I have chosen the following from Ethan Zuckerman to blog about:
5. Problems are not always obvious from afar (You really have to live
for a while in a society where no one has currency larger than a $1 bill
to understand the importance of money via mobile phones.)
I can emphasize how true this is. It is so easy for us to stand thousands of miles away from a problem, donate some money or material and then forget about everything. These people are not just things that we are helping, they are human beings whom we must help and most importantly engage in helping themselves in a sustainable way. Dehumanization is often referred to in discussions of genocide or other mass killings, but I believe that it is a wide spread problem.
I was at a peace studies conference at Notre Dame in Indiana this past weekend, and there was a panel of business students in a very unique class. Each team of students was given a problem that they had to solve when they reached their particular country. They spent one quarter planning, and the next quarter solving. Across the board, each student said that during the planning process, they felt very empowered and that it would be easy to make a change. Once they got there, the problems seemed to be multiplied over and over again.
It is like looking at a painting. Looking at it from far away, you may think you see the wh*** picture, but only if you really examine it closely can you see the nuances of the brush strokes. There is so much more to see on that level of magnification.