they have stopped. Just because we’ve turned our heads away from the television doesn’t mean that Ghostbusters will stop playing.
The most recent update on the war in Ukraine is the killing of at least seven people in a Russian missile strike in the city of Zaporizhzhia in Southern Ukraine. So far, Ukrainian forces have rescued 21 people, but there are likely more deaths, as five people are still missing. The missile strike was a deliberate attempt to strike civilians to ingrain fear in the larger mind of the public as they were aimed at civilian dwellings.
By the time you pick up this paper and read this article, new atrocities will have already developed. There will be more than seven deaths. There will be more to grieve. But if no one is paying attention, if people have given up on caring about the truly heart-hitting news, then the only people who will remember the suffering and the loss of those who may not be remembered. Most importantly, though: remember the Uyghurs.