Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Padre Glyn Jemmot in Costa Chica Mexico

I was deeply affected by the discussion we had today with Padre Glyn Jemmot and I thank Yolanda and Joyce for making the connection. I appreciate the opportunity to increase my awareness of an instance of social injustice and their effort to focus attention on this community. I think that they have also provided us with a way that we can make real contribution to social justice beyond an personally enriching academic exercise.

I heard Padre Glyn describe the setting of Costa Chica as rural, poor and forgotten. There is not much we can do about the first two conditions but there might be something we can do about the third.

I watched the Padre Glyn video interview on YouTube again and was struck by a comment that he made. He spoke of the "black institutions in the United states that come to beef up their curriculum, their cultural diversity knowledge etc. to teach there. So they come and do the research but nothing comes back and in the research there is no partnership. We talk about folk research where it is ordinary black people from the villages who've never been to Universities who perhaps could not use properly a tape recorder, they're the ones recording their own history. When you have that parity, that partnership...true partnership in the diaspora dialog, I think they'll have something."

I would like to respectfully propose a project whereby we could offer a connection so the people of Costa Chica could have their voices heard and not be forgotten. I don't know if that would help but it seems that to feel that you are forgotten by the world brings on a sense of hopelessness.

Padre Glyn mentioned that the youth of his community just want to get out and that is understandable. I know what it means to have a rural way of life where the choice is to live in poverty or leave and take your chances in a city. I know how vulnerable people in poor rural communities are to abuse if evil people think that nobody cares about it. The indifference of the world to poor rural people is a blight on our collective consciousness. The opposite of love is not hate but indifference.

This is where technology and a commitment to social justice might come to the aid of this community.

Social networks are amazing things and incredibly simple to set up if you have the most basic of technology skills. This is certainly within the technological reach of anyone who can navigate Open Learn or Second Life.

For example, it is the work of minutes to set up a blog in a social networking community like Change.org. It is also the work of minutes to establish a podcast that could be mounted within the Costa Chica blog. There are podcast services like Gcast.com that allow entries to be made from a telephone. These podcasts can then be heard by anyone with an Internet connection and the blog address.

The residents of Costa Chica could phone and record their stories for the world to hear. People who are interested in social justice could distribute the feed and help to focus a bit of world attention. It may be a while before technology catches up with Costa Chica but that doesn't mean that they can't leapfrog over some of the technological limitations. The knowledge that somebody, somewhere might be listening and might care can have an amazing transformative effect on individuals and communities. A little bit of attention costs us nothing. Even a comment on the Pastor Glyn YouTube video takes only a few seconds but lets the world know that someone has noticed and is paying attention.

I am willing to give this a shot.

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