While we wait, the world spins. Tweets flood my screen by the second, as the revolutionary flame spreads, earthquake strikes, bookstore chain bankrupts, oil prices rise, Joan Didion fell and broke her collarbone, John Keats died today 190 years ago, iPad 2 comes out March 2, Oscars countdown begins. My head hurts.
The more I’m connected, the more the distress. But I still avoid falling into the escapist trap claiming ‘ignorance is bliss’. I think of it as the price to pay as a citizen of the world. Will I feel better not knowing about those dying on the streets revolting against a dictator, or that hundreds are buried in the rubbles of their homes, even when they are thousands of miles from me? Is it better not knowing? The answer is obvious.
With a series of uprising that started with a Tunisian fruit vendor setting fire to himself in protest, it’s all about a voice being heard. Thousands of miles away in the 5th most liveable city of the world, I sit comfortably on my couch checking tweets and blogging away. It almost feels surreal.
But as I listened to an interview about how people braved death to go out on the streets, I began to see the significance of this receiving end. If it’s about a voice being heard, we who are on the other side of the world are doing just that… we’re hearing that voice, and witnessing the domino effects. Sure, there are more practical ways to participate in the cause of democracy, or to help the victims of earthquakes, or to support surviving booksellers… but we who are merely checking our tweets, reading articles, and watching news clips are hearing those voices. Our awareness is a form of participation, the least we can do. A beginning.
Despite joining Twitter recently, I’m still an advocate of slow blogging. Opposites juxtapose in this postmodern world. While I’m checking out news feeds and relevant articles as quickly as time allows, I am slowly digesting and mulling over their content, and listening carefully to the multiple voices speaking out.
The world spins at a speed I can’t control. But it’s in stillness that I can make some sense of it. The voices deserve my quiet attention.