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Monday, June 18, 2007

Who Can Save Us?

I have been living on Allied Drive for almost two years now, and one thing that I found somewhat irritating back when I came up here was the notion that we must be saved. I have had several conversations with "activists" who don't live here, but assume a duty to come here and fight for us (implying that we can't fight our own battles?), and they often relate that they have always wanted to work with the poor. It led me to question where their duty would lead them if we were no longer poor? Observing the interests that advanced, the leaders that are designated, the programs that get funded and the inflated sense of empowerment that arose when a resident was able to negotiate a whole book of bus tickets, as opposed to just two tickets, was enough for me realize that Allied Drive is a beast that can only tame itself. It is only through residents who live here and care enough to build stake in this community that we will be able to make anything of this neighborhood beyond a social service pot that every bleeding heart could dip into in the name of saving us lost souls.


seramar said...

While I have little in the way of life-experiences to compare to you I can certainly agree on what I feel is your main point, here - a lot of activists are in it for little more than a feeling of self-gratification. It's a sort of trend to be involved in a movement, to contribute to a "good cause," or find the flaws in the way we live.

I think a lot of people could benefit by reflecting on The Beatles "Revolution," and in particular, the lines:
"You say you'll change the constitution
Well you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well you know
You better free your mind instead"

Change starts with yourself, in your own community. Buying Ethos water from Starbucks isn't really going to solve issues of commoditization of natural resources - especially considering the fact that they only donate 5 centers per $1.80 bottle of water you purchase.

Activism is a fad, these days. A badge on your backpack or a bumper sticker on your car doesn't mean you understand or care about your cause - it just means you really want others to think a certain way about you. Sadly, this is all most activism is, these days - self-gratifying social-identification.

Lina Trivedi said...

Thanks for your post - it is very relevant to our community here and I guess that is why the Beatles message is so timeless ... BTW, I could not fix the link to your post - - great blog and site!