Never Downplay TORTURE

 

“They tell me ‘fuck off, this is our country, we will kill you, go back to your country’. And I say to them ‘you brought me here! You know I can’t go back to my country. You tell me I am a refugee.’ Then the three of them beat me. They hit my head, they kick me. They are supposed to be my security. They are supposed to be protecting me. Instead they are beating me.” (Mohsen, Manus Island)

Dear Readers,

By the time you finish reading this blog post, I would have hoped to have answered all your curiosities and also have provided the cold, hard facts about Australia’s undeniable role concerning torture in Nauru and Manus Island.

Manus island photo
(AAP Image/Eoin Blackwell)

I know torture is bad, but what is it exactly?

The definition of Torture by the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT):

‘Torture’ means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

So after you have given yourself the chance to digest this wordy definition, how would you feel if I were to say that Australia and torture are definitely not worlds apart?

Australia having a relation to torture is news to me. Doesn’t it only exist in less civilized parts of the world?

It wouldn’t be abnormal to think that Australia wouldn’t have much to do with that horrible little ‘T’ word, because of all its legislations that forbid such cruel acts against humanity.

So let’s not waste any more time and dive straight in, shall we?

According to International law and Australian legislation, torture is prohibited. Also, Australia is a member of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR)

According to the ICCPR, ”No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ and a state party must take “legislative, administrative, judicial and other measures to prevent and provide remedy to survivors of torture in any ‘country under its jurisdiction.”

Ooh, isn’t it lovely that Australia has such great values?

How about this 2013 Amnesty International Report I found?!

Amnesty (2013) explains that even though torture has been widespread and normalised in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Sri Lanka and West Papua, Australia has always carried the reputation of being a country that does not condone nor practise torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading acts. 

Everything seems all rainbows and unicorns to me, so what’s your issue with Australia and torture?

My issue is the fact that we still do not fully understand the unfortunate connection that the words ‘Australia’, ‘Manus Island’, ‘Nauru’ and ‘Torture’ have.

Ok then, so what are we already “supposed” to know about Manus Island and Nauru?

Well, the truth is, you’re not actually supposed to know anything.

This is what the government DOES NOT want us to be seeing on our television screens:

Due to the Australian Border Protection Act, there are very heavy restrictions placed on journalism in Nauru and Manus Island. Much like Guantanamo Bay, the two detention centres are “black sites” because the Australian public is not well informed. Until quite recently, there has been a cloud of secrecy surrounding the happenings of the two detention centres.

And where are these island anyway? I hear they are far away, so it sure ain’t Australia’s problem.

It really isn’t surprising that many Australians don’t know much about the islands considering the Australian government enjoy bullying any media that tries to get to them. They have raised the price of a journalist visa from $200 to $8,000. A visa is mandatory for any media access to the camps, so what does this tell you, hm?

The location of the two processing centres are far from Australia’s shores and are situated in other developing countries. How would you like to be forced from one third world country to another? If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, reports have claimed that the government has gone to new censorship lengths by removing Manus Island and Nauru from Google Maps Australia.

(Note: Look at how I managed to outwit Google!)

Nauru and Manus island location
(Source: Google Maps)

Ok, fine. They have been placed in another tough environment, but surely it isn’t THAT bad.

The accounts of mistreatment have been released and reports from Amnesty International should answer your question.

What makes my alarm bells go off is even though there are such harsh restrictions placed on journalism, Australian media always seem to be reporting on it. This should make everyone question the quality of the reports we consume.

Guardian article on Manus island
(Source: The Guardian/Ben Doherty)

So are you saying that the reports are somewhat downplayed?

Simply put, yes.

It is quite obvious that the Australian media have been following the footsteps of the US media by showing how hesitant they are to use the word ‘torture’ in its reporting. Bennett, Lawrence and Livingston (2006) brought to light the fact that western countries have the tendency to rename ‘torture’ and prefer to use words such as ‘abuse’ ‘mistreatment’ and ‘enhanced interrogation’.

So now that we have established that the Australian government is shady (how shocking!) and censorship on the media is tough, does something now smell a little fishy to you?

But why doesn’t the Australian government want us to know? What is really going on over there?

