11/11/08

Still smiling

Back in September, I-Mei and I took a quick trip North of the US border for an extended week-end. I had to give a presentation in Toronto and I-Mei wanted to visit her family there. There are plenty of people closely involved with Global Voices in Canada. So we drove there from Lafayette, IN. It is a fairly pleasant trip but still at least a full 9 hours spent on the road . My intention at first was to drive all the way to Ottawa and Montreal but I overestimated my ability to pack 35 hours into a day. So I missed out on seeing Joan, Elodieriana, Lilia and Jeremy but hey, time is a-plenty.

In Toronto, I met social activist extraordinaire Romina. We discussed North American politics, rising voices and the size of cakes in the Italian quarter in Toronto. (Quick tangent, vote for rising voices for the Best of Blogs awards please). Her project, Nabuur, is a true inspiration. I left her that day thinking that if people are that hopeful about the future, things are bound to improve. I also learned the hard way that parking in downtown Toronto is just not going to happen.


Then on the way home, I had the chance to visit Amira. Hanging out with Amira is a lot of fun, plus she is a true magician. She manages a plethora of projects at once without ever breaking stride and does it in a very graceful manner. She is the editor of the MENA region for GVO and also is in charge of Voices without Votes, a project that compiles reactions from the rest of the world to the US election and made it a great success (as this article in the Washington Post can attest).


We met when McCain was peaking in the polls ahead of Obama and we were wondering whether the US voters were squandering an opportunity to bring a voice of decency to the world scene. Well, worrying was a part of the fun of this election cycle. And Stewart's Daily Show would just not have the same flavor without a bit of anxiety attached to it.

It's pretty obvious in this space that I favored one ticket over the other. However, Amira always emphasized that articles in voices without votes were to remain neutral. She went out of her way to find blogs that would balance the global fascination about B. Obama.
Surely the global majority gets things wrong sometimes and the verdict is still pending here, but I don't think they are wrong about this.

Many bloggers have started the backlash against Obamamania and turn on the alarm signals, warning over blind adoration. Fine, I completely respect that point.

But let me just say this, IMHO, it would be a pity to not try to fully appreciate the historical magnitude of the times we live in. We revere the likes of N. Mandela, J. Moulin, M. Gandhi and M. King for standing up against oppression. But I was not alive for most of those moments. And to be clear, I don't think for a moment Obama is even close to being in the same league as those guys, but his election signals the end of a brand of social injustice that some of those aforementioned guys dedicated their lives to.

The list of socially unjust items is far from being exhausted but let's not be cynical over this just yet. After all it is cynicism that leads to indifference and apathy.
I think that weeks from now, I will still have many moments where I would just start breaking into a smile randomly and I know many of my friends north of the borders and elsewhere would too.

5 comments:

  1. Great post, Lova! Glad you enjoyed the great North so much. Hope to see you in Boston/Cambridge sometime.

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  2. Great pic of you and Romi. :)

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  3. @jillian always dreamt of reenacting the Sistine chapel scene in "good will hunting" ;p

    @david my car was being towed as we took the photo, I think :).

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  4. I found an even bigger slice of cake in the area - if you can believe it! I bowed my head, and dedicated the moment to you. ;)

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  5. Thank you Romi, always happy to be associated with gigantic cakes :D (although being called a cake in French is equivalent to being called a moron).

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