Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I can’t help but encourage you

What is ‘normal’ for me? Whatever it is that is normal for me becomes the entirety of the world I live in. I tend to screen out other things – they are ‘out there’ or ‘over there’; they are less real than my normal world. My sense of ‘normal’ defines the horizons within which live.

With my interest in the School of St Jude, I find that my horizons of ‘normal’ are expanding. Suddenly a new horizon appears over the edge of the old horizon. I can now name all the countries in Africa; I have learnt to place each one on the map. I know the issues and I know some of the stories. I have become an activist.

I can’t help but encourage you to visit The Guardian newspaper site that is presenting news about the upcoming G8 meeting in Germany in June. They have all the regular news stories about the event, including a piece about the 7.5km security fence that will be built around the resort town where the meeting will be held. This touched my interest because of debate here in Sydney about the silliness that is likely to occur in Sydney later in the year when the APEC meeting is held in the city centre. With current security concerns, it seems very stupid to hold these high profile meetings in major cities. At least in Germany, they are closing off a regional town rather than a major city centre!

The surprising thing about the Guardian site is that they are doing more than reporting the odds and ends around running the G8 meeting – they have taken a deliberately activitist position by presenting the stories of eight African women, each one with a key message for the G8 meeting. Now this is an example of the press REALLY doing its job. They are making the news, as well as reporting the news.

Check out The Guardian site for the stories of the eight women – especially the story of the Tanzanian nurse, Sabina Nicholas, whose four daughters walk miles to get 10 buckets of water in the morning and again in the evening for their household of 14 people. This is because the water utility failed and their district no longer has running water, so they have to buy it by the bucket from trucks.

So, I can't help but encourage you to expand your horizons, redefine 'normal' and live in a whole new world.

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