Well if you have already seen SBS’s dateline report about the state of Manus Island and Nauru, then you should be well aware that the conditions are worse than deplorable.

They have been described as hellish, unbearable and torturous. An Iranian refugee who has been held at Manus Island detention centre for 28 months says that he has experienced ‘profound and annihilating mental torture’. He writes that not knowing is the worst torture he and fellow detainees are experiencing. “Inflicting torture by the use of time is the best and complete explanation of this situation.”

Asylum seekers are having to resort to their smartphones in order to communicate what is happening behind the barbed-wire fence. Even still, the government puts more restrictive policies in place so that communication with the outside world is incredibly difficult (Coddington, 2014)

Sure, the conditions may not be ideal, but torture is a pretty harsh word to use. 

You can decide for yourself if these occurrences are or are not torture:

-Being deprived of basic medical assistance resulting in death
Being punched after asking for more washing powder
A 5-year-old asylum seeker boy being raped by a fellow detainee and being forced to stay with his rapist in Nauru

Have you decided yet?

The Australian immigration officials that are over there to supposedly protect the detainee’s are condoning the torture of these innocent individuals.

You can call this ‘brutal’ or ‘harsh’, but it will not change the fact that these are acts of torture.

Why should I care?

Because we are all entitled to our human rights. The detainees in these centres have fallen victim to our negligence.

Amnesty’s violation of human rights evaluation goes as such:
1. Refoulement (forcing a refugee to go back to their country where they face persecution)
2. Arbitrary detention
3. Discrimination
4. No legal protection
5. Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

Did you know that torture is a major global issue?

-Torture has been used by 150 countries in the past, and that it is still being practised. (Crelinsten, 2003, p. 295)

-Australia isn’t the only western country that is shielding its use of torture. The United States are using ‘enhanced interrogation methods’ in Guantanamo bay and another noteworthy point is the fact that the US’s top 10 aid recipients currently practice torture.

How would you like to be treated like you shouldn’t exist anymore?

“In here is nothing to make you feel happy, or give you some hope at least”

We need to act in the next election and fight for the rights of asylum seekers fleeing persecution.

 

 

 

 

References (not including hyperlinks)

Amnesty International. (2013). Annual Report 2013: The State of the World’s Human Rights. London, England: Amnesty International Publications.

Bennett, W. L., Lawrence, Regina G., & Livingston, S. (2006). None dare to call it torture: Indexing and the limits of press independence in the abu ghraib scandal. [Article]. Journal of Communication, 56(3), 467-485. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00296.x

Coddington, K, & Mountz, A 2014, ‘Countering isolation with the use of technology: how asylum-seeking detainees on islands in the Indian Ocean use social media to transcend their confinement’, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 97-112. Available from: 10.1080/19480881.2014.896104. [17 May 2016].

Crelinsten, R. D. (2003). The world of torture: A constructed reality. Theoretical Criminology, 7(3), 293-318. doi: 10.1177/13624806030073003

 

 

Poverty Porn: The Western Cop Out.

 

web1_800px-Helping_the_homeless

 

Previously, I had never even heard of the term ‘poverty porn’. After punching it into Google, the never ending list of explanations was incredible.

“Poverty porn is dangerous”

“What is wrong with poverty porn?”

“5 reasons why poverty porn empowers the wrong person”

I even stumbled upon the Wikipedia definition:

“Poverty porn, also known as development porn or famine porn, has been defined as “any type of media, be it written, photographed or filmed, which exploits the poor’s condition in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations”

After some serious article and YouTube browsing, it became clear to me that this so-called “poverty porn” is all around western media culture.

We really do get off on it as much as pornography addicts get off on well, pornography.

There is so much saturation in the media of famished children’s faces, sad African people crying out for help and documentaries on trailer park people. The BBC in The UK has even created a reality show that recreates the living conditions of Victorian Britain. The main objective is to observe their struggle living and working in extremely tough conditions followed by reminding ourselves of how lucky we are after switching off the television.
Us as a western audience are being asked to feel pity for what is put before us. If we don’t feel pity, what does that make us?

Horrible, snobby and selfish.

Sometimes we are even being asked to open our wallets. Sure, we may shed a tear for the Syrian refugees begging for food as they flee their homes, and we may even donate a few spare pieces of golden shrapnel to feed a few starving children. But what does this exactly achieve?

