We do not all live in the same way. Those we view as “foreign” can seem “strange” to us. We don’t understand them. We may even criticise or be suspicious of them. Each of us are shaped by the culture we grow up within. We are also shaped by our personal experiences and there are other factors as well. All these things influence they way we think and act. They also influence the way we view others. This can all change when we get to know each other personally. Consider the three situations below.
This child should be in school. Instead he is one of an estimated 250,000 child soldiers, 100,000 of which are girls. Picture Source: WarChild UK
Most Australian children have easy access to education and health care. Freedom of speech, regular access to high quality food, safe drinking water and effective sanitation are expected. Heated and air-conditioned houses are the norm. Most parents are employed and for those who are not there is a welfare system in place.
Filipino children growing
up in a slum in Sandakan, Sabah, Borneo. Between 10,000 and 30,000 Filipino children in the Malaysian State of Sabah are denied citizenship to any country. They have no rights and receive no education.
The situation we are born into is completely a matter of luck. It did not involve any choice on our part. We are simply born wherever we are born.
Think about what your life would be like if you were kidnapped and forced to be a child soldier or if you were born in a slum with no rights and with no country wanting you as a citizen.
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Are we really so different? What are the basic things that each of us, as human beings, all want? If I really know you and you really know me, how do we look to each other then? Can we see past the differences and notice the person, or can we only see the differences?