This is one of my first blog posts, and it’s something that has been bothering me for quite some time. Also will try to explain my view with a recent case that clearly illustrates this issue.
The question is, why is society, in general, so lacking in attention? Why are we unable to pay attention to larger issues at hand? Yet we can easily cling to small trivial stuff. …
Recently there was a case of a sick baby in need of a liver transplant. The transplant supposedly cost ~150k€. Aparently the parents had no such funds available to them, and they had exhausted all other methods of financial assistance to treat their baby boy. So they turned to the public. However, before doing so, I’m almost certain they got some assistance from someone that was, or they themselves were, very well versed in PR and Marketing in general. This case started out slow, with some collection box on the city’s centre court and some speakers blasting out attention seeking information. A little while later, this case got some traction, and started appearing on social networks, and then something very big happened: the case of this boy appeared on the main news (arguably the most widely viewed TV slot in the country).
The way that money was collected, was very nicely orchestrated. The mother broadcast her personal bank account number, where people could go and deposit money, but in addition to that, they even got premium rate SMS numbers from the two main mobile phone providers so that people could donate money just by sending an SMS. I personally, from previous experience, know that attaining a premium rate SMS number in this country is a very complicated, regulated, and lengthy process. In this case it was done very quickly, and with no paperwork. Even the Telecommunication Regulation Authority was bypassed (which is by law required to regulate such things).
The argument is not with the case at hand, and I hope for no one to be in such a position to require help from the general public to save a member of their family. The issue here was the public’s acceptance and their reaction to the case. As for the information given in the media, it could very easily be agrued that it lacked credibility. Besides some informal press releases given on social networks, and some video footage of the baby going through what looked like a routine check up with a doctor, nobody had anything else to go on. I’m not saying it was, but it could easily have been a scam. And the sum they were asking, could easily have been a very nice sum to disappear and start a new life in another country. Just think about it; words could easily have been lies, bank account was not overseen or regulated by anyone, and premium rate SMS money was probably linked to that account as well.
Again I’m not refering to the credibility of this case. The problem is the general public. Society took these facts as they were, and without questioning, this case became viral, everyone started donating money, in various forms. Some people even felt proud about their actions, and went ahead and scanned or photographed the bank deposit slips and posted them on Facebook, while urging others to do the same as well. The amount of traction this case got, in the news and everywhere else, was grand. You could even compare that to the reaction of the same people to Michael Jackson’s death. When viewing this case from the perspective of collective help for an innocent sweet looking baby this was very commendable.
The problem was, and is, that that was just one individual case. If someone brought up the same issue but on a bit of a larger scale, instead of it involving one child but a number of children, I doubt it would have been the same. Nobody would have cared. I bet everyone would have reasoned with themselves by way of thinking “eh, there’s a lot of sick children out there, I can’t help them all”. Add the bystander effect to that, then it becomes even less of an issue. I mean this case is just another reminder that this country has no system of health insurance in place, which is one step closer to having an ideal organized system of health recovery. Having a public health insurance system would probably alleviate these kinds of cases, and would probably save/heal a lot of people as well as advance the health system in this country, but who cares about that?! I mean, I’m healthy, most of us are healthy, who cares for the needy? Let them die! Or even worse, let them become handicapped (don’t get me started on the systemic ignorance of the disabled in this country).
So why is it so easy for society to care about something small, and usually trivial, and not care about the important stuff? Is everyone brainwashed or what? I don’t remember the last time I heard, or had a discussion with somebody about policy. As for discussions about who did what, or who posted what kind of picture, were on top of that! We even have a whole branch of media dedicated to that (tabloids, Gossip TV shows, magazines, websites).
Even if we decided to start to change this lack of attention on important issues, where would we start? And who’s to blame for this? MTV maybe? (I think this is going to be a recurring theme to my blogs).
The way that Kosovo is structured as a delegated democracy, we have very little impact on policy. It’s next to impossible to talk to members of parliament to tell them your issues, and it’s impossible for an individual to get heard anywhere in this country. Sure as a society we can try to influence some decisions by way of protest, or just transmitting our restlessness with something that bothers us (in today’s age with the internet, it’s easy to communicate your opinion, e.g. me writing right now on my blog), however the real impact that we can have on our very own outcome is when it’s time to vote. How about thinking about what a party represents, or its past performance before voting for them again? Or is even that too difficult. OK, you can simplify it. If you think our corrupt-ridden country could be better in the future, vote for someone else. If you think that it’s good enough as is, then vote for the same guys. Is that too difficult? If you keep voting for the same guys every election, then they have no incentive to change anything. They’ll just keep doing what they’re doing. Why settle for very little progress when you can have a LOT of progress? “It’s OK as long as we’re healthy”, right?
How about organizing ourselves when it comes to something important. How about going out on a protest once in a while?
Wake up people!
As for the liver transplant baby case, they got even more money than they asked for in a week, and according to someone outside the family, they have decided to give the excess away to an orphanage, or some other organization. I seriously doubt that will ever happen. But who cares if they got ripped off? Everyone is sleeping very well, and feeling very proud that they saved a life by contributing, right? How about asking the donors, or at least make a Facebook poll as to where the excess should go!
TL;DR version: If you’re looking for the TL;DR version, then you’re the reason for this article! Read it you imbecile!