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This past week I've been going through a moment of intently reflecting on certain things—to the point where I've almost been borderline dissociative.
It started with my senior project and a simple conversation with a long time friend. I had been researching about the current human rights issues of my country, which then quickly led me to problems that were interconnected—such as the use of Libya as a gateway to Europe for those originating from Africa and the Middle east and the journey they are tasked with. I began to then learn about the Libyan dictator Gaddafi and how he managed to manipulate Europeans fears of black people becoming the majority for a profit. According to MSNBC, the European Union, in 2008, cut a deal with the the Libyan dictator, agreeing to pay $500 million in exchange for keeping migrants away. Gaddafi received an additional $5 billion over 20 years.
I discussed my thoughts and confusion with a friend. We'll call her betty.
I told her I couldn't comprehend how you could get angry at people that want to live on the land that flourished from the destruction of their own. That I couldn't understand how you could pay to keep said people out, returning them to the chances of slavery and imprisonment, in the disguise of reparations. I asked her "why are we demonizing those that have gone to such great lengths to obtain a better life for themselves and their children?"
Did Betty answer my question? Nay.
She decided to look me into my eye sockets and inform me in that precise moment on something that she has, unfortunately, been pondering on.
"Why do you stress yourself out with politics when you know it'll just cause you anger? You could be using all that energy to focus on your education."
I preceded to inwardly go through all the phases of
—and quickly contained myself and actually gave what she said some thought. I've explained to her (and many others) that due to their appearance, they are afforded the luxury of seeing certain situations as just politics, as it doesn't directly affect them. Though I still found myself contemplating if I gave off the portrayal of being in a never ending state of anger and if others found me tiring to be around because of it?
I then proceeded to wonder—how can you not worry about these things?
My friend betty has the mentality of something I've seen a billion times over—an individual that tries to convince you that their emotional deficiency is a skill, and that their ability of being neutral or avoiding approaching something seen as "controversial" is a trait that should be acquired by the majority.
Mentality such as these are why, even in the era of social media, Flint still doesn't have water, Libya/ Mauritania is still dealing with slavery, refugees are dying in detention facilities, and discrimination still persist.
The worst form of oppressors are those who become indifferent to others suffering in the name of neutrality, unaware of their own complicity. The silence of those with a supposed strong understanding of morals and ethics will always be louder than the perpetrators.
Leave this earth with the knowledge that you left it in a better place then when you first came upon it instead of being a bystander when things don't directly affect you.