By KERRY TINGA
As everybody’s ‘90s crush, Josh (Paul Rudd) in Clueless, once said, “In some parts of the universe, maybe not in Contempo Casuals, but in some parts, it’s considered cool to know what’s going on in the world.”
The social and political unrest in Sudan turned violent on June 3 in Khartoum. It has been reported that over a hundred peaceful, pro-democracy protesters were massacred by Sudanese military forces. They opened fire on the crowd in what they claim was an attempt to disperse the protest. Throughout social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, hashtags, and infographics fill up news feeds to share support and spread awareness of the plight of the Sudanese people.
The situation and the rise of civil disobedience in Sudan, however, did not happen overnight nor is it far from over. While it is great to see people come together on social media, leveraging this tool for social good and social awareness, we should remind ourselves that the broader situation in Sudan is a complicated affair. There are many players over this decades-long saga. It is not easily summarized by the cliff notes and short videos being shared online.
Sadly, one post by one person is not enough. A thousand posts by a thousand people are not enough. Posts and shares, however, that come together to trigger a movement of compassion and sympathy are how we can change the world.
We are part of a global community, not just what is directly around us. By keeping updated we can also learn how we can help our neighbor, even if she is halfway across the world.
With a “supercomputer” in the palm of our hands and an enormous source of information available at the click of a button, there is almost no excuse for us to not be updated on current events. While news spreads via shares on social media, it is important to actively engage in current affairs and take the initiative to find out what is going on for ourselves.
Here are some of the ways I personally try to keep in touch with current affairs, just a little bit every day, whenever I find a moment. Or even while I am catching up on something else, balancing it with what goes on in my own life.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! There is nothing quite like reading the news in a good old-fashioned newspaper. To flip through the newsprint pages over a hearty breakfast and a hot cup of coffee.
Or, on the go, since the smartphone seems to be an extension of our hands at this point, articles from your favorite newspapers, like The Manila Bulletin, can easily be found uploaded on websites and apps for you to read wherever you are.
A few of my favorite newspapers, like The New York Times, require an online subscription to read beyond a certain number of articles per month. Others I read, like The Guardian, mix free and premium articles. Meanwhile, The Manila Bulletin Online is, at the time I write this, completely free to read online.
In our digital age, purely online news websites like The Huffington Post, “the original internet newspaper,” and The Daily Beast thrive. They provide news articles catering to a computer and smartphone using public.
According to a study by Visual Objects, YouTube is the most visited site for people ages 18 to 24. Many of us have our favorite YouTube personalities and channels, from e-sport gamers like DanTDM, to beauty bloggers like Yuya, to comedians like Smosh, to general vloggers like Zoella and Jenna Marbles.
More than just the vloggers and viral videos, YouTube is an amazing way to keep updated with current affairs.
A quick click to subscribe to YouTube’s “News” channel will give you aggregated videos and content from news sources around the world. It includes CNN, the Associated Press, and, of course, The Manila Bulletin.
As some news stories are best watched live as it unfolds, many news channels stream live either via YouTube, such as Sky News, or through their own websites, such as Al Jazeera.
Listening is one of the most passive ways to keep updated on current events, but it does not mean it is any less effective. I find that a new podcast in the morning is perfect to provide a solid and informative summary for the average person. It is easy to have it playing in the background while getting dressed and ready or during a daily commute to school.
We always have our earphones in to listen to the latest tracks to hit Spotify, or our go-to playlists, so trade in half an hour a day to catch up on current affairs.
Since my time in university, I have personally subscribed to the daily BBC World Service’s Global News Podcast and the weekly The Economist’s Editor’s Picks, which provides a recording of “three essential articles” from the latest issue of The Economist. It is through these short, daily updates I was keeping up with the social crisis in Sudan, from the coup d’etat in April to the protests that began last December.
Whether you read it, watched it, or listened to it, you now know what is going on. It does not end there, however. In fact, it’s just the beginning. The most important part about keeping updated with current affairs is now knowing who out there could use your help and how you can go about helping them.
Watch out for the many unreliable social media accounts that claim to help the people in Sudan. They are not supported by any actual evidence, and some of them spread misinformation about the issue (for example, using statistics that relate to South Sudan instead).
A Change.org petition, which was shared on social media by singer Rihanna, calls for the United Nations to establish an international committee to investigate the events surrounding June 3 in Khartoum: chng.it/PbBhCP6rpQ.
Global organizations like the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have been providing healthcare, emergency relief, and goods to children in Sudan for years. Continuous support and donations for their efforts through their website can help them reach their long term goals in the country: donate.unicef.ph/ campaign/29/give-one-time.
By knowing what is going on in the world, knowing what is happening to our neighbors in Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, and Oceania, we keep the conversation alive, we keep the interest alive, we keep the issue alive until we find a way to solve it.