As people who read my blog reglarly will know, I sometimes go off in a rant about things in Honduras because a lot of stuff that I see here and what I know about this country seem to make no sense and it can be quite frustrating. I’m afraid this post will be another rant, except not about Honduras today… about people from the Western world – yes that means you the US, UK, Europe. Obviously not everyone is basically stupid but some people are… particularly people who read the Daily Mail and choose to comment on things that they know nothing about.
A friend from Loughborough sent me this article today – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2316843/Horrific-collection-photos-grim-reality-life-San-Pedro-Sula-Honduras.html
to show me how the UK is protraying the country I am living in. Don’t read it if you have a weak stomach; apparently the Daily Mail sees fit to copy the Honduran newspapers and show photos of dead bodies, people in pain and family members in mourning. Nice. I know the situation in SPS (San Pedro Sula) is bad – I happen to live 6 hours from there unlike the Daily Mail writers – but I’ve quickly learnt in Honduras that you can’t always rely on statistics. The article displays A LOT of pictures of injured people and dead bodies alongside statistics like ‘83.4per cent of homicides are by firearms’, ‘San Pedro Sula recorded 1,218 homicides in 2012 (a rate of 3.3 murders a day)’ and ‘149 civilians killed by police in the last two years’. I’m not saying that I would walk around SPS, or Tegus, without being cautious and I definitely wouldn’t walk around at night but you have to take these numbers in context, which the Daily Mail fails to do. I had a quick search on google ‘how many people are killed by knives each year in the uk´ and straight away had results like 130,000 knife attacks a year (Daily Mail of course), a knife attack every 4 minutes, 6 killed a week and 3500 murders a year from knives. If you read this and didn’t know which country it refered to, I’m pretty sure you would say you wouldn’t want to go there and you’d be imagining somewhere very far from the UK. But I for one feel pretty safe when I’m in the UK, including London which is where the majority of knife attacks happen. And I’ve never had one of my friends who live in London say they are worried about crime – which is one of the questions I’m asked often when talking about my life in Tegus. The Daily Mail has a tendency to dramatise things and pick out all of the worst statistics (and pictures) and present the horror that people face as though it is entertainment.
But it is not the Daily Mail that I am really angry at, it’s the people who choose to comment on these kind of articles. Not everyone, some people just mention their sympathy for those who are victims or say it makes them realise how lucky they are to have been born in a western country (which they are!!!). A couple of people even commented that it was hard to read but we need to know more about what is going on in the world that isn’t usually published (I love you!). But others feel the need to display their selfishness, stupidity and ignorance for all to see, here are a few of my favourites and why they’re so stupid:
“America – heed this warning… your 60% death rate by guns may soon match this !!” – of course, it’s not an issue that Honduras faces this every day, but we should be worried about its nearby RICH neighbour. Of course.
“Looks like just another day in Tower Hamlets.” – that’s just dumb.
“Its their problem, nothing we can do about it.” – I’m sure if you had had the bad luck to be born in a country like Honduras you would hope others would say this about you… I think not.
“IT’s all over South America and they are slowly bringing it over to Europe, as our lax emigration laws allow them to” – When was the last time you met a South American in Europe? I know I haven’t met many. Recently, I’ve been trying to help a friend from Honduras look at volunteering in the UK for one year – he’s educated and not a law breaker, don’t worry everyone! – but it is literally impossible. He is visiting the US soon for 2 weeks and even has to get a VISA for that, which he might not get, simply for the fact that he has the bad luck of having a Honduran passport.
“and I thought Birmingham was bad.” – you have no idea how lucky you are.
“and yet they keep breeding” – I wish I could sit with you for 10 minutes to tell you how disgusting your comment is. If you bothered to learn anything about what you’re commenting on you would know that the Catholic church in Honduras prevents sexual education in school, has made abortion illegal (even in cases of rape) and pretty much says that the use of condoms and other contraceptives is illegal.
Ok, so I sound angry right? It’s because I am! I just hate how ignorant we are in Western nations to the problems that developing countries are facing – I don’t think we realise how little people from developing nations have. As I talked about in my last blog, if your country was in the middle of a war and your family encouraged you to go to a rich country where you would have a chance at surviving and possibly even getting a well paid job, are you really saying there is no way you would go? And when you got to this foreign country, with no money, food or place to sleep, and you had one friend and they told you they were part of a gang and the gang would look after you and give you everything you needed, are you 100% sure you would say no? Of course I’m not saying every gang member got drawn into crime like this, but many did and that is why Honduras has the problem it does. The majority of its people are innocent and just want to get by in life – they don’t have the luxuries of cars, holidays or even nice houses with nice furniture. Many of the houses in Tegus are basically sheds. The people I have met in Honduras are some of the friendliest people I have met and by presenting it in the way it does, the Daily Mail is alienating these people from those who can possibly help them. It’s not all just about money, just raising awareness (and being aware yourself) can help and stop the ignorance about the developing world. So please, when you see articles like this don’t believe everything you read and – as we were taught in my masters – ask questions so you can understand more.
Rant over. Thanks for reading.