To all the people that keep policing others about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Everyone know what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is. To raise awareness to a serious disease, people are challenged to throw a bucket of icy water on their bodies or encouraged to donate money to develop research and treatments. For those of you who don’t know how serious ALS is, this is the ALSA description of the sickness:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.” 

It should all be very simple, get wet and/or donate, until social media pricks started questioning it and speaking out about how things “should be done”. This is some of the ideas some people shared against the challenge, and my take on each one:

1) America is wasting tones of water, meanwhile in Africa people struggle with thirst. 

I agree with the idea behind this statement, which is: don’t waste something that others need to survive. But, at the same time, I can’t help but wonder why thirst in Africa is somehow a more important issue than contributing to find a treatment or a cure for ALS. How do we evaluate which cause is more pressing? And why do we feel entitled to criticize people that choose one cause over the other?

More importantly, if you really want to criticize the way people waste water, let’s agree that this one bucket per person will not make a huge difference in the long run. Tackling daily situations where you could be saving water and making it a priority is a better way to go, since its something that can and should be done every single day. What would make a huge difference overall is:

– don’t use your dishwasher or washing machine when it’s only half full;

– don’t spend more than 15 minutes in the shower, there’s no need for that;

– don’t let the water running on the sink while you brush your teeth;

– check your house and work place for leaks regularly.

For more tips, check out the Water Use It Wisely website. They have more than 100 ideas of little things you can introduce to your routine to really use water wisely.

2) ALS is a serious debilitating disease, don’t waste water. Just donate, they really need it. 

The other day a facebook friend posted a video of a woman showing off pieces of paper with facts about ALS and arguing that they need a donation more than they need a bucket of icy water dumped on your head. On her last frame, she sows off a hundred dollar bill saying that would be her donation for the cause. If you refuse to take the challenge because you have the means to make a donation and you prefer to do it, good for you.That’s awesome that you can contribute this way. But do you have to publicize it on social media and make a statement that your donation is more important then the acts of all the other people that helped raise awareness to the illness? I personally feel it is incredibly rude to imply that those that froze their entire bodies are greedy people that are not willing to make a donation. Other people may not have the money, so they dumped the icy water and promoted it on social media, challenging others to do it. Others that might be willing to make a donation, no matter the amount, and continue to spread the word. Each person helps the way they can, donating because you have the means doesn’t make you better than anyone.

3) ALS is important, but so are other diseases such as cancer, ms, and etc. Why are you not making a donation to them?

We all understand there is several serious illnesses that debilitate and kill human beings daily. And there is several other organizations that need donations to fund researches and treatments. By making a donation or raising awareness to one specific disease or one specific organization people are choosing to support a cause, not dismissing or forgetting there is others to be supported. Individuals can’t embrace the world and solve all the problems at the same time. But they can step up and help one cause when there’s an opportunity or a new campaign. Nobody needs you telling them there’s other causes out there, and making them feel bad about choosing one.

My point with this text is to tell all the people that keep policing others on social media and making their savvy comments that some things don’t need to be criticized or combated or challenged. They just need to run its course. It’s ok to be part of the mainstream sometimes, just join the trend. To me, this is one of the times we should be celebrating the power of social media and a well crafted marketing campaign to raise awareness to an organization and a disease. We should be pointing out that by some reason so many people came together and dumped feeling waters on themselves as a sign of solidarity, generosity and humanity. How beautiful is that?

 

Movie exposes misinterpreted Hannah Arendt

 

Hannah Arendt is nowadays praised as one of the most important political theorists and philosophers of the 20th century, something that seem inconsistent with the many reviews her texts about the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 got at the time of its publication. The movie, entitled after her, recounts this episode, from the moment she offered herself to serve as The New Yorker reporter, her thought and writing process and the public’s response to the publication of her article and, later, book.

It is fascinating when somebody theorizes her own life experiences, or the experiences of her own generation, objectively. A sensible point of view, avoiding the danger of simplifying events, is something hard to conquer, and in her case, hard to advocate. Many people seemed to think Arendt was making excuses for Eichmann’s behavior, and consequently for the nazis behavior as a whole, when in reality she was reporting the perception Eichmann had of his own actions. He portrayed himself as a bureaucrat, someone who was merely following orders and not necessarily understood the consequences of what he did daily while working for Hitler’s government. From his perspective, all he did was sign documents and follow orders. Adolf Eichmann, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website, was responsible for several deportation proceedings, including the transportation of over 1.5 million Jews from all over Europe to killing centers located in occupied areas of  Poland and the Soviet Union while working for the Clearing Activities division of the Gestapo between 1940 and March 1941.  As a result of the trial held in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1961, Eichmann was found guilt and sentenced to death. He was hanged in June, 1962, his body was cremated and his ashes were spread at sea, beyond Israeli waters.

Many of Arendt’s friends and fellow scholars expected a jewish woman and a concentration camp survivor to be more emphatic on his active responsibility in regards to the numerous deaths. Not only that, they never expected she would public blame part of Jewish leaders for their participation on the persecution of their own people, being known some gave valuable information on other Jews to nazis in exchange for their personal protection.

For so many reasons, Hannah Arendt is a must-see. From the recount of a historic episode to the discussion of philosophical, academic and scientific standards her work stand for, it is impossible to leave the room without reflecting about World War II, the banality of evil, to use Arendt’s phrasing, and what sort of changes society went through since 1940. Ultimately, it makes us think about the past that shaped what the world is now and it leaves us questioning the notion that we would learn from our mistakes, since ethnic and religion differences are still factors for crimes against humanity nowadays.

* A friendly reminder for those who don’t appreciate captions: Hannah Arendt is not an american movie, but most of it is spoken in English.