Sunday, December 18, 2005

Put up or shut up!

ac·tiv·ism:The use of direct, often confrontational action, such as a demonstration or strike, in opposition to or support of a cause.
I am sick and tired of people calling themselves activists of any cause and doing next to nothing.Most of theirs so called activism is in terms of flapping their gums,token actions such as buying a red/pink ribbon once a year,setting up a blog/website/forum, attending public talks and seminars in prominent hotels where they rub shoulders with other glory hounds.
True activists are people like the Maasai lady who treks hundreds of miles fighting FGM.Those who in Rwanda and Burundi who went against their tribes and helped the besieged.People like Pro Wangari Maathai who put herself on the line for the environment for no reward for a long long time.The local neighbourhood priest who instead of acting like his vacuous counterparts on television offering viewers divine health and wealth in exchange for "love gifts" (bribes) but insteads works within his community offering advice,his time and prayer knowing that he can't promise miracles but he can promise his time and faith.
I could go on and on but I am sure that you all know such examples of people who either practice what they preach or dont even preach and let their actions do all the talking.So when you run around saying that you are an ______ist of any sort are you that in name only?So I know some of you are telling me not to judge coz I too may be judged.Well I am not judging but the Bible says that you shall know them by their fruit so here I am, your friendly neighbourhood fruit inspector.......
The Instigator


Keguro said...

Is discourse not also activism?

Mr. Instigator?

I certainly consider my own (pitiful) writings a form of engaged activism.

Let's not forget the many, many, many foreign dissidents who cannot write or speak in their home countries, but do so from abroad.

Activism takes many forms, no?

The instigator said...

@ Keguro
The key word of activism is the word active.Yes there are many dissidents but aren't they in exile coz they put themselves on the line back home and had to flee for their lives?That is different from doing jack with your hands and mouth at home then turning Mr Patriot with your mouth wherever you choose to go.

Shiroh said...

I really dunno what activism check, letme check

"a policy of taking direct and militant action to achieve a political or social goal"

So what you described about the Maasai lady is almost missionary activity. The work of activists is to make noise, however they do it

the instigator said...

@ Shiroh
I think a woman taking on age old norms and practices is militant too otherwise more people would be doing it.

mutumia said...

Demonstrations have dubious tangible benefits, and in my book take second place to actually going to the field and working with say, children in armed conflict- or buying a blue bracelet to a fundraiser that will raise money for said activities.

The efforts of the arm chair activists that you describe- the type who buy red ribbons whose money goes on to fund AIDS research matters and counts. Since we all cannot be research scientists, or direct care providers to people with AIDS, the next best thing is supporting and blogging about it.

Look at it this way, arm chair activists could have been paying extra to buy their kid a kick-ass Play station for x-mas but they choose to add their $300 to help build an orphanage in Kathmandu.

And that rocks.

Acolyte said...

@ Mutumia
You would be surprised at how little money goes to the cause after you buy your cute blue bracelet after costs are covered.So there isnt anything wrong with giving money but make sure it goes to a legit charity there is a site that vets them so be wise in your giving.

Prousette said...

I get apalled when people attend workshops and seminars and retreats in the name of activism especially here in kenya about AIDS and poverty yet the activity ends at them luncheons. How does that help??? Do we really need seminars to discuss how to eradicate poverty?

The instigator said...

@ prou
That my dear is according to Keguro is known as discourse and since you cant be there for every AIDS victim you might as well have lunch and talk about it.