“A Wider View”

binocular

I always thought that I was pretty informed about the world. I knew more geography than the average American, I had a basic grasp on U.S. and world history. I knew that the United States was just one out of many countries that housed good, thoughtful, responsible citizens. Still I have learned so much more since I began following blogs from around the world. It turns out that I still held fairly one dimensional views about a lot of places.

Take New Zealand, for example. I have never been there, but friends have told me it is the most beautiful country they have ever visited. I knew that it had a rapid response after a mass shooting. So in my limited view, it was a great place free of problems. Then I read a New Zealand blog where the writer mentioned the homeless situation in New Zealand. What? Homeless in New Zealand? I promptly went on line and read about the very real problem of homeless people in New Zealand. My view had to widen.

Then there’s Kashmir. I had never even thought about Kashmir until I started following a blog of a college student who wrote there. He had only intermittent access to the internet since it kept being shut down. That got my attention of course. How could the internet get shut down in what I thought of as the free country of India? And of course now Kashmir is the focus of much news reporting, only recently coming from the local people who once again had their internet access cut off. I have no position on the India/Kashmir tangle, but I never even knew it existed before I kept a blog.

I have acquired book lists, song titles, movie recommendations, and recipe ideas from following others. But I am most grateful for the international community which took me out of my–as it turns out–very parochial view. Thanks everyone.

8 thoughts on ““A Wider View”

  1. Americans are often regarded as having a limited view of the rest of the world, and of focusing on the USA as the center of everything. In European countries that once had colonies, (including America of course) the overall view of the world, and the relative position of the countries in it, economically and geographically, tends to be sharper. That’s just history.
    Glad to hear that blogging has broadened your horizons, Elizabeth.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I had never expected to visit New Zealand, but I did recently. The people are incredibly friendly and, on the whole, laid-back; it is almost like going back in time to a kinder place (the 60s? or early 70s maybe… one’s youth is generally a kinder place).
    The kiwis are welcoming to immigrants, but housing is short which fuels the cost of buying a house which of course impacts on rents. Not only are places expensive but they are hard to find.
    Therefore, homelessness is not restricted to the unwaged or disadvantaged. Social housing is available, if not palatial.
    The homeless also come from the ranks of people returning from time in Australia (almost a rite of passage) or who have moved (perhaps for a new job) and not found anywhere to live that they can afford. Several of the people I met related times when they lived in their cars for long periods.

  3. You are right on both fronts Elizabeth. New Zealand is truly beautiful, unique and an amazing part of the world. I also refer to it as the Sweden of the South Pacific – bloody nice but terribly expensive. For along time wages have not kept up with the cost of living, especially accommodation but also food, power and other basic utilities. We have shocking numbers of children living in poverty by UN standards, some of the highest youth suicide rates in the world and domestic violence stats that will make you weep. I am still extremely proud to be a New Zealander but it is not always an easy place to call home. As a secondary school teacher I get to see the best and worst of it. Changes are underway but it will take generations to fix the land of two halves created by austere economic policies and a focus on profit over people.

Leave a Reply to Elizabeth Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s