So, you think that you are changing the world, hm?

But first, let me show you another definition:

Screenshot 2016-04-02 00.15.10

 

If you don’t also agree that shedding a tear to a pair of begging eyes on your plasma tv is not shirking responsibility, I don’t know what is.

Collectively, we are feeding an industry of misconstrued images all for the gain for wealthy individuals, just so we can reassure ourselves that we are not just rich snobs. I strongly believe that poverty porn is creating a massive western “cop out culture”.

“poverty porn leads to charity, not activism: donors, not advocates.” (Roenigk, 2014)

This really isn’t our fault, because the everyday westerner cannot control the media’s portrayal of suffering. We sure do influence the media’s portrayal (because those slimy suckers know that we have a soft spot for dying, sick children), but nowadays it is almost impossible to escape these haunting images and stories of suffering.

“Images of buzzing flies, begging eyes, and bloated bellies flood television screens and print media in an attempt to pull at heartstrings and garner donations.”(Nathanson, 2013)

However, not all hope is lost because society has attempted to strike back at the culture of “othering” Africa through poverty porn. Their aim is to enlighten the world about how Africa too can be portrayed in a positive light and doesn’t only exist as a western source of pity. They are pretty much saying that *shock* *horror*, there is another side to the story!
Under the Twitter hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou, contemporary African individuals are attempting to end the media’s constant theme of African suffering.

So.

Let’s just take the time to take a deep breath and admit that we get off on ourselves feeling bad for the sufferers out there. I really don’t think this is a bad thing at all, but then again, is there even much point? The least we could all do is recognise this and study the definition of a “cop out”. Then you can decide for yourself if you would like to to give the homeless man on the corner 5 dollars.

iPhone: The New Aussie Offline Status Symbol

 

Girl with the iPhone 5_tablet

When you first layed eyes on the iPhone,  what were the first thoughts to pop into your head? Perhaps adjectives such as “innovative”, “modern” and “trendy” would come to mind. However, I’m left wondering if the word “status symbol” would also come about. That’s because, in certain Australian societal contexts, that is exactly what it is.

Since the first iPhone exploded onto the scene in 2007, it had a little bit of a slow start. Everyone was still trying to grasp the concept of the smartphone. It essentially indicated the beginning of the smartphone era. In 2011, the iPhone was leading the Australian smartphone charge, with everyone wanting one for themselves.

The iPhone is undeniably one of the most popular brands in the smartphone market. I can assure you that you would see it 8/10 if you scanned a train carriage full of teenagers, university students and business people. Smith (2015) explains how Australia’s appreciation for the Iphone is much more pronounced than other countries. They are everywhere. Yes, the very large fan following of the iPhone is highly obvious, but have we managed to recognise the social status symbol that it has very cleverly constructed? It is a tough question to ask.

Currently I am an Android user, but I must admit that I was one of the million that held my iPhone ever so tightly to my chest as I slept. No, it was not because it had a flashy camera or a sleek design, because there are tons of smartphones in the market that have the same, if not better features. I was lured in because I saw it as my one-way ticket to high-status stardom. I confidently plonked it down onto cafe tables and on my work desk. I made sure it spent more time in my palm in public than hidden in my back pocket. I wanted the Australian public to know that I was one of them and that I was worthy of their attention. That “oh so hip” and “oh so now” piece of metal in my greedy palm was my metaphorical megaphone that aimed to grab the attention of every member of the Australian public that walked past me.

With that being said, the iPhone does play different social status roles in different societal groups. As a university student, I have picked up on the tendency to have your iPhone out on display even when it’s not in use.

Why is that, do you think?

Essentially, university students worship their iPhone as a reflection of their sophistication, completion, wealth status and fashion sense . Some universities have even created links to their website with specific Apple product-related help due to the overwhelming prevalence of the device.

Especially in the adolescent world, the iPhone can be seen (amongst other factors) as the crucial element of group inclusion or separation. It is either you’re in or you’re out. If you have a group of ten sixteen-year-olds, the majority will have an iPhone either visibly hanging out their jean pockets or firmly clutched in their palm as they strut down the street.

