Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

We Make a Difference: Incremental Change

Here is what the experts have told us:

Germany and France can never live in peace with one another.

Northern and Southern Ireland can never live in peace.

Germany reunite? Unthinkable. They are too far apart.

Black and white will never be able to live together in South Africa.

The Serbians and the Moslem Croatians will never find a way to live in peace.

The European Union will never work.

The Soviet Union is impregnable.

Kuwaiti women will never get the vote.

There will never be peace in Lebanon.

These were not lies. The experts who told us these things were wise people, making their best guesses. When experts say things, we tend to believe them.

And here is what I saw – before the fall of the Soviet Union, things didn’t work. Toilet paper was rationed. There were no lightbulbs in the lamps. There were no hangers on hotel closets. In the market was only cabbage, sausage and tuna fish. The people were told that the West was failing, and that the supermarkets and stores were fakes, “Potemkin” villages, special effects to fool good Communists in a desperate attempt to make them think Democracy was working. But in every hotel room, when you checked in, the TV was already on – the chambermaids watched CNN, and then went home and told their families what was REALLY going on in the world.

And word of mouth, the truth spread.

There are some wonderful things happening in the world, technologies that could be used for good or for evil.

Cameras. Video cameras. Cell phones. Cell phones with cameras and videos. Google Earth. The Internet. It’s hard to cover up the truth when people can freely share information.

With these tools, we can hold ourselves, our leaders and our society accountable. Keep your cameras handy. Blog. Share your thoughts, your suspicions. Hold your leaders accountable for their actions. Read the news, and read the blogs from other countries. Refuse to believe there is no hope in appearantly hopeless situations, no matter what the “experts” tell us.

Here is what some experts are telling us today:

There is an imminent clash of cultures between East and West.

The Palestinians will never live in peace with the Israelis.

We can’t do anything about global warming / There is no global warming

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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There are small things we can do, right now, to make incremental changes. Pick up a piece of litter. Buckle your seat belt, and buckle up your children. Give an enemy the benefit of the doubt. Smile at your neighbor, and greet them. Stop and help that poor man broken down by the side of the road. Feed a stray cat. Donate clothing to the poor. Do one small thing, every day. Hold ourselves accountable in small ways, and the overall effect tilts the balance in larger ways.

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October 6, 2006 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Kuwait, Middle East, Political Issues, Social Issues, Uncategorized | 2 Comments