So John's been playing M.I.A.'s Paper Planes a lot the last few days. It's one of those songs that really sticks with you for a long list of reasons, not the least of which is that it is so catchy. But the lyrics at first glance are a bit disturbing. After reading through them a few times, I started to grasp that they are heavy with satire and irony as well as double meanings. Listening to a few interviews with her she certainly seems to have a depth and intelligence about her that further support the likelihood of that rather than just some disturbing gangsta rap song.
Anyway - I was just thinking about how different her background is, having grown up in Sri Lanka and experiencing the early years of Tamil fighting. Hearing her speak and then listening to the lyrics of her music takes you out of your comfort zone, shouting hey - there are a lot bigger things going on in the world.
Which got me thinking...
1. We have an over-population problem in our jails. Many of these criminals are repeat offenders. Many come from a small world where they not only lack education but any sense of a world beyond their neighborhood or group of loser "friends".
2. There are many programs out there all over the world that need volunteer help.
Why not give some of the less dangerous offenders the choice of serving some of their time in some sort of relief program in a 3rd world country? Somewhere totally away from the influences that got them in trouble to begin with, somewhere that will broaden their horizons, somewhere where they can accomplish something to be proud of and give them a chance to see what they have to contribute, and a chance to see what else there is to experience in the world beyond their small horizon. I think this could be a very powerful rehabilitiation tool, with benefits for both sides.
Or, how about troubled kids? Same context, but get them out of their element before they get into serious trouble. Everyone I know who has gone to third world countries to help with relief efforts has been changed for life. Why not provide those kind of life altering experiences to sectors of the population most in need of a positive life changing experience?