Here’s the thing about world wars: they’re big. I’m not entirely sure how much of the world needs to be involved for it to be called a ‘world war’, but I’m guessing several countries, at least. Or perhaps we just don’t call them world wars anymore, because the conflicts bleed into each other and we can’t really tell when one ends and another begins. Troops are sent from international peacekeeping forces and countries are involved in a financial and supportive role, choosing a side which seems to make the right (strategic) sense at the time.
I bring up world wars because recently, on World Refugee Day, the UNHRC announced that the number of displaced persons worldwide had reached 51.2 million people. The number in itself is staggering; what’s more astounding is that this number is the highest since World War II.
A man comes home from a long day at work to find his children, still in their pyjamas, playing in a pool of mud. They’re filthy and barefoot. There is a roll of toilet paper leading from the front door. He stumbles over a carton of broken eggs as he opens the door, and is met with utter chaos. There is breakfast cereal all over the carpet, milk dripping from an overturned bottle on the kitchen table. Washing up is stacked in the sink, on the drainboard and all along the counter. Books and toys are piled up everywhere, and dirty washing is strewn along the length of the hallway.
On the couch sits his significant other in her dressing gown, holding a mug of tea.
The man is almost speechless. He gasps for a few minutes and then is able to stutter, ‘But… what on earth happened?’
His significant other smiles sweetly and takes a sip of tea.
‘You know how you always come home and ask me what I did all day? Well, today I didn’t do it.’
Our Prime Minster is in the United States this week, apparently meeting with various people, including President Obama. Most of us here are under no illusions that an Australian Prime Minister has anything to say which will be of much importance to the US, but our country did recently get a mention when Obama was speaking about the recent shooting(s). He spoke about Australia’s laws with respect to gun control:
“A couple of decades ago Australia had a mass shooting similar to Columbine or Newtown.” […] “And Australia just said, ‘well, that’s it … we’re not seeing that again’ and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws and they haven’t had a mass shooting since.”
When I was a young child, my parents used to listen to the radio a lot, and it was our national radio station, the ABC, which was predominantly broadcasters doing interviews and a whole lot of news. Not that that’s a bad thing—I still listen to this station nowadays, although less often since there is usually too much child-related noise around for me to hear properly. The point is, when I was a child, I heard a lot of news, and I would just absorb bits and pieces, while I was playing. This had the advantage of making me more worldly… although now that I think about it, it may have been a bit of a disadvantage, considering my social ineptitude.