I was thrown a question: “Would you rather blissful ignorance or miserable knowledge?”
Confidently, my (initial) answer was blissful ignorance. My stand was that with knowledge comes a price to pay that you cannot afford to forget what you have known.
Yet, when I gave time for the question settle in, I wondered to myself – am I living in blissful ignorance or do I have knowledge of the painful things that are happening around me?
In recent weeks, I have been faithfully reading the papers and news sites churning out devastating articles of the political state in Iraq, the anguished families of the Boko Haram-abducted girls, and the situation of the Al-Jazeera journalists. There were many issues that I wrote in my journal and filling up the pages effortlessly.
Every day I updated my journal, asking myself “what’s happening in the world today, nic?”; I cut out maps from the papers showing the states that were taken over by the Islamic State (known as ISIL). I attached myself to the papers and started following the situation daily.
I began to realise how selfish I was to want to live in ignorance.
When I finally recognised how horrifying the magnitude of the mess was in the affected countries, I realised what it had really meant when war needed to stop. Each day the problem didn’t subside but instead it swelled. You see the ugliness that men are capable of. Did you know that in June alone, 2,000 over people died in Iraq? Were you aware of that? Yet, this is just is just once state.
Comfortably we live in Singapore, cushioned with a home and indulging on the contentment of a normal life. We have subconsciously blocked out stories of destruction beyond our country.
I couldn’t understand why my heart was so heavy because I didn’t have the capabilities to do much from where I am. With this basic knowledge of what is happening, I recognise that I am a citizen of this world with the duty to know what is going on and so everyday these people are in my prayers.
This miserable knowledge that I acquired on my own is a responsibility and a burden that I feel strongly for. I mean, I would love to live in blissful ignorance but only to matters that are menial and petty because there is nothing far more urgent than the suffering of the helpless.