I was not going to write about Global Voices on the 5th year anniversary.
Not because I did not want to share what this important project means to me but because my heart has not been into writing for the past few days.
About a year ago, I wrote about a brewing political crisis amidst a tropical storm in Madagascar.
A year later, Not only am I still reading and writing about it, things have now gone for the worse in every possible ways (violence, deaths, coup, armed repression, pillage of natural resources, unemployment, plunging economy and again, more violence).
That's two holiday seasons in a row when Malagasies have to spent wondering what uncertain future the new year will bring about ( Obama's decision today on AGOA is certainly not helping).
Yet I realize that the current dire situation is even more reasons to write about Global Voices.
While we Malagasies may think that we are especially unlucky lately, a quick perusal of what was written in the special coverage pages for the past year on Global Voices would show that misfortune stroke in many other part of the world as well.
Fiji endured a coup d'etat aggravated by a tropical storm that caused major flooding, just like us.
Guinea endured their own blood bath, just like us.
Gabon, Iran and Afghanistan are struggling with their own political crises, just like us.
Chinese, Tunisian, Moroccan and many others activists fought off act of repression on their rights to express themselves, just like us.
Palestine spent an especially agonizing start of 2009 as if the past 40 years were not already hard enough on the population.
Maldives is facing the disastrous prospect of global warming in the foreseeable future and like Madagascar, it looks helplessly at its fast-deteriorating landscape.
I probably forgot many other cases where humanity did not showcase its best side. But you get the point...
I read it all on Global Voices. And yet Global Voices is also my go-to place when I want to find the light at the end of the tunnel, the reason to not despair when mankind sputters as it moves along its tumultuous journey.
Because, amidst all the gravity of the situation described there, you see people living. You see people trying to share the stories of their lives. They tell you not to feel bad for them but to support them, as friends, not as moral obligation. They don't ask for help or aid, they are looking for a solution that you may help provide because you too have lived through your share of struggles.
That's what Global Voices means to me.
When many other pay lip services to caring about what happens in the rest of the world, Global Voices people not only share, react and translate those updates but they also travel to be there, with them.
When we get bugged down by the refusal to communicate and division as it is the case at home now (note that home is several different places and like many GVers, I make no apologies for that), I see GVers trying the darnest to exchange, never mind the potential cultural or language barriers.
I see my friends at GVO Malagasy translating the struggles of Guatemalan lawyers with human trafficking. I see Argentinian friend sharing favorite poems with an aspiring young Malagasy writer (you know who you are).
I cannot speak a word of Spanish or Kiswahili but I feel strongly connected to Catalina in Medellin and Collins in Nyakuru, fellow Rising Voicers, thanks to a memorable GV Summit this summer in Budapest.
And the satisfaction to have helped showcase two friends' (Lalah and Andry) remarkable effort to thousand of readers can only be fully understood by other GV contributors who help highlight initiatives like that everyday.
I really have not written as much I should for Global Voices lately. (You certainly can understand why, one can write about a country's struggles only for so long). I think I will resume writing soon though because it is such a rewarding experience.
So I highly recommend joining the community if you feel like you could share more about your part of the world. (Malagasy friends, holler at me if you'd like to contribute)
I am aware that I am painting a very rosy picture of a venture where there certainly is a selection bias to cosmopolitanism and openness ( they are all bloggers after all). I may also be a tad optimistic about the impact of Global Voices locally.
But here is the thing: the only thing I ever really wished from the "leaders of this world" is that they would show the same willingness to listen to other voices as all the contributors of Global Voices have done.
So if you appreciated hearing the stories of real people around the world, please consider helping.
A big thank you to Alice for inviting me in this community.