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“Don’t look at us as victims” They don’t need easy sympathy

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Hello, this is Honoka. This time, I wrote an article about what my Italian friends often say.

The victims are tired of being called as a “victims”

I was studying abroad in the city of L’Aquila in central Italy, but when I told it to an Italian who did not live near L’Aquila, he said, “Is there an earthquake 12 years ago (in 2009)?” It is often said. However, in reality, L’Aquila people are quite tired of being told that and appeal to us, “I want you to know the charm of our city.”
Previously (I think it was around 2018), there is a web page (https://te2ha.jimdofree.com/) that was created mainly for Japanese readers, but here is the following I am writing.

“For many Japanese people, what comes to mind when they hear” L’Aquila “is the 2009 earthquake. And surely that sad event would have informed the Japanese about the unfamiliar city of “L’Aquila”. But, needless to say, L’Aquila wasn’t a “stricken area” until 2009, and it’s still a city with about 67,000 people. Some of my friends have been displaced from their hometowns, but others continue to live there. A friend has lived in L’Aquila ever since he was born. And they take great pride in the city of L’Aquila. Italians, not just L’Aquila, have a strong patriotism called campanilismo. For example, what do you think if foreigners only think that “Kamaishi City in Japan is an earthquake-stricken area?” If Kamaishi is your hometown, or if you have friends in Kamaishi, you wouldn’t think, “I want you to know more about the wonderful harbor, our history, and other aspects other than the earthquake!” Is it? And the foreigner does not know how much Kamaishi City has recovered. Some believe that Kamaishi City has already recovered. Don’t you think it’s very sad? At least if I’m a Kamaishi citizen, I really hate it. Many people in Japan only see L’Aquila as a “earthquake-stricken area”, despite such wonderful attractions as the Cathedral of San Bernardino and the Cathedral of Collemaggio. If you try searching the internet, you will find that there are many articles about earthquakes. “

In fact, L’Aquila isn’t the only one to say this.

A friend of mine is helping poor children in Africa, but “I’m disgusted by the stereotypes and easy sympathy that Africa is a poor place. Japanese people never wear it. We send us such obvious second-hand clothes, but in fact they are not happy to wear them unless they are very poor or need urgent help. I’ll listen. ” In addition, “Easy sympathy does not necessarily have a bad intention, and the supporter often does it in the hope of the happiness of the person being supported, but in many cases it is not malicious, but in fact it is easy to donate used clothing. That prevents the birth of industry from the land. The back side of international cooperation is not often talked about, but in fact there is such an aspect, and easy sympathy has no good results. I want you to know that it is not a good thing. “

Value human dignity

L’Aquila is far wealthier than the poorer parts of Africa where she works (not all Africa is poor, this is often misunderstood), but the Italians also “lost everything”. There are actually some aspects that are seen as “poor people who have been destroyed” and “sad people whose minds and bodies have been messed up.” And, for a while, I myself was eager to “help them!”, But I forgot the basics of respecting their personality and thinking about their dignity as human beings. Therefore, they actually acted with the stereotype that “the victims are poor people”.
Don’t have easy sympathy. Easy support is also not allowed. So how can we help the victims, or the poor in Africa? After all, the best way to help them is with financial help. Money can be used in many ways and, above all, does not produce garbage. The risk of destroying the local industry can also be reduced if the donations are used correctly. For example, if you send used clothing and it becomes unnecessary or does not reach the person you want to support, it will take time and money. Then it’s better for them to sell second-hand clothes that they can still wear online (such as Mercari and Yahoo Auctions in Japan) and donate the money.

How can we help them?

However, giving money to each victim is not a very realistic method. In such cases, it is realistic to give them what they need (it is different from time to time and from city to city, so it is better to listen before sending) or to give warm words.

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