Three weeks ago, a conversation happened during #Tweetdiner, the weekly chat that I started with Stan Smith. The conversation focused on what we could do to help Japan. Three weeks later, we have a website, a Facebook page, and a registered Twitter hashtag at #care4Japan, and tomorrow begins a week-long Twitter chat that will hopefully raise awareness and drive donations to the American Red Cross.
Some people say, in response to these efforts, that Japan doesn’t really need our help. They’re a wealthy country. They can self-sustain.
The problem is that there are still people trying to control the nuclear reactors at Fukushima.
There are still children stranded at school waiting for their friends and relatives to come get them.
There are still people who have absolutely nothing.
Are these people your problem?
Maybe not. They’re not here in front of you. They’re far away, in places you may not even know how to pronounce.
Here’s the thing though. The world has taken on that “not my problem” attitude before. Saddam Hussein was committing genocide against his own people? Not our problem.
Adolph Hitler was trying to wipe out the Jewish population of an entire continent? Well, that didn’t *really* matter to us.
And the killing in places like Kosovo and Bosnia? Well, NATO was there. What do we need to do? We have our own lives to lead, right?
Why bother helping Japan? If the stories we are hearing from there are not enough, consider what has happened when we have procrastinated in opening our hands and hearts.
The Social Media community has an opportunity to stand firmly and say, “There are people in need, and we’re going to do something about that.”
This is not the end of a project. This is just the beginning. When we help Japan, we can show ourselves and the world that we can help anyone. And that’s something I think we can all agree would be something to bother over.