“College students don’t give a damn about world news”.
My professor made this bold statement to a room of Journalism 101 students on my very first day of college. I was offended, to say the least.
Thoughts like “I am here because I do care about the news” and “Isn’t that the whole point of being a journalist?” flew through my mind until I realized she was right.
I did read the news. But while scrolling, if I saw names of countries that were not the United States or articles about conflicts that were not within our borders, I scrolled on.
The thought of it still makes me sick.
I hope my professor would be wrong now. I hope most college kids are not like I was on that first day of class and have used the opportunity to expand their worldview.
But the reality is students come to college to acquire more knowledge and usually their world view stays just as small as it was before.
There are things happening in the world that not only college students, but any resident of the world should be aware of.
It is difficult for us to imagine that as we walk to class, worried about whether the homework will be taken up or whether class will let out early today, that there are people on other parts of the globe being murdered by their own government.
In Syria, the ruling government (the Bashar al-Assad regime), allegedly used a chemical weapon called Sarin gas to kill more than 1,000 rebels and civilians, many of them children. Sarin gas is colorless and odorless and when inhaled it prevents the nerve endings from switching off. In other words, your nerve endings explode. The victim has no control of their muscles because the nervous system is flooded and therefore, paralysis of the lungs leads to suffocation.
Most people may know about the excruciating deaths the Syrian people suffered because we still may take action over it. But many do not know that this civil war has been happening since March 2011. In fact, the death toll is up to more than 110,000, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The numbers for the civil war in the Congo are even more frightening: Millions of people have died, most from starvation and disease brought on by relentless combat since its start in 1998. The UN Security Council is sending offensive military forces to help the government against the Rebels of the Congo — the opposite of what is happening in Syria. Where most outside agents have been on the side of the rebels.
Our world is not the safe illusion that many people live every day.
The United States is not the only country in the world, as hard as that is to believe as we cheer at the football game or eat a chicken bowl at lunch. Our safe, little space in the world is not the same as everyone else’s.
I am not saying you should join the Peace Corps, but be aware. You are smart enough not to scroll past an article because it doesn’t say USA.
Hannah Schilling is a senior journalism and political science major from Bossier City who serves as the features editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to hms...@latech.edu.