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How DO you change the world?

It’s been a crappy couple of weeks in the world, what with this and this. But then it’s been a crappy few…years, in Syria and Bangladesh.

This photo made the rounds on Twitter shortly after the bombing in Boston.

Everyone agreed it was a beautiful thing to do.

Like everyone on earth, I was glued to the news for the entire week ending April 20. For almost two days, a major American city was in shutdown, while everyone there waited anxiously for it to be over, and then everyone was relieved and happy when it was over. Everyone knew it was going to end.

And I can’t be the only person who thought; for those guys in that photo from Syria, what happened in Boston for those two days happens every day. But it has no end.

Then this week, again, a horrible building collapse in Bangladesh. Hundreds of people killed because their bosses told them to keep working in an unsafe building to cheaply make clothes for…me. And it’s happened before. And it is happening every day in sweatshops — that’s what they are — in China, and Mexico, for example. There are too many more.

I had the notion to start an online petition, telling governments to stop selling weapons to other countries, since that’s partly what’s fuelling the war in Syria — and I found dozens of petitions asking for that already in progress, as well as others against landmines and the sale of assault weapons in the US. There are protests too, at every G8 summit, against the way our economy currently works — partly against sweatshops. But they continue to operate.

What to do? I’m trying to think.

I need to do spring cleaning–picking out the clothes I don’t / can’t wear anymore, washing and donating them, and bringing the things I wouldn’t foist on anyone for recycling. And then…there are some lovely-looking consignment shops on 124th Street I could check out. Re-using rather than buying cheaply-made clothes. If everyone did that, would it help?

And as for weapons…ugh. I’ve written before on what I think about firearms. I don’t know that there’s anything I can directly do about that. But I have an idea…which I’ve just tweeted about, if you’d care to have a look on the right.

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Because I don’t know what to say.

Because somewhere in the world, every day, a bomb goes off somewhere – a landmine long forgotten, a shell fired at someone miles away so the firer doesn’t have to see who he’s killed, a homemade bomb in the London Underground, an explosion at one of the most famous public events in the world.

And whoever that bomb kills, if I say I’m sorry it’s meaningless. If I get angry it’s pointless. If I get sad it’s selfish…I don’t know who you’ve lost, I can’t know how you feel.

I’m writing this because if I don’t say something, somehow, I’ll scream, or throw up, or punch a wall. And none of that will help either.

I’m writing because there is nothing I can say. I wish I could hug you instead.