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Old 05-17-2008, 08:29 AM
 
34,968 posts, read 37,573,325 times
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^^ I thought of Mrs Jellyby, too

For every social justice goal we can think of, there's a group working to achieve it.

IMO, about all we as individuals can do is contribute to or get involved with organizations that address the causes that speak to us, or start our own operations. Or write, paint, or photograph. Look at what Jacob Riis accomplished, and the guy who took this picture.

(Actually I'm just going to link, I wont force you to look if you dont want to. It's the 1994 picture of the dying child in the dirt in Sudan with the buzzard waiting next to it.) Sudan Watch: Warlords seen as spoilers of Sudan peace process

And - "think globally, act locally"
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:35 AM
 
34,968 posts, read 37,573,325 times
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In looking for an image of Guernica to add to my previous post I ran across this guy's idea - using copies of Guernica in guerrilla art to remind people what war is really like.
"In a nutshell, I'd like to invite any interested groups or individuals to help plaster the USA with billboard size reproductions of Picasso's Guernica. Ideally, the work would stand without any text or headlines or additional commentary: if the painting is all that's seen, it forces the viewer to make an interpretation instead of being told what to think. Being told what to think is exactly what got Americans in trouble in the first place, no?"
American Guernica: A Call for Guerilla Public Art: john t. unger studio

Im not saying war/anti-war, etc. etc. Just - here is an example of someone who feels a moral obligation to help and his idea for getting his goal accomplished.
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:16 AM
 
8,975 posts, read 15,896,823 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 123cop View Post
Here is my question..

I'm not saying the United States should colonize the rest of the world. Although I guarantee many of the people suffering in these 3rd world countries would welcome that with open arms. But I do think it's time for the modern civilized world to do something about these 3rd world nations and their barbaric leaders.


There isn't a simple quick fix but we can't sit idly by any longer and watch these 3rd world countries suffer while we look to solve complex problems for our societies. It's time for all modern nations to fulfill their moral obligations and lend a hand.... yes cowardly Europe, that means you too.
Your sentiments are admirable....and morally sound. In a simpler world, they'd obviously be the "only way to go". But it doesn't work that way. First off, you say the P.C. approach is to "let them solve their own problems"....yes, that's HALF of it...but the OTHER half of P.C. states that anything "we" do, by definition, is going to be "interference by white Westerners into the cherished and ancient traditions of the non-western world"....In other words, we DO feel we should "let them alone", as you suggest...but we ALSO feel we are "unworthy" to help, because to DO so, we'd have to alter their societies...and we can't do that, and not be accused of imperialism, racism, or worse.

Like so many modern social issues, this one has two equally-strong, yet opposing 'sides' to it, and we want to satisfy BOTH. We want to "honor, respect, encourage, and enable" the various cultures of the world (ALL of which we see as being 'equal'..isn't that what multiculturalism is all about?)...yet at the same TIME, we want to give every downtrodden, poor, abused and disadvantaged human on earth a fair chance at a decent, safe life, and a chance at prosperity. THESE TWO VIEWPOINTS, to a large extent, are simply mutually exclusive...period. You simply CAN'T wade into the home of a child-abusing wife-beater, and succeed in getting the WIFE the protection SHE deserves, the KIDS the protection THEY deserve, and meanwhile, allow the "Beater" to go on beating, in accordance with HIS custom....SOMEBODY, in this scenario, is going to lose..and that's what we face in the third world.

We, as liberal Westerners. hate the thought of "telling others how to live". We're deathly afraid of that 'charge' being leveled against us..it's like being called a 'racist'. Yet going into a part of the world where the only government that exists, is the autocratic rule of 'thugs' and bullies, means that ANYONE who goes there...including us...is going to have to sit down at the conference table, shake hands, and begin to "deal" with thugs and bullies..because that's who's in charge there....

And if we expect these 'thugs and bullies', at some point, to stop their bullying..(i.e., to let their OWN PEOPLE have a shot at freedom and a decent life), then it's pretty obvious we're going to have to apply some 'pressure'. The thugs and bullies aren't going to change because they suddenly feel 'guilty'...they're going to have to be pushed into it...and that's where things get sticky. How do you 'push' someone..even a third-world tyrant...without YOURSELF becoming "pushy"? It can't be done...and if you aren't willing to "push", then change will never happen. And most of us in the West no longer have the confidence in ourselves, or in our culture, to resolve to "push" it onto others.

Don't want to get too negative here, but we really can't even "push" our ideals among our OWN citizens. The 'inner city' is a part of America that seems resistant to the 'ideals' of mainstream culture. In the eyes of the public, the problems of the 'inner city' seem, in large part, to be due to the attitudes and behavior of THOSE WHO LIVE THERE. Yet, as much as this may be true, we can't just send well-meaning folks into "the 'hood " and MAKE people behave in ways that would benefit themselves. It has to come from within, and that takes years of patient change. To think we can go overseas and somehow straighten out the Third World, with its centuries-old problems that we can't even comprehend, is simply not realistic.

