If you are like me, turning on the news is nothing but an annoying jumble of repetitive headlines about COVID-19 or the 2020 elections in the U.S. Yes, I know they are both very important to cover — I never said they weren’t! I am simply pointing out that this coverage of the same news stories are shutting us off from what’s happening in the world. To keep your worldly knowledge fresh and to divert the conversation to something other than the most depressing topics ever, here are some things happening around the world.
A prominent protestor involved in the events unfolding in Hong Kong made her first appearance in 14 months. The 64-year-old woman, commonly referred to as Grandma Wong, made a statement about her reappearance and explained that her absence was due to her detainment in mainland China. She talked about her experience and how she was forced to denounce her activism in writing as well as say on camera that she would not protest or conduct media interviews. She tells of how she was made to sing the Chinese national anthem and wave their flag, to be photographed of course. Wong tells of how she feared for her life but how she will not give up on her initiative for change.
Recently, in Vienna, a 20-year-old gunman opened fire on the streets of the city. The shocking attack killed and wounded many. This event is currently being linked to similar events in Paris by Islamist extremists.
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In 2006 the original Borat film produced by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen featured the main character posing as a journalist from Kazakhstan named Borat. The country took offense to the original film and banned the film as it was deemed racist to the Kazakh people. With the release of the sequel to Cohen’s famous film, the tourism bureau of Kazakhstan is taking a different approach. In four new tourism ads, the Borat slogan “very nice” was adopted and matched with footage of beautiful scenes of the country.
As we speak, the forests of Sri Lanka are being destroyed, down to 16.5 percent from the thriving 82 percent it once was. The public is causing an uproar to save their forests and trying to make legislative changes protecting their natural lands.
A train in the Netherlands was plunged into a perilous situation when safety systems failed, and the train ran off the tracks. There were no injuries or deaths as a sculpture of a whale tale caught the runaway train before it fell from elevated tracks. The picture captured moments after is something out of a movie (which can be seen in the above article). Experts are now working on how to remove the train from the sculpture as well as looking into the failures in safety systems.
Poland has been overcome with protests in the past few weeks as they pass new legislation on female reproductive rights. The conservative, traditional Roman Catholic government of Poland released a ruling in late October further restricting grounds for abortion. Protestors have gathered and are criticizing the Polish government for its allyship with the church as well as its conservative policies.
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This is just a glimpse at the world of things happening beyond the elections of the U.S and rise in COVID-19 numbers. Not all of it is happy news, but it is all important. We must not let the mass media continue to feed us the pile of repetitive garbage. It is easy to feel like life is at a standstill these days — believe me, it feels like we are in a nightmarish, Groundhog Day-style scenario. But that’s only from our egocentric point of view in the US. Open your eyes, people — there is a whole world out there and way more things to talk about than COVID-19 or politics.
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Lauren is a political science major from Baltimore.