Some thoughts on Amy Winehouse, Norway and East Africa
Like everyone else I was extremely saddened to hear about the untimely death of Amy Winehouse on Saturday. Her death came far too early and is a huge waste of an incredible talent. The news of the chilling massacre in Norway was similarly sobering.
I guess the thing I find strange about the shocking news of the past few days is how we’re all so quick to talk about tragedies when they involve a celebrity or when they occur in the West, with Twitter and Facebook suddenly ablaze with everyone’s opinions, yet we turn a deaf ear to huge injustices concerning average people elsewhere in the world on a daily basis. Whilst the events concerning Amy Winehouse and Norway are irrefutably hugely devastating tragedies, and my heart goes out to all of their loved ones, they are events that we cannot change. We can’t bring Amy Winehouse back to life, nor can we do anything to help the victims of the Norway attack.
However, there are so many things that we can help with that never seem to gain anywhere near as much attention. Maybe I’m wrong but it feels like far more weight has been attributed to the aforementioned incidents than has been given to the recent crisis in East Africa, where people are facing the worst famine in nearly sixty years, affecting up to eleven million people. I know that every life is sacred, and that no person’s life is more valuable than another, but I find it hard to comprehend the huge imbalance between the attention given to Winehouse and Norway with that given to East Africa, where we still have a chance to affect the outcome of the crisis, and where 110,000 times more lives are at stake (if we’re to put a snappy statistic on it). My Tumblr feed was full of pictures of Winehouse and Norwegian flags, but what of the casualties in East Africa? Where are their tributes?
I’m not going to write a preachy blog about poverty statistics (although if you want a page rammed full of painful stats then this one is a good start) but I wish that we were similarly affected by the injustices that go on every day, which we still have the power to change - and I wholeheartedly include myself in all of this. I’m certainly no saint! I popped into the Apple store on Saturday afternoon to weigh up the merits of buying a MacBook Air when my current laptop dies (it’s on its last legs), yet while I contemplate buying a flashy new laptop that I don’t strictly need, people are dying - at a very basic level because we continue to gorge ourselves on crap that we don’t need in the West, rather than concerning ourselves with helping others who can barely stay alive.
To finish with a phrase that I can’t stand … jus’ saying.
You can donate money to the East Africa food crisis through Christian Aid here.