In my Art and American Craft class, Professor Cooke spoke about the conceptual trio of PLACE-PERSON-PROCESS. This notion has attached itself to my brain, as I think not only about the work I do, but my tenets of human citizenship. This weekend my significant other seemed to be disappointed with my ignorance of the Syrian Conflict and my general unawareness of current events. I plead guilty, as I often find myself drawn to the mundane maneuvers of Jay, Beyonce and Blue rather than staying abreast of the Syrian Uprising. He posited that our American sensibilities prohibit a true understanding of the human condition and encourage petty self absorption. My sense is that he is creating another identity that is quite distant from Americaness, in spite of fact that he's a natural born citizen and that he's resided in the US for most of his life. What I find most intriguing about this exchange is that all Americans have this privilege to successfully renounce our citizenry. No paperwork is necessary, but we can accomplish this by making local and global concerns mutually exclusive and denying the relativism of struggle. This is a luxury not available to members of the 'third world'. The conflicts of their locality are up close and personal, regardless if they get coverage on the world stage. I believe this concept of locality is important. This is not to say that the conceptual nature of locale isn't planet sized, but I'm finding that addressing the concerns in your immediate physical space necessarily, contribute to a fuller understanding of what might be happening a half-world away.
I did get a chance to watch a bit of CNN (online) and was struck by the stories of Syrian mothers and children. This is a narrative I am interested in my present locality of New Haven. I work at an elementary school so I have consistent interaction with individuals under 10 (and sometimes their mothers). Despite the distance and the difference in language/culture- they sound a lot alike. This is especially true as they also Dream of life without shooting. I've tuned my radio to 90.5, the public radio station here, but I am sure I will still get my fill of pop culture confection. What I won't do is allow the atrocities of the world to dull me to the concerns walking distance from my house.
http://wikileaks.org/ | http://www.npr.org/ | http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ | http://www.cnn.com/ | http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ | http://www.foxnews.com/ | http://www.reuters.com/ | http://www.ap.org/
On a side note: I haven't seen "my kids" for a whole week (they had mid-winter break) and today I realized how much I missed them. All of this reading business reminds me of my mom. I was overwhelmed by emotion on the walk back to campus and simply had to pause for a moment and let the tears come. I'm am usually unaccompanied by other pedestrians on this stretch of road, but today as I was weeping, and feeling very much alone, a perfect stranger comes up to me hands me a tissue and gives me a GENUINE hug. She's says "I don't know what you're going through, but it's going to get better." That is just what I needed to hear. I told her on the street, but I want to say it again: THANK YOU <3