Thursday, October 6, 2016

Back to Dadaab

In June, I posted about Real Global Poets and their efforts to give a voice to young Kenyans and youth in Alabama using poetry to express experiences and feelings. At the time they were putting together a book of poetry so I pre-ordered one. This week it arrived and reading through it I was moved to do a follow up post. You can order one for yourself via their website.

The poetry in their book is a stark reminder of reality and its multiple layers. Your reality isn't my reality. And my reality is Dadaab's reality. While what surrounds us every day is "real" it's just a fragment of the truth. It's just a piece of the puzzle. Some puzzle pieces have smooth and crisp edges. Others are worn and jagged. Yet somehow they all fit together. They must in order for the puzzle to be complete. It's at that point when the full picture emerges. That's how I like to think our true reality is. 

So I'd like to reintroduce you to a piece of the puzzle that people tend to throw back in the box or set off to the side of the table because they don't have a place for it. I encourage you to re-examine the pieces on the table, shuffle them around a bit and take a new look at the picture on the box. Perhaps that worn out, jagged piece will be a little bit closer to the center of the puzzle when you do.

Every human life is sacred and upholding the dignity of each unique person is the foundation of a moral society. Once we realize we are one human family (whatever our regional, economic, racial, ethnic, ideological, etc. differences may be) we can move beyond our divisions and come to the understanding that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers wherever they may be in the world.

Once we've truly come to that understanding we can see the world in a new light. No longer will we feel vague compassion for others. No longer will we feel shallow distress at the plight of those we see briefly on the news (or blog posts). We will be moved to take action and to make a difference.

This is a difficult paradigm shift in one's mindset. We're often raised to embrace independence (which is a good thing). But if not articulated correctly, it can corrupt our thinking. An often missed component of independence is interdependence. Humans are necessarily social creatures. Our freedom is not meant to allow us to promote selfish ends. Rather, our freedom is a gift which can allow us to love others more deeply and care for one another more compassionately.

Concurrently love, itself, has lost its meaning. True love is not how someone makes you feel about yourself. True love is to desire, indeed to will, good for another person. Loving someone is not about getting goosebumps when they're near. Loving someone is about sacrificing everything for them.

Now imagine if we all developed a true love for humanity - all of humanity. There's a song in there somewhere. I'm sure of it.

Please visit Real Global Poets and see how you can get involved.