I hardly ever watch the news on TV anymore
“I hardly ever watch the news on TV anymore,” my colleague said the other day. “All you hear about is killings, wars, crimes … I’m tired of sad and depressing news.”
It may be a general trend, because the same phenomenon has been observed in France, where one of the comedy shows, Scenes de ménage, on the TV channel M6 has higher audience ratings than the 8 o’clock evening news.
My colleague continues: “Every day I get hundreds of emails, many of them coming from NGOs, development organizations and aid associations and often requesting increased funding for this or that crisis. However, what I do not like,” he said, “is always this negativity in the messages: ‘there is not enough funding’; ‘national governments do not do enough’, etc. Would it not be nicer sometimes to hear about a glass half-full instead of always hearing about the glass half-empty? There are many ways to present an issue, and it would be nice to read something a little more positive, at least sometimes.”
Yes, we all know that the world is in crisis, that multilateralism is almost non-existent, that we will have our backs to the wall if something is not being done to reshape our world and make it better for everybody. True, there are humanitarian disasters and natural catastrophes and ruthless dictators that murder their own people. Villages and towns may be attacked, the people massacred, the children abducted the women raped, but eventually (after distressing delays) the international community reacts. It may take time, but these problems eventually make it on to the international agenda. The media are alerted. Politicians are made to face their responsibilities. Money is found. And the situation improves: people return home, the guilty ones are caught, killed or flee and, who knows, the situation may be even better than before.
How come, better than before? Communities who have been chased from their homes by armed conflict may eventually reach “rock bottom”, that is to say they find themselves lost and alone in the wilderness with no food, no shelter and very little hope. But it is a tribute to human ingenuity that sometimes these communities have turned deficiency into advantage. Through pure necessity the whole community has formed a single body to build shelters, clear the land, plant crops, open a medical centre, find teachers and start a school. There are even cases where, after a few months, they have been sufficiently strong to refuse the help of international aid agencies. They have decided that they have confidence in nobody but themselves—and who can blame them? When they return to their homeland, they are strong, self-sufficient and, dare I say it, wiser. Their glass is half-full.
On these positive notes we wish you all a wonderful day
John and Marit