U.S. citizens must be globally aware

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    Because of the recent tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, many U.S. citizens have turned their attention away from world issues and focused solely on domestic aid. However, in the Middle East, extraordinary events are in the works.Israel, which has been lingering in the back of our minds since Sept. 11, has just begun talks with the Pakistani administration. Pakistan, a prominently Muslim country with close ties to the Palestinians, has supported endeavors for the creation of a free Palestinian state. The Pakistani foreign minister cited these talks as a “historic meeting” between the countries. The meetings are a result of Israel’s plan for withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

    This has been an extremely sensitive issue because of the amount of conflict between Israel and its many Muslim neighbors. Hopefully this renewed effort will be prove more fruitful than previous attempts at diplomacy.

    If diplomatic ties between Pakistan and Israel are developed and nurtured, healing and repair could begin in a very devastated region.

    Plagued by bombings and terrorist attacks, the years of conflict have caused a great deal of anguish among both Israelis and Palestinians.

    The state of affairs in the Middle East, whether they are positive or negative, have the capacity to impact us all. Setting aside our obvious investment in the oil industry, the United States’ current involvement in that region dictates that we must stay current.

    As members of the global community, it is critical that we are informed and educated so that we can become actively involved if necessary.

    In the event that relations between Israel and the Muslim world take a turn for the worse, there is little possibility that either side will be willing to negotiate. Our past history with Israel suggests that in the case of escalated conflict, our armed forces and economic resources may be directed toward Israel.

    We need to have the knowledge and capacity to make well-informed decisions. Political loyalties are meaningless if we aren’t aware of the consequences of our actions, or, in some cases, our inactions.

    While I realize that as citizens of the United States, and more simply as human beings, we have a moral obligation to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, we are often quick to overlook equally important global issues. Our attentions are often only focused on what we feel directly affects us.

    Something key to remember though, is that more and more our world is becoming interconnected and something that affects one citizen in one country, even if it’s halfway around the globe, still impacts the United States. We don’t have to look very far to find proof; the evidence is everywhere. We have economic investments around the globe, and through the United Nations, we are intimately linked with countries all over the world.

    As a global superpower, we also have an obligation to be involved on the global level with issues such as human rights and the environment. Part of being a U.S. citizen is ensuring that the issues that affect all of us are given adequate attention.

    With technology at our fingertips, it is not hard to stay informed and exercise our right and obligation as Americans to be aware and involved in the workings of our world.

    Lyndsay Peden is a biology and political science major from Versailles, Ky.