English Articles

Let’s Use Closer “Windows” More

Mehmed Boyacıoğlu

Social studies books mention concentric circles concerning someone’s relationships with his/her human environment. We begin, as educators, to teach self, family, neighbourhood, town, city, state, etc… We have a lot of relationships with all of these circles. Therefore, we have some obligations regarding to those circles. That is to say, we are responsible from ourselves, our family, our neighbourhood, our city, etc... However, these obligations and duties become less and insignificant when the circle become larger. The larger becomes the circles, the lesser the duties.

But, nowadays we live in a world to which Marshall McLuhan called “global village”. The world has become smaller and smaller either literally or figuratively; with supersonic planes, wireless internet, radio, television, and the other mass media.

We can watch the events in the remote parts of the world lively when we are sitting in chairs relaxed in our living rooms. We can buy almost everything via one click from online superstores in different parts of the world. Branches of the big firms and banks work together as if they are sharing the same rooms or flats.

Meanwhile, the issues being dealt in the mass media is more interesting to most people than the problems in which they confront in their near vicinities.

For that reason, we experience the geographically inverted relationships. Our behaviours are being affected by the remote factors. It is true that we are effected by the credit crisis in the United States, a territory far away from us some tens of thousands miles. But it is also true that, while following these events in a great curiosity, we tend to forget our neighbour or town. Some of us, while memorizing names of the presidents and prime ministers of the western countries, or, say in the Middle East, if asked, cannot count the names of the people living in the same apartment block.

So, while we are dealing with, say, the crises in the Middle East, Uncle Ahmet who is sharing us the same block suffers from cancer. When we watch the news about endangered species, our neighbour tries to make his ends meet and focuses his effort to support his son’s or daughter’s tuition fees in a university. When we are watching humane plight in Darfour, Sudan, aunt Ayşe waits in queues of cheap bread or coal.

When describing this loneliness, some of us try to find some excuses. We blame exhausting office work, boring traffic, and etc.

But when we were in countryside, we would know, recognize, and chat, via some occasions, with those who live in the remote parts of the same village. In contrary, today, fifty families can reside in the same apartment block. It means a small village. In addition, because of the lifts, it is very easy to access the every floor. At the same time, office tasks in the city are not more exhausting than the rural areas’ agricultural works.

If this is so, concrete, cement, doors and gates, and other parts of the apartment blocks do not say us: ‘Do not visit your neighbours!’ Also, they do not prevent to our greeting to each other.

Then, let’s start saying good morning, bonjour, selam, etc. with our closest neighbours spending only few minutes. Is it so difficult smiling to those hearing adhan from the same minaret? Is it impossible to inquire someone’s health, who lives in the same street?

If we assign only tenth of time we are spending in front of TV to our relatives and close neighbours, believe me, our world will be safer and more liveable.


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