Going into World Heritage at the end of January 2014 I admit that I was very close-minded when it came to other people’s heritage. I never thought there was much to it, and I never knew what it meant. In regards to the class, I imagined a lot different, I thought ethnicity. Honestly I didn’t realize the difference between culture, ethnicity, and heritage or why it mattered. I figured that if it didn’t involve me or where I came from it wasn’t important, but as I reflect, I don’t even know much about where I came from, or who did all the work for me to have such a great life. Turns out, every race, every culture, and every different heritage matters, and everyone is affected.
Recently there has been an ongoing issue in Africa, it has become widely known as the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign. To give some background about a month ago over 200 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by a group of African terrorists trained by the Taliban (though not related) in the midst of their finals. After weeks have passed the girls have not yet been rescued nor has there been an attempt. The terrorists have made it clear the girls will be used for human trafficking purposes, since they are useless otherwise. Young women studying to be chemists, doctors, and teachers deemed useless. If these young women are not recovered, a whole generation will be lost, a doctor who changes medicine, a chemist who creates a cure, and a teacher who educates students on the surrounding issues, all gone.
In eastern parts of the world men do not believe that women should be educated in any shape or form, their job is to be a wife, have babies, and make a happy home for their husbands. This story may sound somewhat similar, a while back a young girl named Malala Yousafzai was shot by terrorists belonging to the Taliban and has since become an activist, after being shot in her head she made a full recovery and vowed to never be silenced again. The most important thing to do is getting up and recovering. There are endless “what-if’s” and “maybes” but if these ideas aren’t put into perspectives, what is the point in going on in this world? If those girls are truly useless, what is the big deal? If those girls are just girls living in a third world country who cares? I do. Neither I nor you know if one of those girls can cure cancer or invent something life altering, but it’s important to treat them like they can. As privileged students we don’t stop to think, what if I was abducted with 200 other classmates during a final by a group of deadly terrorists, thrown into a human trafficking ring and nobody cares to save me? Sounds dramatic, but that is exactly what happened to those girls.
It is important that we all realize how indefinitely intertwined we are with the rest of the world, if one person is being oppressed and suffering, so are 50 other people. Whether it is one person in Japan or another in Utah reaching out to those alike and different needs to change from a random act of kindness, to just being a friendly neighbor. When one hurts, we all hurt. This class has opened my eyes to the different parts of the world that have suffered or are still struggling today. I cannot thank the educators out there enough for not only feeding my brain and allowing myself to change time after time, but also for helping the others, as Malala said “Education is our basic right.”