Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Fleeting year

In the movie, "Hotel Rwanda", the main character is trying to get his American cameraman, who is visiting the country, to report to the United States the genocide that was occurring in Rwanda, for if the United States knew, then surely they would help. However, the cameraman simply looks at him and says, "Everyone will look up at their televisions, state how sad and awful the occurrence is, and then go right back to eating their dinners." It seems that this reaction is one of, if not the most common reactions to people in need. It is easy to mention how sad the situation is, to feel sympathy for a person. However, when it comes to taking action, many people just turn their heads.

It seems that the problem with so many of these social justice movements is that permanent change is so difficult to make. As soon through the history of the United States, South Africa, and many other countries, changes to improve the lives of the citizens of these countries is not an easy task. It takes years and years of effort and pain and struggle. Therefore, when discussing the Year of the City and service in general, it is hard to see what the intended goal is, and how we will achieve it.

Loyola College seems to be trying to fix its ability to turn its head through Year of the City. To no longer ignore the city of Baltimore, but to pop our bubble and embrace the culture that lies around us. However, the question lies in how. How can we stop ourselves from turning away? Yes, today we might give the man on the street a dollar. We might give him one tomorrow. However, when will we know that we have made a significant change in his life? And once we are done, where do we go from there? But by walking past him, given the dollar or not, aren't we simply going "right back to eating our dinners"?

Although the Year of the City is an excellent step in our facing the problems of the city, of our city, there needs to be a way to make this change more permanent and not let the Year of the City allow us to go back to eating our dinners.