from darfur to duesseldorf, from iceland to isla negra, from barcelona to benares, happy international weblogger’s day!
rio akasaka brought this event into being a few years ago, and even though it doesn’t have such a large fellowship yet, i still like to participate in it. maybe it’s because i’ve lived in a number of countries (from germany to the UK, from paraguay to chile, and then of course here in canada).
maybe it’s because of growing up with my father, who was so insistent on defying the idea of national socialism that even long after the second world war, he was proud not to have any nationality.
maybe this whole international thing works well with one of my greatest ideals, that of equality and inclusivity – you’ve heard me say it before, i truly believe that we are all brothers and sisters. (hm, and here’s a question: what’s the difference between “global” and “international” – a difference mostly of connotation, for sure.)
the ideas of inclusivity and equality fit well with this year’s theme of international webloggers’ day: solidarity.
i was thinking about the international organizations that i contribute to, and what that says about these ideals.
there’s foster parents plan (now plan canada). with whom do i feel solidarity with people who live in circumstances that are difficult for most of us to imagine. not enough clean drinking water. often only one or no parent. under constant threat of deathly diseases. i’m mind-boggled by the inequality between their and my life circumstances and want to contribute at least a tiny bit to reducing the gap.
then i like habitat for humanity. thomas szasz, the outspoken psychiatry critic (and a wild libertarian, yes, i know), said that many psychiatric problems could be solved by reliable, adequate housing.
i have certainly seen with my own eyes, in vancouver’s downtown eastside, how people are driven crazy by living in dangerous, dirty, loud, bug-ridden, soul-killing rooming houses that charge almost three times as much per square foot as what i’m paying for my home (and, by the way, vancouver (un)real estate, who talks about this problem, is wrong in saying that these places take 50% of the monthly rate a person receives on social assistance; it’s more like 65%).
i don’t want my brother to live like that; the idea makes me antsy, to say the least. i want him to be able to come home to a safe, welcoming haven.
amnesty international. again, i guess my history plays a large role here – i grew up with stories of the holocaust. perhaps the first non-fiction book i ever read, i think i was 10 or so, was an account of a concentration camp survivor. it feels like i have a personal connection with people who have survived captivity and torture. so i put my money where my heart is, and give a bit to amnesty international.
i hope this doesn’t come across as bragging. i certainly am not getting poor by contributing to these organizations; however, i hope that even the little that i do give has a bit of an effect.
it was interesting, though, to spend a few minutes thinking about what ties me to these organizations on a more personal level. thanks, rio, for getting this process of reflection going.
counselling in vancouver