Matyszczyk (2014) backs up my claim by explaining how even the model of an adolescent’s iPhone is an important reflection of social status:

“Will they buy the iPhone 6 when it comes out, or be stuck with the slower iPhone 5? Or, even worse, still have an iPhone 4?”

The question as to where this social trend will lead Australian society still begs as there are already 6 generations of iPhones with the popularity barely moving. It will be interesting to see in the years to come if the iPhone will slowly shift from a symbol of sophisticated socio-economic status towards a symbol of high technological and/or professional status. Or perhaps a competitor will knock Apple off its top spot?

Regardless of what the outcome is, the Apple brand should be patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

If you’re a man, how are you a feminist?

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If I were to be honest with you, when I learned about the notion of Feminism I did not think that males could have possibly been feminists too. What I considered a feminist was a strong woman who believed in equal rights between both genders and would stand up for the inequalities that women face in day to day life.

I used to think that if a man tried to be a feminist, it would be seen as highly provocative and patronising because at the end of the day, us men aren’t women and we do not know what it’s like to be one. But after doing some research, I was enlightened by the fact that male feminists exist and there are quite a few! This tumblr blog dedicates itself to the awareness of male feminism which shows how positive it can be. This blog has quite powerful images of men holding up signs with different messages on them including “women don’t owe you shit”, “because alpha males lead by example, not force” and the last one which I think is a very important message ” Men, by remaining silent, you are further perpetuating the war on women, SPEAK OUT!”. These Male feminists went against what I first perceived to be a male feminist. They weren’t arrogant, provocative and patronising. They are merely helping the fight, and spreading more awareness for their fellow women.

There are however, some people that do not agree with male feminists. In this article, a self-proclaimed male feminist was told to “shut up and listen” by the quite renowned feminist Clementine Ford and that he shouldn’t be involved with feminism. He then responded by insisting that feminists needed mens support. The article brings up the question whether or not men should stay away from feminism which I completely disagree with because at the end of the day, men are usually the oppressors of other women therefore there needs to be male role models that promote equal rights. It’s a good start at least in my opinion. But as this woman discusses, she believes that there are a lot of male feminists out there that say they are all for equal rights but then still demonstrate mysogonist and sexist behaviour. This blog really questions the notion of males being able to involve themselves with feminism “if you’re a man living in a Patriarchy, meaning you benefit from Patriarchy at almost every turn of society, then calling yourself a feminist does not exempt you from perpetuating male supremacy. Yes, you heard me right: even the act of calling yourself a feminist can be patriarchal”.

The real question that we need to ask ourselves is what makes a good male feminist? There is no question in my mind that in order to achieve gender equality, we need both genders fighting for it. Us men just need to know when we are being pro-feminism instead of fake feminists.

Connection is everything.

“Connection is everything” is the slogan on the The National Broadband Networks (NBN) website. The website continues to say that this plan “is delivering an Australia wide project to upgrade the existing fixed line phone and internet network infrastructure. It is essential for Australia’s transition to a digital future. Fast broadband has the potential to fuel growth and drive improvements to local economies, businesses and homes, bringing new opportunities to the whole country.”

What does this actually mean to you and what does it mean in regards to ourselves and our households in the future? Should we be excited or should we be scared? For me, it still has not reached my area as I live in the Sutherland Shire and it seems to be going to rural areas primarily, but after looking deeper into the NBN plan, I asked myself, “will this plan really change my life?”, but more importantly, “is connection really everything?”. Just from being a young person and observing my surroundings, I think it is safe to say that for us connection really is everything and yes it could change lives. Last week I didn’t have a phone since I just came back from overseas so I had to find other things to do, doing things that would normally involve a smartphone firmly planted in my hand to give me comfort and security from the big bad world. Just by sitting on the train, looking at 90 percent of the people with their faces planted into their phones, laughing, smirking and snickering at their screens as if it were another human being. Most of the time it probably is them connecting with another human being, but they could be anywhere in the world. I thought to myself that this is sort of sad how we have become like this, but at the same time, we all do it, whether we like it or not. Also, I am a Media student with an internship for a digital magazine which means I do most of my work online. Bad connections or dropouts really can make things complicated and with most things turning online, fast connection would make things so much nicer. However, I personally believe that there is a dark-side to being connected all the time and that I am a little scared to be honest where this will take human interaction (or lack of) in the future. Sherry Turkle had some fantastic points about how our constant connection with our devices can really affect our social lives. As Turkle questions “As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other?”. Take a look at her Ted talk:

