Sunday, January 6, 2008

Really, no one thought this important enough to share with me?

I knew that in college I would learn new things. That was the point of going to college, you know, going forth with my education. I didn't realize, though, my last fourteen some odd years in schooling left out so much. I can confidently say that by the time I was in high school I was well aware of the fact that my education has been, and will be, based around Western thought, ideas and history. I wasn't aware that the truth about Africa, China, Japan and even the countries that made up South America and the Middle East would not be taught to me. Actually, the true histories would never even be brought up.

I get it. I know that it's important for me, as a U.S. Citizen, to know the background of the United States of America and the foreground of the Founding Fathers' ideas and hopes for this country. But, does that mean that all of our general knowledge must be focused around U.S. History and perspective? Can one truly say that this does not, in fact, keep the United States blind to those around them?

I'm sitting in my New International Fiction class and two topics, thus far in the quarter, have come up which have made me feel ashamed to say that I even made it to college: the apartheid in South Africa that occurred in the 1980's and the atrocities of Nanking, China that went on simultaneous to Hitler's rise to power and the genocide going on in Europe (the better known brutality of that time). I even took a World History class in high school but for some reason "world history" apparently means history of the western world.

The other day in class we were watching a History Channel video about the rape of Nanking and the only emotion I could seem to muster up was anger. Pure irateness filled my body. Why is that no one felt the need to explain to me that while "our" WWII was going on there was another HUGE problem between China and Japan. You know, the huge problem being that Japan went in to Nanking, China and raped, pillaged and tortured the Chinese. Unfortunately in history the words RAPE, PILLAGE and TORTURE are heard over and over again so the words seem to lose their "shock" to people.

I can't help but see my peers as people surrounded and engulfed in apathy to what's going on in the world. College students and "young people" are constantly being criticized about not protesting the war, not caring about the world and not doing enough to make the world a better place. But, I don't think this is all to blame on "us". Part of the problem is that a remarkable number of people are not informed about what's going on in this world today. I just don't think it's one hundred percent fair to blame people for not knowing something. Yes, we know that we are in a war and we know that we disagree with it but, what are we supposed to do about it? Will we actually be listened to? Honestly, do we have the right education to even know anything

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