Where Were You?

I was going to blog about sex toys and friendship today (sorry mum!), but that’s going to have to wait in light of recent events. I find myself starting to reflect on what’s been happening and I guess I felt the urge to write it down. Trigger warnings apply.

Where were you when Princess Diana died? I was 5 but I remember it. A pretty princess dying in a car crash in Paris while I sat with my dolls in my living room in St Lucia. My parents looking surprised. The flowers and the tears.

Where were you when 9/11 happened? I was almost 10 years old. I was eating breakfast before school when I saw the footage on TV. Frantic calls to my family in America confirmed they were ok. Our overly religious grade 5 teacher asking us to pray together.

Where were you when the Indian Ocean Tsunami occurred? I was 13. My mum and I had taken a historic trip to South Africa and had just celebrated Christmas with a couple of mince pies in our hotel room. There was so much loss. I remember feeling my heart break.

Where were you when that earthquake hit Japan, resulting in the Fukushima Nuclear disaster?  I was 19 and in university, preparing to go to Japan for my year abroad. My aunts and uncles told me not to go, that the radiation would kill me in minutes, but I tuned them out. I had a job and gave what I could.

Flashbulb memories are something we all go through. We remember where we were when something major happened that affected us. The weather, the people we were with, the conversations that were had. We wrap these big events into little blankets of our own design, and accurate or otherwise this is normal. This is human.

But lately I’ve been wondering about something. We are far more connected as a world than we’ve ever been before. The access we have to information is unprecedented; the information itself immense. But with this comes an expanded awareness of the rest of the world and their struggles. Events don’t have to be massive and affect a large portion of the globe for us to know about it. The rape and assault of a woman can become worldwide news, be it east or west. We hear about floods all over the world, and we stand in solidarity with the loss of LGBT lives through our donations and our profile pictures. 

You’ll hear a lot of people say “the world was a lot safer back in the day.” A weird sentiment considering all the wars and unrests that have happened in modern history. I mean, don’t act like the Vietnam war was over what colour drapes the Vietcong wanted the US to use in the oval office. Don’t pretend that the Civil Rights movement was in the 1800s, and the riots in mostly-black neighbourhoods in America and the UK are new things created by bored millenials. World events haven’t changed so much as the world, and by extension us, have.

We are slowly, carefully, and not without fault or resistance becoming one. With the advent of the internet, our connections to major events become less tenuous, as we see ourselves in the tragedies that take place around the world. Is it a good thing? Perhaps. On the one hand we are connected with so many people, but on the other hand it’s impossible to care for everyone all of the time, and you’ll find a lot of people don’t want to. Either way it’s definitely a change.

So I guess the question has to change too. We should no longer ask “where were you”. We should ask “what are you going to do about it?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s