Monday, March 25, 2013

Just needed to rant about charity

I found myself on Facebook, as I often do. A comedian I'm following posted a link which showed up in my feed. It's an indiegogo project titled Education for Rwandan Orphans, which seeks to... well, this snippet from the page itself explains it nicely:

"The plan is to raise $20,000 here on Indiegogo to send an additional 10 children to school for the next year. This provides their tuition, uniforms, beds, food, school supplies and random gifts throughout the year for Chistmas and their birthdays. Additionally, it provides English and Math instructors to teach classes at Noel for the children that continue to live there."

(For those unfamiliar with Indiegogo and similar sites, the idea is to crowdfund a project, and each person who contributes typically receives some kind of benefit for their investment. In the case of a charitable fund like this, you're just getting photos or hand-made jewelry as a thank you for the money being pledged, so it's essentially a donation)

Now obviously I'm not terribly familiar with the situation in Rwanda, being the American-raised egocentric young man that I am. I can't afford to donate money to such a cause at this time, but even so, I appreciate people spreading the link in an effort to share it with people who would be able to and want to donate.

Well, you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when I glanced at the comments on the post on Facebook. The top comments were all asking about where the fundraisers for American orphans were. That in itself is a legitimate question, but it wasn't just that. People were demanding to know why they should care about Rwandan orphans when there are children in need here in the states. That deeply concerned me.

To my abject horror, a comment which read, and I'm quoting exactly, "Fuck them, where is the help for American orphans?" received over 200 'likes' from people reading it. Keep the context in mind. We're not talking about politicians or pop culture personalities, or anyone else who has done anything deserving of spite. We're talking about orphans. Destitute, underprivileged orphans in Rwanda, accompanied by a simple humble request to help improve their situation, and over 200 people like the fact that a guy literally said "Fuck them."

America, this is why we have the reputation that we do. What's more, this is right at the root of all the problems mankind faces in this modern age. Despite all the leaps and bounds we've made technologically and culturally, we still cling to this notion that the people we care about, the people closest to us, are intrinsically more valuable than everybody else.

Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Now listen, it's absolutely true that there are children right here in America who need a helping hand. As such, I encourage anyone who can afford to do so to go online and find a reputable charity like Feeding America to donate to, if that's what you want. There are tons of privately-funded college scholarships that are aimed at helping underprivileged youth; cut them a check if you want to help. Hell, if you're as broke as I am, you can even help with advertising-based charities like The Hunger Site and its sister sites:
The Hunger Site

But that's not what those people who made those comments wanted. If I actually replied to those comments with links to American charities for children, I seriously doubt the complainers would follow through and make a donation. They never wanted to help children. They just needed another thing to be self-righteous and indignant about online, because acting high-and-mighty and criticizing people who are trying to make a difference is far easier than actually being a good fucking person.

As usual, I see I'm getting a bit hypocritical today. I'm basically just being righteously indignant myself, so it's no better than the people who were spiting random orphans they've never met. The difference is I'm unemployed, and have still probably given more to charity than those commenters.

The reason I'm taking this so seriously is because this behavior is just one more example of people failing to understand where human strife comes from. Here's your hint: it comes from other humans. Being uncaring, or worse indignant, about the needs of other people isn't just rude, it's detrimental to the world at large. As long as you think in selfish pack-mentality terms, "Look out for my own and fuck everybody else," the world will never be at peace. Every war ever fought, every bloody conflict, every genocide, and hell, the very circumstances that led to Rwanda being in the state that it's in, could have been prevented if people just tried for a few minutes to give half a fuck about the well-being of people they've never met.

Being nice to somebody you know and like is nothing. People do it every day. Hell, otherwise selfish people will help people around them just for the recognition of it. Maybe you can get a warm fuzzy for it, but it's no great testament to your character. Giving completely selflessly, to help total strangers that you will never even meet, knowing fully that you or even anyone you know will never personally benefit from the act, purely because it's the right thing to do: that is kindness. That is charity. That is what the allegedly good Christian people of this nation are supposed to aspire to.

And there's hypocrisy point 2: I'm telling the good Christian people of America how to be better Christians, all while saying things like Bull Fucking Shit. Okay, fine, you got me on that one.

I guess my point is just that I don't understand what's so hard about this. It's not even like you need to show a herculean display of charity and compassion. All I'm asking is that people not show outright contempt for the needs of other people. Is that such a ludicrous request for me to make? Are we so enveloped in our own cycle of self-indulgent consumerist greed that the notion of doing anything for the good of a total stranger is actually offensive? I pray we're not that far gone. Surely there are people who left who aren't so blind.

And before you say anything, John, you're in England, so you don't count. Sorry. Thanks just the same, though. You're a blessing, sir.

Alright, I'm through here. Try to be good to each other, and don't limit it to the ones you can see in front of you.

Peace and love, readers of the world.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, well written. Kindness is a rare commodity nowadays.