I have a confession to make, and that is that whenever something big is happening I will almost always be the last to know. I’m not entirely sure why. It’s probably because I only ever read the supplements and not the actual newspapers, or I watch Have I Got News For You instead of the actual news, but even so I’m active on the internet and you’d think it would be harder for great events to completely pass me by in the way that they do, wouldn’t you?
When the student protests over fees happened last year, I knew about those – and wanted to join them, but parents stopped me. I knew about some of those protests before they happened, I was well aware of all the arrangements, I just couldn’t make it. And I wanted to, because I was angry about it too! As someone who will be a student under the higher fees and the daughter of a careers adviser, I’m well aware of the effect it’s going to have, and it makes me very cross…
When the Occupy Wall Street protests happened … it took me a while. Far too long a while. I saw a post on the WordPress homepage that had photos from the occupation and I think (although I’m ashamed to admit it) that that was the first I knew about it. My news-watching has decreased dramatically over the last few months. Occasionally I tune in for the weather, but more often than not I don’t even think about it.
So yes, big events tend to pass me by.
When I am an adult, and I have perhaps children, or nieces and nephews, of my own, they’ll ask me where I was at a certain time. That’s what people do, isn’t it? Or so I’ve been told at least, not that it’s something I’ve ever done myself, as far as I know. So they’ll say, Mummy, were you in the student protests of 2010? Auntie, did you occupy on the steps of St Paul’s? Mummy, do you remember when…?
I’ll have to say no. Will they wonder why? Will they ask me if I was completely unaware of what was happening? Will they ask me if I just didn’t care?
I do care. I care about the world, and I care about how so much of society seems twisted and wrong, and there are so many improvements we could make. I care about how selfishness affects the poorest the most and I care about previous generations are squandering the world’s resources for young people still to come.
And yes, maybe I was completely unaware some of the time. Maybe it took a while for what was happening to filter through my perceptions of this day and age, and maybe there were a few days when I’d “heard of it but didn’t really know what it was.”
Will I regret that? I expect so. I would like to be able to show my support for causes by joining protests (peaceful ones! Though of course we know that those aren’t always pretty – far from it), but I’m prevented by other commitments, like school.
I am blind to so much of the world. It takes something like a moment like this, or some of the other confessions I’ve had to make (A conversation with a friend: “I have to admit, I wasn’t sure who Michael Jackson was until he died”) to realise that I’m not as knowledgeable and aware as I like to think. It makes me feel guilty.
Does it matter to the world if I know about it? Does it matter to how other people see me? Does their idea about me change when they hear that I didn’t know what was going on all over the world until it had already been happening for weeks?
Or is the rest of my generation just as blind until it affects them personally?
(All pictures via Google Images)