I posted this on my Facebook and it sparked a lot of discussion. Thought I would share it here as well.
Good morning friends,
So, I’m not one to withhold my opinion, and sometimes, a thought weighs so heavily on my mind, I just feel a need to share it. So let me say that this post is NSFW and could possibly be perceived as offensive.
So, I’ve seen a lot of discussion as of late about France, and Nigeria, and Kenya, and Beirut and I’m sure a list of other places. I’ve seen some interesting conversations, and criticisms, and they’ve had me thinking. That’s what I love about social media, it allows you to aggregate a lot of thought, and that thought informs my thinking, and often gets me to think and look at things from different perspectives.
So, of course the events of France are on everyone’s mind, and tongue. And that sparks things like the French flag profile pic thing. And I think that’s great. I think it’s great when people want to publicly espouse that they’re feeling for someone else in need. I’m always overjoyed when I see that out of Americans particularly, because we have to be honest, that’s just not the norm of our society anymore. I always use 3 days after 9/11 vs. 3 years after 9/11 as an example of that.
So I see the picture thing like everyone facing in a direction, and that is great. You’re facing in a direction, with your heart and mind in the right place. So, my next natural question is “how far are you going to walk in that direction?” When I say walk, I mean something that’s considered quantifiable action. “Are you donating money? Time? Making phone calls? Writing letters? Espousing thoughts and support on social media is great, but we have to remember that in reality, it’s effects are minimal.
So a few days ago, there was a candlelight vigil at the French Consulate, as there were in many other cities, in support of the people of France. I went, and I only went for one reason; because I knew there would be French people there. I wanted to be sure that my face was one of the faces that they saw, offering a smile, perhaps a handshake, or a hug, and saying to them “Hey…I feel your pain. I can empathize with what you’re going through, and we want you to know that we’re here for you” whether that means just that hug, or coffee, or a floor to sleep on, or whatever. And with all the talk and discussion, and dismay focused around the events in France, I was sure I would see at least 1 familiar face in that crowd. But I didn’t. But, what I found funny, was that as I logged onto Facebook from the vigil, I saw people who lived anywhere from 5-20 miles from the place I was standing, actively talking about France. Now that shit just blows my mind…that’s just fucking maniacal.
So, my mind just takes a natural step back and asks “Well, how far have you walked for human rights, or social justice, or the plight of foreign peoples recently? Every day I see people facing in various directions over the ills of others, but how far are you walking for them?
And I get it. We get wrapped up in ourselves. We live in a “me” society, and if it’s not about me, then why should i give a shit, and honestly, that’s ok. But just say that.
It just strikes me as odd…and truly as disingenuous. I often feel like a lot of people are living out other peoples consciousness’ and reacting in ways that are expected, and that’s what truly irritates me. As I always tell people “Be who you are, and live accordingly.” I can recall on several occasions saying something tantamount to “I don’t give a shit about the indigenous people of wherever right now, I’m trying to get mine.” And that doesn’t make me a bad person…it makes me honest. And anyone who knows me knows that I am many things, and I’m not the most egalitarian, or politically correct, or caring person in this world, but I’m honest, and if I don’t give a fuck about you, I will tell you I don’t give a fuck about you. There’s not need to pretend or put on airs.
And of course, my mind shoots back to where I live, because in all reality, I don’t live anywhere near Paris, and while I feel for those people, my attention is always supremely focused on what is most immediate to me. Daily, I see people talking about Chicago, and what’s wrong in Chicago, and what’s going on in Chicago…so how far are you walking for Chicago? Writing letters? Making phone calls? Having group discussions in your home? Joining demonstrations and gatherings? Talking to elected officials?
If you’re going to stand staring…that’s completely fine, but know that you’re standing and staring, and know that there are people out there who are running. Someone I talk about frequently is a woman named Alaa Basatneh…we are friends on here, but I’m not going to tag her because I don’t want to intrude or embarrass her. But, she is half my age, and does 5 times the work I do for the people of Syria. Google her. She has sacrificed her youth, at a time when she should be working a part time job at the mall and enjoying school and having late night coffee with friends, to support the people of Syria, and she’s sacrificed her own personal safety. (and there’s actually a documentary film about her doing so…yes, it’s on Netflix) She’s running a marathon at a sprinters pace. She utilizes social media to get the word out, and get attention to the problem, but she knows that real people have to get into real motion to create and sustain change.
So how far are you walking today?
Todays song mirrors the mood that this topic and thinking over it puts me in. I listened to it about 5 times on my job into the office. Enjoy.