Is Our World Getting Worse, Or Maybe Better?
You make the road by walking on it.
- Nicaraguan saying
The world changed on February 11, 2011. You may have considered it a minor news item as you went about making a life for yourself. But the incident may have marked the beginning (or at least a major step) of a change in human history. Life on our planet may be different--may last longer and be more peaceful and cooperative--as a result of what happened.
Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt
for the past three decades, resigned and left his country. True, presidents leave office around the world frequently. This departure was different.
It began with demonstrations in Tahrir (Liberation) Square, Cairo. Eighteen days of noisy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people. Without violence or anyone being trampled to death, almost unprecedented in demonstrations of this nature.
Most world watchers consider the Middle East
the most likely place for a Third World War to begin, an area where peace
seemed to suffer at the hands of an endless parade of violent protesters, demonstrations, wars, oppression and repression. You and I lived through an occasion that may prove that all of the political forecasters have been wrong.
Not only did Egyptians find a way to enact change using peaceful demonstrations, the rest of the Arab world watched, cheered and agreed that change is possible by methods other than violent ones.
When forecasters saw the president of Tunisia leave office as a result of demonstrations, they expected the rest of the Arab world would burst into flames--into revolutions and insurrections--in similar demands by average people. It didn't happen. In almost every Arab
country the people have begun to agitate for change toward better political representation, better treatment by the police, legal and penal systems, better human rights and the departure of leaders who prevent such changes from happening.
Demonstrations--peaceful ones--have happened in Algeria, Jordan and Yemen. The regime in Syria
has banned all demonstrations. Demonstrations
happen regularly in Iran. The independence vote in Sudan--relatively free of violence by Sudanese standards--should see the south of the country become a new nation within a few months. Some of the most unsettled parts of the world are in change.
If your only source of information about our world is the media, you must feel that life on our planet is much worse now than it was when you were younger. The problem is not our planet, but your sources of information and the fact that you know more now about the world than you did years ago. The media focus on bad news because they have persuaded us that bad news is what we want to hear. Extremely few provide good news. The media have brainwashed themselves as well as many of us.
Fewer wars are underway in the world than ever before, according to the United Nations. Humans are doing more good work around the world today than ever before in human history. Individuals are helping individuals, groups are helping individuals and groups. Schools are opening where they have not existed before or where they had been closed due to war or repressive regimes.
Don't bury yourself in the bad news spread by the media. Learn about the good things that are happening all over the world, including in your own community.
When you do, the world will look like a much better, more peaceful, more valuable, more progressive worldwide community of people helping people than you ever imagined.
Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents, grandparents and teachers who want to teach children the knowledge and skills they need beyond school curriculum in order to become healthy and well balanced adults.