Monday, November 17, 2008

Understanding, Not Intolerance, a Better World Makes

That’s the name of a Facebook group I joined recently. I found it after taking a stroll around the posts on the ‘6 degrees of Separation – a Facebook Experiment’ group and being dismayed by the copious pages of empty senseless posts on people arguing over whether America was so greatly great or not so greatly great; and doing so in pretty nasty terms. And doing so, so soon after the dawn of hope for a reduction in disparity amongst us all,  that came for many of us when the sun rose to reveal the reality of the election of America’s first non-white President.

But although the title of this group I had found said what I felt so well – in well under 141 characters – the reality was not quite what I was hoping for. The group was made up of nearly exclusively Canadians - nothing against Canadians at all – Canada being my first choice of country to live in should I leave this region, not to mention being the home of a branch of my own family. But where was everyone else? Yeah, the fact that this group was Canadian did reinforce my opinion of Canada as a place I could want to be, but I wanted to find a world of understanding, not just one nation.

Then I noticed that not much was going on, so I facebook-messaged a few members and the owner and explained how I found the group and suggested that we get it up and running. So it was a happy me that saw an email from it’s owner in my inbox the next day and the subsequent flow of chatter on the group since. So I put my status on Facebook as “inviting people to join the group Understanding, Not Intolerance, a Better World Makes” and sure enough, about 15 at last count, of my friends joined the group. I should be happy now right?

Well, you see, apart from the unfortunate cyber-glitch I’m experiencing where I can’t post on any group walls – and you must know by now that I am in the mood to talk these days; apart from that, no-one but me and a few Canadians and one French guy have explored this tool for building world understanding – no-one else has posted. And that gets me to wondering, again, why don’t my friends speak out more? I know I think it’s a cultural thing in St. Lucia, for various reasons, some of which I’m trying hard to write a coherent post about, but why don’t we have more to say – publicly – about all sorts of things? Even on here I notice many people prefer to write me privately to comment on my posts – and I love that they do – it’s just that for some things, public statements are wanted and even needed. I know if I look back to my first post, I mention this, that for so long I thought I should say this or that, but never did, not publicly, so it’s not like I haven’t been the silent type too.

So, what’s my point? Well, nothing much more than just to make this observation and to say from my experience, so far, it’s been good to speak publicly. So I’d like to encourage people to speak out about all things – not in haste, not in anger, not in fear – we are all way too good at that! But speak out about the little things that go un-noticed that make us smile, about the important things that eat away deep into our happiness that need to be spoken about and about what makes us diverse and interesting and what makes us the same and family.

Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself and let your own distinct voice become part of the melody of life. I know I’m not alone in being interested to hear what you all have to say, sometimes the littlest things shared build the biggest of friendships, so.

  • What’s tickling your thoughts today? 
  • What made you stop and think over the weekend? 
  • What made you laugh? 
  • What are you proud of? 
  • What makes you?
C'mon, tell us!