In a region plagued by conflict and economic turmoil, access to healthcare and social security remains a pressing concern for many Arab states. Despite being rich in natural resources, several countries in the region still struggle to provide for their respective populations. This is exacerbated by economic stress and worsened by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, it should come as no shock to learn that our side of the world is performing poorly. Since the day the Arab World met broadcasted global media, all that has been portrayed is constant misery, never-ending wars, and successive crises that have hit and plowed through our lives one after the other.
Lebanon, once a shining capital in the Middle East, has been facing a slow descent into chaos for several decades. From unprecedented levels of inflation to the lingering impact of the explosions of Beirut’s port, the country’s limits have been pushed to the brink, with widespread shortages of medicine, medical equipment, and staff.
Meanwhile, in Syria, the brutal civil war has decimated most of the country’s infrastructure, with healthcare being no exception. Hospitals and clinics are far from being as functional as they were, if not destroyed, leaving the population without access to any kind of care.
In Algeria, despite it being a major oil and gas-producing nation, the healthcare system is suffering from a lack of investment as a result of incessant corruption schemes and nepotism, which continue to fuel frustration and dissatisfaction amongst citizens. These few examples alone do indeed demonstrate the dire need for the near entirety of Arab countries to recenter, get their heads above water, and hope for better times.
Across the Atlantic, there are a handful of countries that would like to believe that they’re doing so much better than us, going as far as seeming keen to lecture our dear region on how to move and behave. That laundry list of countries obviously includes the nation with the biggest white savior complex of all, the USA.
In the past five to seven years, it can be argued that the backbone of the United States’ social security and healthcare system relied almost entirely on crowdfunding pages. Since the mid-2010s, it wasn’t unusual for citizens of Uncle Sam’s backyard to compose a three-paragraph-long monologue explaining how a flu, or a car accident, has put them into thousands of dollars of debt, leaving them unable to meet their most basic needs given the financial burden they’re currently facing after enduring one of life’s mishaps.
Paying extortionate rates to get your body back to factory settings after any kind of accident or life hazard sounds pretty familiar right? It doesn’t end there. Enter: MrBeast.
Born James Donaldson, the record-breaking YouTuber and philanthropist has gained widespread recognition for his creative and often outrageous stunts which have, over the years, grown his channel into becoming one of the most successful on the platform, with over 60 million subscribers as of January 2023. His content, which usually involves jaw-dropping amounts of money, copiously tends to go viral, with snippets and extracts, plucked out of his original videos, making their way onto Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok mere minutes after their release.
Some of his most popular videos include giving away a Willy Wonka-esque chocolate factory to one his followers, organizing a real-life remake of Netflix’s hit title Squid Game as well as planting 20 million trees, giving away thousands of dollars to strangers on the street, and more recently covering the operation costs of 1000 visually-impaired people.
If it’s not already clear by the aforementioned videos released on his channel, MrBeast is not only an entertainer but also, most importantly, a philanthropist that has single-handedly taken on the role as a healthcare provider for an entire nation. While his generosity and desire to help are indeed commendable, it raises larger concerns about the state of his native country, its priorities, as well as the effectiveness of its policies. How is it that a single YouTuber is able to do more for the well-being of Americans than his own government?
On one hand, MrBeast’s actions highlight the good that can result from individual action. Whatever we’d like to say about him, he is still using substantial amounts of his wealth and influence to make a real impact and help those in need—and that should be celebrated. But, one must still admit that it is a strange set oMf circumstances for a YouTuber to take on the role of a state, especially the US.
I don’t understand why curable blindness is a thing. Why don’t governments step in and help? Even if you’re thinking purely from a financial standpoint it’s hard to see how they don’t roi on taxes from people being able to work again.
— MrBeast (@MrBeast) January 30, 2023
Some may argue that military spending is to blame, while others may point to the inherent flaws of capitalism. Regardless of the reasons, the fact remains that MrBeast is, on his own, addressing a crisis that the government has been seemingly complacent about and has allowed to happen. He has taken over the crowd-funding phenomenon and is now helping Americans to live and survive the cost of living crisis. This is all done for fun, and although it is not his duty to do so, he is still making a real difference in the lives of countless citizens.
If we’re being totally honest, MrBeast’s rise as a healthcare provider makes us want to think that America should deal with other countries a tad differently, by notably dropping the age-old arrogance and belittling narratives it endorses with any country outside of the Western world. For a nation that has a long history and track record of deprecating others and preaching about how they should spend their money and resources, the fact that a single YouTuber has to step in and cure 1000 people’s blindness because the government won’t help is very bleak.