Related Forum :

 

 

Twitter Update :Watch worldfilms at Twitter

Twitter Updates

Watch worldfilms:

    Other Articles :
     
    defining depths, scaling heights. to upgrade our world, to new version - with new vision. feeling this world thinking of that future join to begin. here & now.
    More Articles :
    News/Current Affairs

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)

    Live To Tell

    Nidhi Zakaria  |  07.May.09
    ' A man is always a teller of tales,
    he lives surrounded by his stories
    and the stories of others,
    he sees everything that happens
    to him through them;
    and he tries to live his own life
    as if he were telling a story.
    But you have to choose: live or tell. '


     - Jean-Paul Sartre


    Six months ago I found myself at a World Peace Summit, after a year navigating the mountains of South America, the cities of the Middle East, the streets of Africa, and the wilderness of India. I had been on an extended journey chronicling stories, worlds, lives; being inspired by the young, appalled by cruelty, torn by disparity, enlivened by (com)passion, and weighted by magnitude. I met young, emerging artists: writers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, dancers: the world over, all searching for a more humane approach to exploring the glorious madness of the human condition, all looking to promote, facilitate, discover and celebrate the hope in the midst of the hurt. We exchanged ideas about cross-cultural collectives, traveling exhibitions, residencies that bring dreamers together to collaborate on the themes that matter, of mentor-based training workshops to bring opportunities in the arts to youth in post-conflict countries. It was with these possibilities aflame in my mind that I returned to the hallowed halls of international politics to represent my generation. The outcome of the summit was dismally predictable: four days of somnolent speeches, weary diplomats who gave out promises as freely as pens, and a terrific waste of resources, energy and time at the swankiest hotel in one of the most conflict-riddled regions on the planet.

    Nidhi1LIvetoTell
    Cross-cultural collectives, traveling exhibitions, residencies that bring dreamers together to collaborate on the themes that matter, mentor-based training workshops to bring opportunities in the arts to youth in post-conflict countries: it was with these possibilities aflame in my mind that I returned to the hallowed halls of international politics to represent my generation. Image © Matt McInnis. All Rights Reserved.

    When it comes to peace, I could quote all those wiser, more perceptive and so much more eloquent than me. But they have said and done and screamed themselves hoarse, and still we hurt and maim and wound and bleed. Somewhere, it seems, the majority of us are not serious about this thing we call peace. Somewhere we have come to believe that conflict—as it has always been—will always be. Somehow we have been taught—and we teach—that there is no way to live without suffering. Somewhere, peace has become a compromise, a halfway house between unspeakable hatred and infinite love. Somewhere, peace, like war, has become a game. It is not a game I wish to play. But if peace involves serious inquiry into the way we live (and die), then before we can begin to speak of peace, we must be willing to own our words. As John Berger says: “For us to live and die properly, things have to be named properly. Let us reclaim our words.”

    In a moment of frustration during a 2004 interview regarding the violence in Darfur, John ‘O Shea—CEO of GOAL—exclaimed, “Forget your mandates, forget your sovereignty, forget all these words that are sent out by the international community”. In a moment of recognition, I realized the import of this frustration. There is a widening rift between the discourse within and the world without; a worrying ease with which we (mis)use language. Language, which is meant to foster communication, can also be—and is often today—a weapon wielded to exclude, suppress, silence and hurt. It becomes a veil, a wall, a cocoon that encloses those of us that share its power, and excludes those who—with its dense, complex and ambiguous rhetoric—its vagaries and caprice often affect most. Peace concerns all of us equally, and if we are to take collective responsibility for it, we must learn to listen to each other without demands, and to let people sing to us in their own voices. Peace begins when we learn not just to allow, not even to welcome, but when we learn to celebrate this symphony in our lived experience. Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us: “To educate people for peace, we can use words or we can speak with our lives. If we are not peaceful, if we are not feeling well in our skin, we cannot demonstrate real peace.”

    Nidhi2LivetoTell
    ‘If we are not peaceful, if we are not feeling well in our skin, we cannot demonstrate real peace’ Image © Tommy Martinsen. All Rights Reserved.

    Whether in gender, nationality, race, class, religion, language, culture or thought: the existence of difference does not necessarily imply the potential for conflict. The existence of difference is a condition of being. It is that which allows us to value diversity, to experience our being as distinct yet not separate from another. Conflict is the product of an economy which stipulates that the most desirable outcome of a transaction is profit, that the most desirable outcome of an interaction is gain. In other words, conflict can only exist within an economy where one outcome is consistently valued over the other. What will it take for us to move to a place where we are not just content to accept a little loss sometimes, but where we want to give more than we receive? And if we find ourselves in this place, would we dare to call it peace?

