In today’s world, where the information flow is globalized, certain wars exist only when they are talked about. We are outraged just enough time to allow the date to change on the site, we behave like sheep putting flags on social networks when somebody proposes (or “imposes”). We are pawns in a mechanism, imprisoned – without us realizing it – on a chessboard which is much bigger than us. Our hears are myopic, managing to see only what the media puts forward, and the media in its turn, in most cases, are driven by the logic of power.
Thus, if someone suggests it, we all become Charlie Hebdos, we all paint our profile pictures in the colors of the French flag and we all post tears, prayers, and indignation. Yet, we do not remember the rest. The massacre on a playground in Pakistan, for example. The victims were mostly women and children… How is it that we do not become Pakistanis? Then, the terrible war in Yemen, six thousand dead, civilians who were killed during bombings, a third of the victims of the conflict are children… Why are we not Yemenis?
Traditional media do not say it, and yet, something happens in Yemen every day and the same is true for Vietnam or Africa. The fact that some information may not be given, or some conflicts are no longer told, does not mean that nothing is going on.
Pope Francis raises awareness on what the powerful of the world have removed from the conference table. He did it yesterday, recalling the war in Ukraine, organizing a collection in the churches of Europe to help the desperate people; a conflict that had filled the newspapers during most of 2014 and part of 2015, then disappeared from the radar of information. He did so also when he decided to make a dangerous journey to the “black continent”, reaching the heart of Central Africa where violence constantly feeds itself.
Meanwhile, there is a war going on in the Turkish Kurdistan between the Turkish army and the separatists from the PKK, a war that does not receive much attention. Nigeria surfaces in the news a bit more often, but only in case of heinous crimes: President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim and militarist, had promised a return to order and the defeat of Boko Haram in Nigeria, yet, terrorists affiliated to ISIS have not abandoned the territories in the north, where entire regions are occupied.
The world of information turns the spotlight on and off when it wants to do so, or following the directions of someone who pulls the strings from above, knowing that most of the planet will open eyes only when it will find horror “online” or “on air “. Francis, like a modern “lamplighter”, sheds light where he sees that someone has obscured it, giving back color to the faces of thousands of sufferings that were abandoned in the darkness of indifference.
It is up to us – like it happened in London in 1690, when an ordinance was issued that asked everyone to expose a lumen or a lantern at sundown – to leave our own lantern on. “Not to forget”, an expression which is so fashionable today. But truly.