After questioning how this NBN scheme would affect myself and my doings, I turned to Patricia (52, Nurse) again to ask her how the NBN coming to her area would affect her and her household. She told me that as a Nurse she does not really need the internet that much so the current broadband plan she has right now is fine for her. She in fact said that she had no idea about the NBN plan until I came and asked her about it and that she thought that her broadband connection couldn’t really get any better. However, as a mother of 3 and having a husband who works in the IT industry as a computer programmer she says that the introduction of the NBN would definitely affect her household’s workings. She said that she believes that her Husband will be able to get his work done quicker and always will be able to work from home as sometimes he has to go to his office in the city if the connection is poor at home. After being asked about how it will affect the lives of her teenage children she laughed and said that she doesn’t think they could possibly become more anti-social regardless of the NBN coming through. She said that since they each have at least 2 devices, she hardly ever sees them until dinner or when they want food. She thinks that the household is very “connection focused” at the current time, and that the NBN really could segregate the household even more, especially amongst her children. She then added that she might have to bring in some restrictions within the household so that it doesn’t turn her family “into a bunch of zombies”. From hearing this, I was quite curious to know her views solely on the internet, so I showed her Danah Boyd’s description of the internet, “a world populated by people who share idiosyncratic interests and are ready to discuss them at any time, day or night” (Boyd, D 2014, p. 4). She responded with a slightly perplexed expression because she said she wasn’t sure how she feels about it. She said that if she had interests to discuss, she wouldn’t post them on the internet, but she can see how that is how the world is functioning at the moment. She added that she didn’t grow up with it and the world didn’t end because she couldn’t always be connected. She just said that things were different and with a smile said that the only differences is that “kids have thousands of friends now, but I would like to see them count on one hand the amount of true friends they think they have.”

That last statement really touched down with me as I couldn’t help but go back to Sherry Turkles quote “As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other?”. Yes, the NBN might bring us faster internet, but it also might bring us the death of social interaction inside and outside the house. So maybe we should reconsider the notion of “connection is everything”.

References:

Boyd, D 2014, ‘It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens’, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Sherry Turkle “Connected, but alone?”: see link in the text

http://www.nbnco.com.au/about-the-nbn.html

The life of a Brazilian television.

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Patricia (52) is originally from Brazil and has been living in Australia for 22 years. She was brought up in a fairly large family with 5 brothers and sisters. She was around 8 when the first television came into her household and you can tell that it was quite the event, but at the same time, they stuck true to their upbringing before the television came. Nonetheless, her experience with the television is such a contrast to the modern day type. I was lucky enough to conduct an interview with Patricia and the following extract is from a voice recording that I took during the interview.

From what I remember, we only got a television in the late 60’s. The brand was a “telefunken” from Germany and it was colour. That for us was truly amazing, watching the Television in colour, wow. In Brazil, having a television definitely represented your social status because Brazil is a country that is strongly divided by class. In fact, thinking about it now, I think that not much has changed in that sense. Even when my brothers, sisters and I were little, we never really watched much television because since the television was new, we were so used to playing outside to entertain ourselves. But when we did watch the television it was at night time to watch soap operas. We loved the soap operas because it is a very big part of the Brazilian culture. Sports also (mainly Soccer) were a huge part of my families television culture. When we watched television it was all together as a family. We enjoyed watching variety shows the most. Where there were people dancing, doing silly things and where there was a live audience. Those sorts of shows to us were amazing because there was so much atmosphere. Some of the shows that I used to watch were “buzina do chacrinha” and “fantastico”. Even though you wouldn’t have thought so, but sometimes we did watch the television whilst eating because my father had to watch the news. When he didn’t have anything to watch, we were never allowed to sit in front of the television whilst eating because the kitchen wasn’t close to the living room so we had no choice but to sit at the table. Plus, before the television came, we were always sitting at the table together so it would have been strange to get into the habit of starting to sit around the TV.