    Nidhi3LIvetoTell
    Whether in gender, nationality, race, class, religion, language, culture or thought: the existence of difference does not necessarily imply the potential for conflict. The existence of difference is a condition of being. Image © Matt McInnis. All Rights Reserved.

    Peace is not an obligation. It is not a compromise. It is not a halfway house. It is a conscious, renewed and continual commitment to responsibility. It means caring for no other reason than simply because we care, because we feel for others the same way that we feel for those who are closer to us than our own breath. Lasting peace demands a revolution in the human spirit. It means becoming so sensitive that we feel another’s pain, that we cry their tears, that we breathe their breaths. To speak of peace without a broad vision and serious commitment is belittling, unjust, and an affront to dignity. Somewhere, this moment, a heart is breaking. Somewhere a heart is breaking, and if we are not prepared to respond to it with all of our being, with the fullness and urgency that it merits, by putting everything we most value at stake and walking into the very heart of responsibility, then what right have we to ask after peace?

    Nidhi4LivetoTell
    As storytellers, we roam these streets that shelter the rich in spirit and in paper, the poor in possessions and in faith, the rich in compassion and in fear, the poor in knowledge and in time. Their voices and eyes, fingers and silences, tears and bones: they bring our words to life, they lull our dreams to sleep. Image © Matt McInnis. All Rights Reserved.

    The liberty that art affords must not take away from the responsibility that it demands. For the first time in the history of humanity, we have the resources, technologies and capabilities to ensure that every person on the planet has the fundamental basics that they need to survive. What will we do with this privilege? As storytellers, every one of us roams these streets that shelter the rich in spirit and in paper, the poor in possessions and in faith, the rich in compassion and in fear, the poor in knowledge and in time. Their voices and eyes, fingers and silences, tears and bones: they bring our words to life, they lull our dreams to sleep. Memory, storied backwards through time, is the promise that must spur our steps towards possibility: the possibility of every life lived whole. And in the midst of the brokenness that ravages our world, if this living possibility is to continue to shine through the eyes of every face we see, it will only be when we learn to give our voices to the silence of those lives which tirelessly teach that there is no such thing as independence, or, conversely, that we are always in dependence.

    ABOUT WRITER:

    Comments :

    1. Posted on 25.Dec.09   From: Donna Renee Anderson

    Oh my gosh. Passion flowing freely painting the remnant determined to make the difference. Beautiful, simply fully beautiful.

    2. Posted on 09.Jun.09   From: Patty

    Beautifully Written...

    3. Posted on 30.May.09   From: Anne Musisi

    Fabulous, fruitful, forceful freedom for the future. Thanks for the inspiration. People wake up and check it out because what we do, write and say is all part of what we can change...
    Peace and blessings to you from a writing sister...

    4. Posted on 21.May.09   From: Patil

    Good One...

    5. Posted on 19.May.09   From: Patson

    Amazing article!

    6. Posted on 09.May.09   From: matt

    Nidhi,
    you write beautifully. made my smile ;)

    7. Posted on 09.May.09   From: Angela

    Nidhi!!! It's a brilliant and moving piece. Don't ever stop writing!

    8. Posted on 08.May.09   From: syzygy

    you had me at the title ...live to tell.....

    powerful words that stir me to action... to give back....more than i receive...must read this again and again before i sink back into my comfort cocoon

    9. Posted on 08.May.09   From: Diana Choksey

    Nidhi! This is an amazing article! Thank you for reminding me that we need to open ourselves and our hearts to peace and welcome it into every aspect of our lives so we can experience and witness it's power. In essence peace is our natural state of being, that which requires no effort but the intention to share the gift of our lives -- love, respect and compassion -- with the people we meet everyday.

    10. Posted on 08.May.09   From: Autumn Antal

    Nidhi, Your email came as an answer to my prayer...where in the wor[l]d is she breathing, dancing and laughing that part of myself beyond words!

    To those who have not met Nidhi, here you see the beauty of her being. Her endeavor is inherently impossible. To express the inexpressible. The delicious paradox of existence. This is why we are so close. Love pushes us to make the attempt. The right combination of words may unlock a revelation so the risk must be taken. We are not separate. We are one heart, one breath. All is divine. Yes, this means you. Wholly holy. What part of ALL don’t we understand? Time has come to feel and fully be.

    Jai Gurudev! Jai Gurumata!
    Autumn Antal

    11. Posted on 08.May.09   From: cloudsnatcher

    too good

    12. Posted on 08.May.09   From: RP

    THIS IS A POWERFUL AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN ESSAY ABOUT WHERE WE ARE AND HOPEFULLY, WHERE WE ARE GOING.

    POST COMMENT :

    Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.