Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thinking Through a Different View Finder

This post is not appropriate for children to read.

The last two days have been spent at a conference in Edmonton.  I will openly admit to being very, very cranky over the thought of loosing my weekend to spend it sitting in the city.  I had an immediate attitude adjustment when Dr. Samantha Nutt walked up to the podium.  She's 41.  She's also the lady who started War Child.  This woman has spent the bulk of her adult years in places where Canadian civilians are not supposed to go.  I sat there with tears welling up in my eyes as she told story after story of things so horrific I can't even imagine them.

Imagine being the mother with no education, can't even print her name, standing in line for medical services with a dead infant in her arms, waiting for someone to help her.  Imagine being the 12 year old girl repeated raped by boys from her village.  When she tries to run away the soles of her feet are cut off.  Imagine a place where you can purchase an automatic gun for $20 but people are dying of starvation.  Imagine a place where this little mineral called Coltan fuels wars.  Did you know that you and I use Coltan every day?  We do.  We are the buyers of the mineral that causes turmoil.  Not the people who live in the regions where it's mined.  We are the purchasers who fuel the demand.  I plan to contact the companies whose products I buy and ask them where the Coltan that they use comes from.  As the consumer we have the power to create change and demand fair trade, demand accountability.

Education IS power.

Look at what Craig Kielburger has accomplished.  He began his journey when he was 12.  Did you know that here, in Canada, arguably one of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world, over 60% of our aboriginal children who grow up on reserves will NOT finish high school?

I have been forced to view my world through a different lens.  I can't say it's not my problem.  I can't say that it's across the world so why should I care.  It's becoming abundantly clear that we truly live in a global world.

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