I then asked her how certain behaviours in her household had changed since the introduction of their television, “I don’t know why but the television for me was never a big part of my life, nor was it a big part of the lives of my brothers and sisters. Only my mother who had to constantly watch her soap operas because in Brazil, it was a big topic of conversation amongst the mothers and women. I guess if they did not watch their soap operas and reported back to their friends, they would  either have no friends left, nothing to talk about or be looked down upon.”

When asked about the amount of nudity and/or sex in the programs Patricia swiftly responded with “No, no, no! There was hardly any sex or nudity on the television back then! That would have been utterly inappropriate. I must say, I do like Game of Thrones, but if my Mother saw the amount of boobs on the screen as I do, my god, I don’t even want to know what she would do. Back then, society was definitely much more traditional and since the television was a symbol of status, anything like nudity and sex in quite a conservative society would bring down the class of owning a television. You can see how this has changed over the years as the television has been around for quite a while. Since everyone has one or two or three, there is little prestige. And since we are not going to sit around all day watching just soap operas, I guess the program creators need to keep the entertainment fresh and shocking. Now it’s not so much about the TV box itself, much much more so what we watch on it. I’m sure that now the topic amongst the middle aged mothers and women now is about My Kitchen Rules or Desperate Housewives or some garbage like that. In saying that, I hate reality TV. It’s so fake and there is no excitement watching it because you know all these people are fake. It’s nothing like watching a live studio audience show like what I used to watch.”

Patricia concluded by stating that the television of today has been over-run by the internet, “The amount of access that we have now to everything online has taken away the special feeling that I had when I got to watch the television back in the late 60’s. It’s a shame but that’s the way the media works!”

References:

Gotta to love a good Hook Up.

Tatia Pilieva’s “First Kiss” has most recently become social media’s newest “talk of the town”. It made its debut on the user-generated site ‘YouTube’ and is a short film that involves 20 strangers that have just met, being asked to kiss each other.

 


The reception to the video has been overwhelmingly positive with comments strewn all over the videos comment section. Some of the positive comments include “That was incredibly sweet”, “Super!!!” and “I really really really really enjoyed that”. Even the reception from the people shown in the video after their steamy making out session was surprisingly positive. Why is it though, that we are so intrigued by a group of strangers kissing for the first time? Have we never seen people kiss before? Is it due to the excitement that comes with an unlikely scenario of people that have just met, sharing such a private and intimate moment or are we all just incredibly unhappy with our own private lives that we need to watch other people sharing a moment that we so desperately desire for ourselves?

 

Pilieva believes that “it was probably the human vulnerability that touched people, watching the possibility of love play out in front of their eyes”.

As much as these are all valid reasons for why we are so fascinated about a film that fogs up even the thickest glasses, there is one reason that is buried beneath the obvious which may answer the puzzling question. We may however, be a little hesitant to admit it.

 

Pilieva’s encoded message of “how quickly humans can form deep connections” was magnificently portrayed. But the decoded and darker message that stands out to me in this text is “as a society, we lack connection to people that are different to us”. This then cultivates into socially hateful acts such as racism, homophobia and religious tension.

Pilieva probably knows how this message is quite uncomfortable for most people to approach, so she addresses this problem in society in a way that makes us see a positive and beautiful message, opposed to a harsh and negative one.

 

Pilieva used people from many societal groups. This includes white, dark, old, young, gay and straight people. The coming together off all these contrasting societal groups in such an intimate way shows us how opening ourselves up will lead to acceptance.

 

There are parodies that have carried the exact same political message that “First Kiss” puts forward but in a more obvious way. The parody video “First Gay Hug” also sends the message of “there is nothing to be afraid of, we are all the same and acceptance is the key to harmony”.

 

In a recent news article, Pilieva stated, “We have witnessed a beautiful side to people”. This is very true, she has shown us how beautiful the human race can be after we master acceptance. Now what we need to do collectively as a society is question why are we all so fascinated with “First Kiss”. What made it worthy of a ‘re-tweet’ to my 5000 followers? Not just because we are all united by our desire for love and connection, but also because it has answered the question that most of us are all too ashamed to say; “Why are we so scared of each other?”