Sunday, October 4, 2009

Being Seen

Today I feel slightly haunted by the book, The Book of D’ni, which I finished last night. I had expected it to be a fun read when I picked it up at the library, especially since it is based on a video game. Instead I find myself mulling over the moral lesson. In the story some people of D’ni are transported to an idyllic world. Near the beginning of the story there is a cryptic scene when our protagonists meet one of the residents of Teranhee, who asks “Can I see you?” Near the end of the book we find out that this world is dependent upon millions of unseen slaves. The people that the D’ni originally met had been trained to not see these slaves.

What haunts me is that I think many, if not most, of the people in the United States are like the people of Teranhee. Most of us don’t know where are food or clothes come from. We aren’t aware of the conditions that people in other countries are working under to produce our goods. The recent high unemployment rates have made many of us painfully aware of the high cost of low priced goods produced in other countries. Last week I read that some teachers were imported from the Philippines to teach students in the US. These teachers were basically treated as indentured servants. What is that teaching children?

I was running late for church this morning as I was thinking about the book. This definitely isn’t my day to save the world. What we really need to do is sit back and think about what we need as a planet of people, especially with all the changes created by global warming. But, before we can do that we need to “see people.” We need to see the people who produce our goods, see the people around the world who are victims of genocide, see the people who have had their homes and families destroyed because of floods and earthquakes. We need to see them as people, see them as “us.”

No comments: