Every day there is a new disaster to consider. In just this past month, we have learned about more floods, famine, earthquakes and general economic collapse all over the known world. I don’t know where you turn for information. I basically watch the so-called news stations. But more and more, lately, I have been seeking alternative sources of information. Yes, I also use Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media to get the who, what, when, where, why, how and how much for all things local, but for the larger picture, I go to other sources.
Just for a quick reality check, try alternately watching or listening to the BBC and then an affiliate of the U.S. news networks on the same day. I’m sure that you, too, will wonder how the same factual incident can appear so different — on the same day.
For additional perspective, I have a regular conversation with a friend, who, as a rule, watches only comedy shows on television.
While I usually get my daily news of the world through the lens of CNN, reporting on the up-to-the-minute events, she gets hers at the end of the day from sitcoms and other variety shows and light fare. As she says, her daily reality “bests” the “worst” on any news show.
My friend and I exchange opinions about the state of world affairs, from our respective perspectives. She reminds me that the awful events that reflect the general human condition, often driven by selfishness and greed, are universal and the only thing we can change is how we think.
Then I am reminded of those wonderful stories that anchor the lessons given in religious books — about how the nature of humankind has remained unchanged, that the same disasters, inhuman acts of violence, etc., have been documented for centuries.
But we do get stories of modern-day miracles — of how the application of new knowledge, i.e., social entrepreneurship and philanthropy, get organized, sometimes in response to natural disasters, to save humankind.
I am presently impressed by a new study, recently published, that suggests that, as we become a more densely organized society — that is, more people living in urbanized environments and subject to greater governance by laws and societal strictures — there is less violence evident; i.e., there has been a reduction in one-on-one crime despite what appears in the media.
Think about it.
Even as we watched it in living color, the great open debate is whether Muammar Gaddafi was assassinated after he surrendered or whether he died from wounds received in a crossfire between rebel forces and Gaddafi loyalists.
Gaddafi has been documented as a brutal murderer of his own people, clearly a candidate for trial on the world stage. That will not happen. Now it is expected that a structured government of laws will be put in place in Libya.
What a great opportunity, again, to get it “mo better.” The Libyans are an ancient people and society. Our own history recounts that one of the earliest foreign wars the United States fought took place “on the shores of Tripoli.” Our interests in that area are not recent and have been tied to the fate of that part of the world for more than 100 years.
Because more and more of the people of that country and, indeed, the world, are moving to cities, more law and order is expected to follow, especially in Libya.
And that is the good news to report.
Meanwhile, I wonder which blueprint will Libya, or any of the other emerging democracies in the Middle East, use to form its new government.
Will the people understand that they no longer have to rely on the recent history of violent dictatorship? That, in fact, there are other models on how to govern human behavior, studies that suggest that a more civil society is possible, that it is expected of human beings living in close society to actually get along, to exist peacefully and in harmony?
Can we get that on CNN?
How do we get the message translated in all the languages spoken around the world?
And where is that sitcom?
Antonia Williams-Gary is a consultant with Miami-based Savings and Grace Enterprise. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Antonia Williams-Gary