I’ve got one or ten blog posts in the wings, but it’s been a very busy couple of weeks, so in an effort to clear my Firefox session of its many open tabs, I share with you the things I’m reading and thinking about. Please comment feverishly!
- The Committee to Protect Journalists has released an excellent report on the troubles faced by bloggers in the Middle East. This is a personal area of interest for me, and I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with the author, Mohamed Abdel Dayem, while he was researching the report. Worth a close read.
- I’ve had this USA Today piece on hate speech open in tabs for over a week, and haven’t thought of anything productive to say about it yet. If you read my blog, you know that I’m opposed to hate speech legislation of most kinds (though very much in favor of hate crime legislation involving violent acts), particularly those which police free speech. Penny for your thoughts?
- Two pieces on Sociological Images (one of my favorite blogs) caught my eye this week: One, on the debate over the cross that “memorializes soldiers” (David Weinberger also touched on that this week, and I solidly agree with his sentiments), and another on images of Saudi women at work (you can read my comment on the piece – just look for my avatar). The latter post brings up the bigger issue of how Arab women are portrayed, something that I talk about all the time and won’t dive into now.
This is (I think) the third time I’ve participated in Blog Action Day. In 2007, the theme was Environment, in 2008 it was Poverty, and this year, it’s Climate Change.
The topic creates a nice coincidence for me: for the past month or so, I’ve been working with Global Voices on a mentoring project with Global Change and have had the opportunity – no, the privilege – of mentoring my now friend Edith on her blog, Be The Change!. Edith is from Zimbabwe and works with Environment Africa, an organization that is working toward raising environmental awareness in all sectors of society. Edith is passionate about the role of youth in environmental education, and is working on blogging to that end. It’s been an awesome experience to share my blogging knowledge with a new blogger, but especially with a new blogger who has such a sense of purpose (I chalk it up to the fact that like me, Edith is a Taurus).
To that end, I would like to remind people of Edith’s blog title: Be The Change. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Make your own way.
Growing up, you have a certain conception of the way life is, the way the world works. Images of seasons, events, are pressed into your mind and solidified. Later, when you’re all grown up (if there is such a thing), you’re disappointed that you can’t revive those feelings. You catch a whiff of some candle your mother used to burn at Christmas or some perfume your grandmother wore and the nostalgia is so strong you’re brought to tears.
Sometimes the best way to overcome that feeling is to start over. Move somewhere new, create a new life, full of new traditions. Throw away the old ones. Forget where you came from.
Except you can’t, really. One small moment, one flicker of light, and you’re brought back to those evenings you and your parents spent trudging through Prescott Park, up to your shins in snow, your so-called waterproof boots barely keeping your feet warm, but you don’t want to tell your parents, because then you’ll have to go home and to bed and this moment is so perfect you never want it to end. Except it does. And then next thing you know you’re old, with a whole life behind you that barely recognize.
On a moving train, over lukewarm coffee, I told someone that I think the reason I want to escape so badly is that nostalgia for a time I never experienced. Just like it saddens me to look into houses in foreign countries and see lives I’ll never live, it too saddens me to think of simpler times in my own country, my own city, times I’ll never experience. And maybe moving somewhere else, somewhere slower, will grant me that. I’m a product of my own obsessions, my need for speed. Only shedding the cloak of my upbringing, my suburban-ness, can rid me of that.