by Miski Omar
Long arduous days at university call for a sequential binge watch of your favourite Netflix’s series. There is nothing more liberating than extending your feet across the length of the couch, perching yourself into a semi-awkward but mainly comfortable fetal position whilst mechanically watching 8 consecutive episodes of ‘The Vikings’.
Next episode starting in 10 seconds? I check my phone, its 12:03. What?! I now have 6 seconds to make the excruciating decision between episode 9 or making it to my 8am shift.
I groan over the irony, that it is my job that allows me to pay for Netflix, the same Netflix I can’t watch because I have a job. What is life?
What do I watch? Is every one’s life this difficult? I mean, I have to find something in the next 2 minutes’ max! This ‘something’ needs to be a crossbreed between light-hearted but not stupid, entertaining but not too entertaining. I do not need to be compulsively bingeing another TV show. I settle on Married at first sight, perfect, did I also mention that minimal usage of brain cells was also a requirement?
Gosh, why am I suddenly so tired? I can’t even find the energy to roll my eyes at the “experts” when they say expert-y things like “Relationships are built on trust”. Wow! Really?! that’s news to me, here I was thinking that they were built on mayonnaise. That’s what PHDs are meant for? To tell me something I can read out of a Dolly magazine.
Since when did channel nine incorporate crunching sound as background music? It then dawns upon me that I can’t eat chips while watching TV, because if I eat chips while watching TV I won’t be able to hear the TV. Urgh!! Why are things never easy for me?!! Anyway, enough with my woes, I decided to finally pack away the chips, a decision that proved to be both economical and practical, as I can now clearly hear Susan tell Sean after 2 days and 6 hours of knowing him “I think I can picture spending the rest of my life with you”. Oh, the joys of reality television…
As the ad break hits, I look over at my phone its now 12:42. I aim the remote towards the sensor to put an end to the masochistic crusade on my brain cells and something catches my attention. It was almost as if I was peering into a mirror, I Immediately recognise the ebony skin of the frail woman that had appeared on the screen. Her slender fingers caressing her child’s bony frame resemble my own. Her chapped lips begin to utter words in a foreign language of which I somehow understand the sentence “What is this life we live?”. Painfully, and eerily echoing the very question I asked myself earlier.
Chills go down the length of my body as I realise that I could have easily been her and she could have been me. Just by the mere lottery of birth I live a comfortable life in Sydney, worrying over the trivialities of life. Whilst I agitate if I should watch the next episode of the Vikings before work, she cries on television about the famine in Somalia. How the lack of food and water, has robbed her family of their right to survive. What is life?
Currently, an estimated 6.2 million people are affected by the famine in the Somali regions of East Africa. That is the equivalent of Sydney’s entire population plus half of Melbourne’s. Access to food security, water and health are deteriorating at a tremendous speed. The current famine is predicted to be worse than the famine of 2011 which claimed more than a quarter million lives. WE need to act!
“We have a small window to stop what happened in 2011 from happening again – but that window is quickly shutting”
Says Hassan Saadi Noor, Somalia country director, Save the Children
Think of the days where you felt so hungry to the point of nausea, now imagine reaching a level of starvation resulting in death. Imagine being in a constant state of discomfort, and I’m not talking about not being able to chuck an all-nighter watching Netflix, or not being able to eat chips while watching TV, or realising you have no milk after already filling up your bowl with cereal. I’m talking about the absence of the necessities required to survive; food and water. Whilst we have water fights on hot days, people in are Somalia fighting for water. While we complain about how we overeat, there are people who would be honoured to have just a quarter of the food we have on our plates.
We did not ask to be in this position, and it is impractical to walk around feeling guilty for something we have no control over, however what we do have, is the power to change things for the better. Together we can utilise our privilege, to raise awareness and funds to help those suffering at the hands of the Somali famine.
Don’t let someone’s ‘Next episode starting in 10 seconds’ be an episode of hunger.
-Image is Courtesy of @mariamhassi & @hasanah.m-