I’m asking all of my followers on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BexLife) to “like”, tweet, or repost my link for the Kony 2012 video. For each “share”, I’ll donate $1 to the cause. Please help me drain my bank account ;) xo - Bex
Most people in Norway, or Europe or the Western world, don’t know much about Africa, they don’t really care. And most of us are, sadly, misinformed on important matters. This bothers me and it bothers me deeply. So deeply, in fact, that I spend a lot of energy trying to spread different stories about Africa. I try to spread things I know through reading countless books and things I know through having lived in Tanzania for a few years.
For the most part I write.
I write blog posts and I put them out there in the world. You can’t force anyone to care, or to listen to or read your words. All you can do is put it out there and hope for the best.
Why is this so important to me?
In order for anyone to understand the world we are living in, we need to know what’s going on, and we need to know what has happened before, making things the way they are today. We need more knowledge to understand the world.
We need to respect other people. I strongly believe that all human beings are equal, but we are being fed a picture of Africans as somewhat less civilized than ourselves. This does not lead to respect.
There isn’t much I can do to correct all that is wrong in this picture, but I will do what little I can. If, say, one hundred people read a blog post where I talk about how tribes were, in large part, a colonial invention, maybe it can change the perspective of at least a few of them, at least a little bit, at least for a little while. It’s not much, but it’s something.
So I write.
Note: Please check out her blog Rotrock!
I posted this map of Kurdistan on Facebook to protest their decision to sensor any support for the Kurdish people.
I used to work as a catering chef for film shoots, and whenever there was leftover food we would take home a big container, heat it and serve it to the homeless in my neighbourhood.
I also do graphic design, and designed the old website for Genser Uten Grenser, a project started by Leo who was in prison in India and experienced first hand what lack of warm clothing actually means. Friends, like myself, back in Norway collected 4 tons of second hand clothes and sent them to India where they were distributed. We all did this on a non-profit basis, naturally. This project has now grown, and is an active voluntary NGO.
I signed this petition for the release of Nasrin Sotoudeh, imprisoned for defending women’s rights activists in Iran.
Karinella (yep, that’s me) wrote:
My simple act of solidarity was to shave my head when a friend of mine started chemotherapy and lost her hair. You can read the whole story under the post a simple act.
"Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground." - Sara Ahmed
I believe that we are all connected. We are made out of the same stuff (dust if you’re poetic, particles if you’re scientific) and we live on the same planet. And even the planet itself is made out of the same primeval stuff. It’s really that simple. Maybe this is a childish view in its simplicity. That does not make it less valid. I sometimes wish our governments and leaders would think a bit more like children.
I also believe that what goes around, comes around. Violence tends to foster more violence. Luckily the same can be said for acts of kindness, of love and of empathy. My goal is to inspire acts of solidarity, that in turn will inspire more.
Historically, the word solidarity comes from French solidarité.
In 1840, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, declared:
“Equality of conditions is the law of society, and universal solidarity [solidarité] is the ratification of this law.“
It came into the English language in 1848.
Dictionary.com describes it thus:
Union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests, as between members of a group or between classes, peoples etc.
I personally believe it is time to look beyond groups, classes and nationalities. Don’t get me wrong, as cultures, classes and peoples are continuing to be oppressed by their governments, it is highly necessary to extend solidarity to whole groups. And it is natural to feel solidarity with those you can identify with. But solidarity ventures even further than that. It involves giving support to strangers on their own terms.
What do you believe? What are your thoughts on solidarity? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
It all started a few months ago, when I received terrible news. One of my friends had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s young and vibrant, and it was such a shock to everyone.
She’s going to get well. Of course she is. But there is a painful journey ahead of her. Operations, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, fatigue … And she really dreaded losing her long hair. This is not trivial. It is really devastating to some women. The bald head is often the symbol itself of a cancer patient. The only thing I could think of as a friend was to add some sense of solidarity, to make her feel less alone in this. So my immediate reaction was: I’ll shave my head too, then.
So I did. We did together. And it was actually a really warm, fun night full of friends and laughs. We made her a mohawk before it all went off. And I looked like a balding, old man for a bit.
I’m no suffering saint. For some reason losing the attachment to my hair (pun intended) is something I’ve wanted to do for myself too. And it’s not an uncommon thing that people shave their heads in solidarity. I constantly hear stories of others doing the same. This makes me happy. This makes me believe that solidarity is not just some worn-out expression best left behind in the seventies. It’s something that lives in all of us.
Shaving my head made me think (maybe my brain needed some fresh air). It made me contemplate solidarity it its essence. To me it’s distinctly different from charity because it encompasses doing something within an atmosphere of equality. It’s not about glorifying the giver. Solidarity needs equality to thrive.
And the idea that kept me awake at night was that of spreading it. Passing it forward. Inspiring each other. It’s nothing new, but it is exciting! I think that if we share our little acts of solidarity it can become something much bigger.
So please, feel free to share your thoughts, your questions and, most importantly, your acts!
Acts of solidarity can be a wide range of things. Only your imagination sets the limits.
Just a few ideas:
Take a stand in solidarity with women in the Middle East!
It’s International Women’s Day. Amnesty are calling for action, with a focus on four countries - Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen - saying that women remain at the heart of calls for reform, but a broad spectrum of women’s rights are still threatened.
Take a moment to join the Amnesty campaign.
Done it? Share it! Disagree? Discuss it!
Photo: © AP Photo/Hano Mohammed
Take a moment each day to educate yourself on important global issues. Simply reading these Wikipedia articles on the Arab Spring or the Occupy Movement could be a start. Or find background, analysis and opinions on BBC World Service and Al Jazeera. Read books and magazines, blogs and fanzines. Write your thoughts. Cultivate a critical eye on your sources. And discuss it with the people around you. Actually reflecting on what’s going on in the world is key.
Done it? Share it! Disagree? Discuss it!
Want something to do right now? Here’s a quick suggestion!
Buy organic and/or local vegetables and celebrate a Meat Free Monday! Supporting local farms and buying organic produce is extending solidarity to both small farmers and to the earth itself. It is sorely needed! Eating is a political act, whether we like it or not. Take this opportunity to make a good choice, a choice that matters!
Did you do it? Share it! Disagree? Discuss it!