What’s Up in the World? - Weekly Digest 22/07/2016 Written by Harriet Lane-Tobin

This weeks digest contends with what is unknown, known and what can be brought to light if ‘we’ devote understanding and attention to it. 

In light of the constant bombardment of wars, massacres and coups going on in the world. Sam Kriss in his Vice piece highlights the way the world becomes not only complicit but desensitised in their continuation. To ground this argument Kriss details the faceless entity of Isis that the mainstream media and Western governments have set up as the ‘enemy’.  Moreover they stand for what is ‘wrong’ in the world. But what else is wrong in a world fraught with despair? Kriss here argues the answer to that is the rest of it.  Highlighting that there is no true meaning or sense of ‘wrongness”. Rather it permeates governmental and military spaces globally. Violence whether it be literal or structural exists in the very conditions ‘we’ live within. “And once you notice the pattern, you start seeing it everywhere” (Kriss 2016).

Which poses the question if it exists everywhere what can be done to remedy it? In Morwari Zafar’s, Al Jazeera, article she argues to fane the appearance of peace ‘we’ must move beyond it. According to Zafar to have universal peace is illusionary and unlikely so instead ‘we’ must focus on fostering relations of empathy and understanding. Preaching what she details to be an embrace of an “ethical imagination”.  “An ethical imagination allows people to objectively understand human beings and, above all, being human” (Zafar 2016). That by fostering of differences worldwide we can hope to lessen the bloodshed that ‘we’ have unfortunately become so accustomed to seeing.

However if‘we’ move beyond wars where else can we see this lack of understanding occurring. Arguably if look at the ground level it can even be seen in the way different spheres choose to place value on some lives over others.  A theme which is highlighted in Eleanor Goldberg’s, Huffington Post, article around the treatment of AIDS.  Goldberg grounds her argument in a speech given by Actress, Charlize Theron.  Highlighting that inequality here both exists in social structure but is also represented visually in the disproportionate numbers of those affected by the disease.  “I know this because AIDS does not discriminate on its own,” (Theron cited in Goldberg 2016). 




Additonally can be ‘true’ understandings be form if conditions are considered to be as Anthropologists observe ‘bound’ by specific cultural groups. Christopher Harding’s, BBC article explores this in relation to Japan and its concepts of depression and mental health centered conditions.  Harding centres his article in relation to the life of Manga artist Torisugari. Highlighting how cultural misunderstandings can elevate problems at a personal and social level. However it can be made more accessible through popular mediums such as art. Allowing understanding to be fostered in a way groups already relate too. Utilising the known to forge a way into the unknown.