What is a ‘better life’ – Becca

I walked away from class last week with so many thoughts and questions about how genocide could happen but this week I left more interested about the movie we had watched. It doesn’t have a lot to do with genocide but more about the society we live in and the things we have grown accustomed to. Watching the lost boys from Sudan adjust to life in the United States was both astounding and frustrating.

Three years ago I spent a week in Uganda and came home amazed at how simple their lives were. How few things they had yet how content they were with that. But until I watched someone from this type of life adjust to the type of life I live it didn’t really sink in. When I talk about going to Uganda I talk about how it was one of the best weeks of my life because I saw this different culture. It is something I have been thinking about for years and sharing with anyone who will listen. Seeing how one could go from that type of life to an “American” life made me understand what we truly have and take advantage of.

They didn’t know what a refrigerator was, how food could come already cooked and prepared, how people frequently shower and use the toilet. They knew nothing about the laws of our country and how our society functions. It made me so appreciative of the life I have and what I have been able to see. On the other hand though this wasn’t their life. To them, these new things weren’t so good. They were in complete contrast from everything they were accustomed to and grew up with.

I appreciate the American desire to help them and give them a better life than they had in that camp but I do not think the way it was done was necessarily the best. I think that moving them to the United States and basically forcing them to assimilate here was not what was in their best interest. If someone brought me to a completely different country and had me get used to the way they live there and completely leaving everything I know behind I would not be so happy.

Yes, much of Africa is unstable and even dangerous put part of me thinks that would be better for them than this. It is what I think I would want. After talking about scarcity and resources, I think that our resources could be used in a better way. To help them but help them where it is best for them. I know that this may sound insensitive or like I do not want them in the United States but that is not what I intend. I want these boys to be happy and successful and the end of the movie Tuesday I was not at all convinced that they were happy with their lives here.

In response to what we spoke about it class. I was a little scared after our conversation. Reading about how genocide progressed especially in Germany made it seem so easy and almost unnoticed. I have learned about the foot-in-the-door persuasive strategy before and that is exactly what was used. The government slowly introduced ideas a little at a time and over years, it ended up to be almost an engrained part of their society. It is scary that something like that can happen. People are so willing to listen to authority and blindly follow that something as big as genocide can happen. That speaks volumes as to what any other government is capable of.

– Becca


2 thoughts on “What is a ‘better life’ – Becca

  1. Great job, Becca. I love the raw reflection in your post and the struggle over the implications of what resettlement is all about. It’s tough to consider the conflict zones could be desired over an apartment in Syracuse but as we saw in the film at times the boys pine for home. As we discuss discourses of privilege consider the “us” “them” frame that we use. Your point about foot-in-the-door persuasion is key, but do remember the hope – early bystanders that refuse to be bystanders an be particularly effective! – aaron

  2. “People are so willing to listen to authority and blindly follow that something…” this sentence at the end of your post reminded me of a study I saw being conducted on T.V recently. People would randomly dress up in police uniforms and stop innocent pedestrians on the street and tell them to inflict force or pain to other pedestrians. The people would comply with the authoritative figure just because they were the authority. Maybe this study demonstrates a simpler version of how genocide builds? Its still hard for us to wrap our heads around but I hope that in the coming weeks of class we can start finding answers to all our daunting questions. Great post! – Jami

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