History Repeats Itself in a Speck of Dust That’s Stuck in a Me Loop
The people from Africa and other countries are on a boat fleeing their country, in hope of a better life, like those who came to America in the past (to New York) seeking a better life, but this time, these people are coming to Europe (to Italy). The lack of room on the boat—such as them having only standing room, having to pee while standing, and some dying on the boat—is reminiscent of when slaves were transported through ship, Europeans stuffing as many as they could in one space, not caring if some human beings made it, because they were only thinking about their own interests. Even though it’s hard for these foreigners to leave a familiar environment and tolerate the awful ship ride, they will still need “to assimilate into society, learn Italian, and start life over again.” It’s more advantageous to become more open-minded about the world, experience new things, and strive for a better life, than risk staying in their old countries. “The biggest risk is doing nothing,” a quote from Living Legends, is very relevant for these people fleeing their country. It may even be worth dying to leave—but then again, when the writer tells of a sunken ship with bodies floating at the bottom of sea, and a couple locked in an eternal embrace as they helplessly drowned underwater, one can’t be so sure.
Those native to Europe are scared that the newcomers may be terrorists or have Ebola. Wouldn’t the American people have the same fears, if there was a mass exodus of foreigners going into their country? Surely. With foreigners coming from Mexico and trying to get across the border, Americans are already squeamish about that.
A story like this illustrates that life could always be worse. Even being a college student, going through the crappy minimum wage jobs, the rigors of academia, the complexities of social life, and being exploited by whatever organization we interact with as we grow up, is nowhere near as bad as what these people have to suffer through. Everyone has their own problems, and regardless, problems are problems. Life has no rules—it is, in short, a bunch of bullshit—and what these people must go through is one of the harsher parts of life. Whatever happens to them, ninety-eight percent of the world’s population won’t care, or even know what’s happening. It’s up to the two percent of those involved and those who do care to help them. People are too engrossed in their own lives—technology is fueling their narcissism, where everyone feels like celebrities on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Youtube—but if we all looked at the planet earth from the ends of the universe, seeing what a tiny, blue dot it is, a speck of dust among everything, we would feel humbled, hopefully. Maybe if everyone viewed the planet in that light, we would be more swift with helping others, giving them more value and making them feel more valuable, instead of always focusing on ourselves. People who post on YikYak want their voice heard; they want to believe that their one-sided, out of context comment they post is important to other people, as well as their short, meaningless lives. But that comment that people on social media is merely a speck of dust.
That’s what this problem in Italy is—a speck of dust. Something I did not know about it until I had it as an option for class—and even then, I didn’t want to read it, because I wanted to just go on with my own life. With all of the universes out there, likes the millions of people stuck in video game universes, it’s hard for many people to see that the Italy universe matters. But it does still matter, of course, and it’s important. The problem where these people have to face such hardship to enter a country, go through its trials, and move on to another country, shows that the foreigners are being perceived as irrelevant, because everyone else is thinking, “Me.” The point is, people should care about events like these, instead of being stuck in their own lives all the time. People need to get out of their own universe and explore other universes.
In this “Me” society, is it hard to think “Them” for one moment and help these people, and if so, why? Politics always has something to do with it, of course. It even reads in the article, “Europe needs to see this is their problem too and help out.” Mare Nostrum was designed to save people, but “[t]hough it has saved 120,000 lives,” it also resulted in shipwrecks and starvation that killed 3,000 migrants. Others died by traffickers. These migrants aren’t being housed by altruistic gods of course—accommodating the migrants themselves is a big business, businesses profiting about 10 euros a day per migrant. But they’ve also had to “cut back disability and old-age pensions.” Ciulla agrees that it makes no sense to force these migrants to take a long journey, when they can just purchase a plane ticket, because they will come regardless. Guterres argues, “There’s no humanitarian solution,” and that the situation is political. A plane ticket, instead of going through all these hoops, would be better for them, indeed.
Sad story. What would these migrants say with social media? On Facebook, maybe one posts he is risking his and his family’s life to go on a boat to another country. Twitter: “Going to Europe. #Hopeful. #Wishmeluck.” Snapchat: “Look at these awful conditions,” and it’s a picture of the boat, them all crammed together. Instagram: It would show pictures and pictures, selfies, of them throughout their miserable journey, telling their story. YouTube: It would be a video of their entire journey, from point A to B, or perhaps a clip of them commenting about what they are going through. YikYak: Boat sunk; I swam for days; rescued after seven. Then all those posts get quickly lost in all the others post on the websites, unless they receive enough “Me’s,” or enough likes, favorites, thumbs ups, or shares.
Their posts definitely would be more valuable probably, than the many that are on social media. To those who posted those less valuable posts, I’m sure they would be offended, because they want to be heard, and want to pretend their lives and what they had to say actually mattered. Posts on social media are like click-bait: People click on what they want to click on (bullshit stuff, in other words), not necessarily what they should click on or what’s good to click on. If they showed their miserable conditions—something that can provoke emotion—then they would receive enough clicks for people to care.
But as previously mentioned, every post on social media is a speck of dust. Without social media, maybe they aren’t even a speck of dust? They need writers to tell their story, to even give them a chance to be a speck of dust.