March 8, 2008

Are we really global citizens?

I wish I could raise my head high and state with confidence that I am a true global citizen but sadly I cannot. Honestly I rarely read the newspaper nor watch the news; I spend my spare time reading blogs rather than researching global or even local issues. The news makes me sad and leaves me feeling helpless; rather than taking the time to try and educate myself on issues and then take action, I usually turn my head and hope someone else will. Is this acceptable behaviour? I suppose in a twisted sort of way it is, I am certainly not the only person choosing this inaction, no one is going to slap my hand and force me to face the facts, no one can make me make a difference... well, no one but me.

For the first time in a very long time I feel as if there is hope for change and that I can contribute to this change.

Last night I had the pleasure of hearing Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Rawanda from 1993-1994, speak to a crowd of 2000 individuals here in my hometown. For those of you who have not seen either the documentary or the feature film Shake Hands with the Devil, rent it and watch it. Romeo Dallaire is truly an inspiration. What surprised me most while listening to General Dallaire speak was his positive outlook: even after he has witnessed such unimaginable horrors he still has faith in our global community, he has hope and believes that positive changes can and will take place around the world. General Dallaire was both positive and realistic, he did not suggest that these changes would occur over night but rather within the next few decades. Through education and action we can better the lives of millions of people (us included) while helping other countries to help themselves. We can make a difference.

Today Tanya and I had the opportunity to hear another great speaker named Debbie Bodkin . Bodkin spent time in Darfur working with the UN and now speaks of her experiences with the intent to educate the public and with the hope of helping the 2 million individuals still at risk in Darfur. Sergeant Bodkin's recollection of her time in the Sudan was eye opening; she shared stories from survivors that brought tears to my eyes and anger to my heart. Darfur is Rawanda all over again: once again the world is averting its eyes and allowing a genocide to take place.

So now what?

Now it's time to make a difference, now it's time to try and create change. I won't suggest that I am going to spend every spare moment I have being an advocate for human rights but I do intend to take some initiative, to take some personal responsibility for making our world a better place. I'm going to start by promising myself I will spend some time each day catching up on current events, I will begin writing letters on a regular basis (setting aside time to write one a week to my MP or to the PM is a good start) and I intend to find time to volunteer within my local community.

I challenge you too to become a better global citizen. What do you intend to do to make a difference?

Need some inspiration? Want to learn more about Darfur?
Here are a few sites to get you started:
Debbie Bodkin
Save Darfur Canada
Save Darfur

3 comments:

tanzi said...

Well said, my friend! Okay--it's fact now. We're "somehow sisters": we've both blogged what's on our hearts. Too funny...likely at the same time, too.
I love that your friendship helps me be a better person. xxx

tanzi said...

NO!!! YOU wrote what I'm feeling and am struggling to put into words--seriously! I just can't seem to do the experience justice, but reading yours made it seem right. Seriously, we need to stop sharing a brain...Then, we'd have our very own brains and would know when to "push" the door instead of "pull"...

Jaime said...

Right back at ya! I feel the same about your post.

Ha!! So true. Pulling doors that should be pushed at the exact same time, saying ridiculous things in unison: scary. :)