Sunday, 27 April 2008

Sisters in arms

When you finally sit down to write a blog post to your dear friends, and the world, it is quite disconcerting to discover that you do not have an issue that you are truly eager to put out there. I am apologetic that I’ve been a lousy contributor to our cyber community. I have been thinking that I should write around the issue of the Olympics in Beijing, from my little Amnesty point of view. But then I thought the media covered that in such depth, that I didn’t feel like it after all. And then there are all sorts of issues that you think you could say a word or two about, but no. Well, the truth is that I am not entirely sober in this authoristic moment (world spelling does not approve of “authoristic” but I like it. What do you think?).

My parents are visiting in Tromsø this week. They both lived here in the seventies. 70’s! Tromsø is actually where my parents met each other, and then got engaged and moved to Mandal (my father’s home town. This night he proclaimed the seven reasons why he left Tromsø for Mandal). So, in the occasion of visiting me, my parents are living with their old friends from the days back then. This night, and then night before, we had dinner and wines with these old friends, and I got a deeper acquaintance with my parents youth-life. What comes forth (which I already know) is that my parents were so politically engaged. And so engaged in general! And while sitting there as the little child and bystander (who is about the same age as the one they are reminiscing about), I feel like a vital potential hardly exhausted. Is this because my youth is not taking place in the 60’s and 70’s, or is this because this generation/individual (me!) is dull? I want to be out there on the parole. But can I do better than for example engage in Amnesty international, when the political parties are more and more “catch-all” parties as the political scientist like to call them? I guess I want a discussion going back to the broad lines of how we can make a contribution to changw this ever worsening world (outside from doing our recycling, fair-trade ++ micro scale efforts)! Shall we go political comrades?


Sofie said...

i was actually thinking about this today. i was telling eduardo (our thirdyear) about ola and his ventures into both british and ugandan politics, and i realized how incredibly much your own efforts mean. i mean, me and ola started out pretty much on the same basis, coming to india after going to school in a small place (grimstad) in norway, but look how different our positions in life are now. now, i don't mean this in terms of "status", but maybe in terms of how we relate to the world around us. in my case, for example, i had never been incredibly active (if at all) pre-muwci. when i came to muwci i learned about issues and i learned to care about the world, and it was the most incredible lesson, as you will all know. i think my main problem is that i am not a revolutionary at heart, you know, so it was good for me to be in a place like muwci where the conditions made it inevitable to engage in issues. so i find myself in glasgow, in an art school, where the only organization really present is the christian union, and i wonder what the hell i am doing here. because it makes me feel like every day is a day of potential being wasted. now you might say that that is my own problem for not going out there, getting engaged, and you will be right, but i think it is simply not in my nature to do that kind of thing. i need to be in an environment that encourages and stresses the importance of political activity, and i feel shit for being so incapable. maybe it is true then, that all people will be more engaged if they are in a situation where it is encouraged; be it at muwci, at yale or in the 70's.

Sofie said...

when i said i had never been active pre muwci i meant politically active. i played volleyball, i promise.

Shane said...

this is something i've also been thinking about a lot recently, and actually been planning a blog post after everything calms down. in short, i've been thinking about the whole concept of political action and how too often we equate it with activism, or action from outside. i was quite politically active pre-muwci, to the extent that a seventeen year old could be; i must have been at a protest every weekend. and this was great fun and i really felt good about myself for being active and stuff, but i've come to believe that at least for me, changing the system from within is the way to go. it may be slower and less glamorous, but i think it's more sustainable and more pragmatic. but i also think there's a big role for grassroots action and activism, it's got a wider appeal and more momentum and can keep the focus on the larger eventual goal, rather than the small immediate improvements. more comments in your emails.