Even as I typed out the title for this piece, I knew it would never live up to the thoughts in my head. Carrie Fisher passed away yesterday and my Facebook newsfeed exploded with tributes. It's still exploding with tributes. I wholeheartedly understand what she meant to a generation of people of all ages. She was strong and fierce and outspoken. She refused to kowtow to mainstream standards of how women "should" behave. She inspired generations of young women. She was one of our icons. It's sad that she's gone.
Some of her quotes:
My thoughts turned to Aleppo yesterday amongst all the posting about Carrie Fisher. I was struggling to understand why so many people would post about a single actress and her untimely passing rather than posting about the horrors of Aleppo. I've seen countless articles and pictures of the aftermath of the bombings in that area. Bodies mangled and children crying.
Where's the grief for them? Why are the masses not posting about Aleppo every day instead of making memes about another celebrity death? I think that if you challenged some of these people on this matter, they may not even be able to verbalize the issue. They may tell you that Carrie Fisher helped shaped their childhood and that they are grieving for that; but is that really enough? Something like this is so massive and complex that I already know that my tiny brain isn't equipped to make the proper arguments in full detail…but I'm at least going to try.
It's no secret that Americans have a sense of entitlement that appears to surpass those of other nationalities. In fact, in writing that sentence, my own ingrained hubris had to take a backseat to remind myself that to everyone else in the world, being American would be considered a nationality. For so many of us it's simply inconceivable that we would be discriminated against due to our gender or race (I'm looking at you white men). Despite the fact that it's happening now and in our own country pales in comparison to how other nations have had to live.
So what exactly are we entitled to? Free speech? The right to bear arms? What happens when someone decides that you don't have the right to live? What would you do if someone else decided that you, as a human person with thoughts and feelings, don't have the right to breathe? To love? To sleep peacefully with no worries as to whether bombs will be dropped on your homes? Aren't those things we should all be entitled to regardless of race or religion?
We've created a culture of being spoiled. Somehow we've elected Trump and still manage to give the Kardashians all our money. We've decided that "glamour" and money are more prized than things like clean drinking water and food to eat. We will never truly understand what it is like for Syrian refugees and Aleppo victims. We're immensely lucky to have been born into a country in which things like what is happening overseas don't happen here. This is such a huge part of why we don't seem to care about Aleppo but we care about another celebrity death. We have no basis of comparison. We've lived so long in relative peace that even when confronted with the horrors of war, we refuse to truly let it sink in.
I've been guilty of it myself. I have turned off the news because the thing I'm dealing with is already too much. I don't have room in my heart or in my head for something that I can't tangibly fix. It's hard for me to mourn for an actress that I never met when there are thousands suffering and struggling to stay safe and alive. Here's the question I would posit to you. If you were in the position of someone from Aleppo and you heard about the millions of tweets and posts and all the outpouring of grief for one single actress…while you're trying to find out if your family is still alive?
How would you feel?
Here's an article on how to help Aleppo financially:
I realize I've talked in circles. I've solved nothing. I've done nothing but gripe. I'm entitled to that too, right?