I guess the best we can do, in the moral sense, is to send out the message that "We're here to help, and when you're ready for change, give us a call. We'll be at your door in 24 hours". But trying to charge in and FORCE people to help themselves isn't a good plan. To the "western mind", what we did in Iraq looked like we were "helping" them....we got rid of a nightmarish monstrous dictator, and allowed the Iraqis a 'fresh start'. To say this was a bit of a 'bad guess' is an understatement. And the results of our misguided "help" fill the news every day.
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,052 posts, read 80,679,852 times
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The people have to free themselves through their own organization and determination.
If we just waltz in and down their government where does that leave them ?
I'd say just like Iraq today.

It's just like us going into third world countries and handing them food. How does that help them in the long run ? It doesn't because now they are dependent on us for their food. We should be teaching them how to farm again and sending tools/seeds over there.

IMHO..we're going about this all the wrong way for instant "free the people" now scenarios.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:42 AM
 
34,968 posts, read 37,573,325 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmeal View Post
I guess the best we can do, in the moral sense, is to send out the message that "We're here to help, and when you're ready for change, give us a call. We'll be at your door in 24 hours". But trying to charge in and FORCE people to help themselves isn't a good plan. To the "western mind", what we did in Iraq looked like we were "helping" them....we got rid of a nightmarish monstrous dictator, and allowed the Iraqis a 'fresh start'. To say this was a bit of a 'bad guess' is an understatement. And the results of our misguided "help" fill the news every day.
OP, if by "we" you meant the federal guv'mint, I think macmeal points out what the US has been supposed to stand for in the world - and has tried to do. That's been the plan, anyway.

It's horrible to think of all the first world' outpourings of contributions that DO NOT chug down to where they're needed, how our best intentions become so perverted. That's "the devil in the details" literally.

To ease our personal longings to help, I do believe getting involved with other groups that feel the same way is the way to go - it's possible that way to go right to the source up close. In the Peace Corps you can go to these countries and teach, dig wells...you can go take photos and write your observations...etc.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:43 AM
 
34,968 posts, read 37,573,325 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmeal View Post
I guess the best we can do, in the moral sense, is to send out the message that "We're here to help, and when you're ready for change, give us a call. We'll be at your door in 24 hours". But trying to charge in and FORCE people to help themselves isn't a good plan. To the "western mind", what we did in Iraq looked like we were "helping" them....we got rid of a nightmarish monstrous dictator, and allowed the Iraqis a 'fresh start'. To say this was a bit of a 'bad guess' is an understatement. And the results of our misguided "help" fill the news every day.
OP, if by "we" you meant the federal guv'mint, I think macmeal points out what the US has been supposed to stand for in the world - and has tried to do. That's been the plan, anyway.

It's horrible to think of all the first world' outpourings of contributions DO NOT chug down to where they're needed, how our best intentions become so perverted. That's "the devil in the details" literally.

To ease our personal longings to help, I do believe getting involved with other groups that feel the same way is the way to go - it's possible that way to go right to the source up close. You can go to these countries and teach, dig wells...you can go take photos and write your observations...etc.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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Sounds very much like Rousseau's, "noble savage" line of thought.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delusianne View Post
Or write, paint, or photograph.
Earlier I only thought of Jacob Riis among photographers who've influenced the world's conscience, but I just remembered S. Salgado whose photos have moved people to - if not always action, at least awareness.
Sebastião Salgado (http://www.terra.com.br/sebastiaosalgado/ - broken link)

A montage of Salgado photos with a first-world teen tune as counterpoint:

YouTube - SebastiÃo Salgado beyond the sea

OP, did you decide what can (or, since this is the C-D Politics forum, "should") be done?
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Old 05-22-2008, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Assisi, Italy
1,845 posts, read 4,090,315 times
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I was in the new airport in Paris back in 1999. A year or two later part of it collapsed without any natural disaster to help it along. A bridge collapses in Minnesota without the aid of mother nature and the engineers blame pigeon poop. Don't we have enough problems?

If you look back to pre 1950's history prior to the Communist takeover, you might see how the West has had a hand in messing up Asia big time. It is like Tanya Harding asking Nancy Kerrigan why she was limping and skating so badly.
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Old 05-22-2008, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,477 posts, read 56,960,908 times
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Hell, we have to help ourselves before we can create the wealth needed to help others. We have to return our economy to wealth creation instead of wealth concentration before we can maintain our own civilization let alone "help" others even if we do have a moral obligation to help.

The devastation in China could be easily matched by the damage a similar earthquake could do in the central US or the San Diego to San Francisco corridor.
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