photo/globalpost.com
photo/globalpost.com

It is no surprise that “responsible journalism” is being criticized more than ever in this day and age, with the amount of social media the world now has access to. Citizen participation has reached new levels where people are now becoming their own reporters. The extreme to which people can be involved should be a reminder that we all have a beautiful ability to learn about other parts of the world.

Obviously it is ignorant of me to say “we all” when, according to GlobalIssues.org, at least 80 percent of the world is living on less than $10 a day. These people – and this is just an educated guess – probably have limited access to the media.

For those of us who do have access to media, it’s not that hard to connect with other places in the world. Whether you’re communicating with someone in another country or just watching the news, educating yourself about world events is pretty easy.

I think most people can agree that the above is true. Since Principia students are considered to be in the more “privileged” part of the world, we should all be able to stay informed. On a campus with so many different countries represented, at a school where we focus so much on community, and on a campus with so much modern technology available, it’s especially important and easy to stay informed of world events.

In late September, the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, was attacked by al-Shabaab militants, members of the Somali branch of al-Qaida. The perpetrators killed 72 people, injured 175 and took an unknown number of people hostage inside the mall. The hostages have since been released, the al-Shabaab attackers killed or arrested, and the mall is in ruins.

This is a lot of information. It is a very big deal, especially to the many Kenyan students we have at Prin. But what surprised me most was how little people seemed to really know what was going on.

As the week after went on and the word spread, more people seemed to find interest in the issue at hand and started to ask how they could support Kenya. But why didn’t more people know sooner?

While what happens in Kenya may not affect you directly, it may affect a friend of yours that needs support. We are no longer living in our own little worlds, but one big one. America has been a “melting pot” for different cultures for a long time, and now many countries are, too.

I have a personal bone to pick with “responsible journalism.” The incident in Kenya wasn’t made into that big of a deal in the media past the initial siege, at least not to the extent that it would be if it happened in the United States. I couldn’t even find anything on the news about the hostage situation. I only knew because of my family, who live five minutes from the mall. This was quite upsetting to me and is a good reminder that while we should all develop an international eye, the media is still a less than perfect source.

It’s frustrating to feel like the world doesn’t care about your home, but it hurts even more to feel like your friends don’t care about your home. The world is our home, one giant community that we are all a part of. The least we can all do is be aware of what’s going on. Knowledge is power, after all.

The views expressed in this column are that of the columnist and not of the Pilot.

Image courtesy of Julia Suber