Dear Keyboard Warrior: the disenfranchised are not all distant

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I read a comment recently on a Facebook thread which was connected to an article that addressed the disenfranchised youth that exist, in New Zealand and the ways in which they can be helped, specifically through creative industry.

The comment on this post said many things but most notably it said: “cry me a river, save it for the Syrian Orphans”

It is inarguable that people who are in war zones like Syria are going through immense strife. The state of Syria and the war on terror is an incredibly complex issue, which we do need to know about – because where we can we do need to help the ‘Syrian Orphans’ or the disenfranchised of the east – but knowing about eastern problems doesn’t mean denying western issues. Nothing is achieved this way.

The mindset that there is always someone worse off is valid in some contexts, but it doesn’t take away the fact that we, in New Zealand are having problems as individuals and as a nation, our disenfranchised kids still matter and exist, our housing crisis and the existence of poverty in our nation is still valid, even though the state of Syria might be considered worse off.

There are disenfranchised people everywhere, some are more deprived than others, depending on how you measure oppression – but I mean, how does one go about making up that measuring stick?

Every single person deprived of human needs and rights is deserving of help, but it is not until we help those close to our home that we can reach out and assist those further afield, the saying “it starts at home” is fundamental because that is our place to start.

You can send money to aid agencies in Syria, that’s a wonderful thing to do, but does that mean you don’t help others closer to you in your hometown or nation?

Of course not, if you got a knock on your door from the local St Vincent De Paul collection you wouldn’t say “Sorry I can’t give you a can of baked beans, I already sent aid money to Syria”. You’d help both nations and we must acknowledge the problems of both nations.

Syria and New Zealand are completely separate, with individual problems. These problems are perhaps different in size, but denying an arguably smaller problem to help an arguably bigger one doesn’t make the bigger problems smaller, it makes the smaller problems bigger – eventually.

It literally makes zero sense to deny a western problem in order to support an eastern one and I mean anyway, does making comments like this person did really help any marginalised group of society?

Keyboard warriors commenting on a Facebook post will not defeat the rebels. You cannot see to the end of the war on terror by denying the existence of poverty and deprivation in New Zealand, it doesn’t help anyone to be a keyboard warrior.

In order to solve problems, we must take educated actions across all areas of society that we find ourselves in, but it does start at home, from there we reach out, and we can discuss this using social forums positively and with compassion in mind.

If you’re wanting to know about what’s happening in Syria, but are confused as to where to start I recommend this video 


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