Saturday, May 22, 2010

Katinsf says: Ordinary People Can Change the World

My friend Kate -- Katinsf -- blogs as Democracy Sometimes, a wry reference to Amy Goodman's Democracy Now (or at least that's how I read it).

Yesterday she published this post: Ordinary People Can Change the World. Now I'm not a very hopeful person. The message in Kate's title is not one you'd catch me believing most of the time. But with OPCCtW she knocked my cynical socks off.

The narrative arc is a one-two punch.

First, Kate writes about the film Budrus. From the film's website:
Budrus is an award-winning feature documentary film about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. Success eludes them until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the front lines.

Kate participated in many of the events documented by the film, and knows many of the key actors. Some of her on-the-ground footage is included in the documentary, and her posts from Palestine during this struggle were riveting at the time. A principal lesson she takes from the film (and the events) is that ... ordinary people can change the world. It's a terrific story, and I can't wait to see the film myself.

Cut to the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which I've blogged about myself a couple of times. Kate makes some astute observations about how this still-burgeoning disaster is being covered in the news:
The media – especially the mainstream media, but even the progressive media does its part, for different reasons – promote the idea that dangerous offshore wells are drilled and wars for oil are waged so that we in this country can drive our cars and watch our televisions. And that in turn has a silencing effect on people who might otherwise want to criticize those policies. I heard someone essentially say on KPFA the other day that if you drove a car to work today, you have no right to complain that somewhere between half a million and 2 million gallons of oil are leaking into the Gulf every day.

She then goes on to debunk the spin, explaining why
U.S. policies are not proof that Americans are so selfish that we want to keep using fossil fuels despite their enormous cost to the planet and its inhabitants.
And then ties the two threads of her post together:
We do not have to accept that just because this is the way things have been for the last 150 years or so, it’s the way it needs to be for the next 150. We do not have to simply swallow bad news with our morning coffee. We can be like the women who stood in front of the Israeli army that day in Budrus and said, no, we won’t accept reality as you have declared it to be. We are going to change reality.

Go Kate.

Read her post. It'll make your day.

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