Alexandra, Belgium

Dear world,

What a time to be alive.

What a great time for technology, medicine and media. However, it is a sad time for humanity. What if technology is responsible for creating the destructive weapons you’ve lost your home to? What if you can’t reach your loved one who’s trying to get to the border of a “safer” place? What if the closest medical care facility was a 4-hour walk away?

My name is Alexandra. Almost 20 years ago I was born in Belgium to Romanian parents. I often wonder what my life would have looked like if I were born and raised in Romania. Would I have had the same education? The same chances? The same opinions? Probably not. What if I were born in Syria, Iraq, or Palestine? In that case, the answer is definitely not. I say this, not because of the way the media has portrayed these countries, but because I have personally met and talked to girls that were born and raised there. Girls that have experienced things words can’t begin to describe, so I won’t try to.

I’m not saying there’s no chance of reaching your full potential in countries like these, but it shouldn’t be an exception, it should be the norm. Every single person should have the right to defend his or her opinion without any risk. If I get the chance to go to bed feeling safe and protected, so should you.

I often think about the future because I worry about the challenges to come. What strikes me most is how casually we treat casualties these days. It frightens me that people are so used to the violence on their Facebook feed, they become indifferent to it. It frightens me that if we share a hashtag on Twitter, we think we’ve done our part. It frightens me that we feel like we can’t make a difference, so we don’t even try. We could do so much more.

I would love to think that there will be a time where every single person is equally respected, equally valued and most of all, equally represented. Until this moment, I hope that we can all be the change we want to see in this world.

Sincerely,

Alexandra Smarandescu

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