Strategies for Sinking Ships

I was looking for quotes and found this (see below)…it made me think on all the times I lose faith (and all the times I get inspired) when I see thousands of people mobilizing for different causes…

The last one? “Ni una menos” a movement that started in Argentina (my country of origin) and quickly spread around other Latin American countries…it attempts to bring awareness and stop the abuse against women, specifically what they are now calling “femicide” which has grown in the last years as more and more women are not only abused but also kidnapped, raped, tortured, sold and even murdered, as it is the case of 16 year old Lucia Perez in Mar Del Plata whose case was the last straw and sparkled this protest and group.

Last week, I watched “Colonia”, a movie about “Colonia Dignidad”, a place in Chile where (among other things) people persecuted by the Pinochet’s regime would be sent to be tortured and abused. It reminded me of similar places in my own country, Argentina, and the coup d’état that make my family flee the country and converted us all into refugees.

Today, I watched “When day breaks” a movie about the ethnical “cleansing” of Jews and gypsies in Serbia…and how story repeat itself and expands as we would never learn from the past.

We say “enough” as many before us have…poets and activists have written and marched…we thought WWII would be enough to teach, Civil Rights would be enough to change, Animals Rights would be enough to stop…but we didn’t learn, few things changed and the violence has not stopped…

Working as I do with people, I see that the root of depression, anxiety, family and relationships’ dysfunctions, as well as all the other things that are “wrong” in this world seems to be the same everywhere: it is the same root that has pushed ecosystems to a corner where they are now struggling with survival; caused the climate to change and all the tragedies to come;  made the beings and elements we call “resources” to become scarce and polluted…it is the same that causes inequality, wars and economic collapses. There is only one root for it all…

And yet…

I see people coming together, I see movements being born that weren’t there, I see things slowly changing, I see those who never give up…

Is it a “waste of time” to dedicate your life to the cause of women, children, refugees, social justice, overcoming social oppression and decolonizing systems, protecting trees, soil, water or what touches your heart most?

Is it more important to “know thyself” and work on your own internal ghosts, learn to meditate and take care of yourself and be in peace through becoming vegan, practicing yoga and living off the grid?

Will be accomplish freedom, justice, animal and ecosystems justice and the like by the way of compassion or by being confrontational and standing against status quo?

If all is lost, is it better to just try to live our lives the best we can and enjoy while it last or it is better to give it all to a cause or causes we find just?

What is the path?

I have only questions…and maybe, just maybe, there are no answers: just Life itself, clumsy, messy, inspiring, frustrating, amazing Life to be lived.

The ship was sinking—and sinking fast. The captain told the passengers and crew, “We’ve got to get the lifeboats in the water right away.”
But the crew said, “First we have to end capitalist oppression of the working class. Then we’ll take care of the lifeboats.”

Then the women said, “First we want equal pay for equal work. The lifeboats can wait.”

The racial minorities said, “First we need to end racial discrimination. Then seating in the lifeboats will be allotted fairly.”

The captain said, “These are all important issues, but they won’t matter a damn if we don’t survive. We’ve got to lower the lifeboats right away!”

But the religionists said, “First we need to bring prayer back into the classroom. This is more important than lifeboats.”

Then the pro-life contingent said, “First we must outlaw abortion. Fetuses have just as much right to be in those lifeboats as anyone else.”

The right-to-choose contingent said, “First acknowledge our right to abortion, then we’ll help with the lifeboats.”

The socialists said, “First we must redistribute the wealth. Once that’s done everyone will work equally hard at lowering the lifeboats.”

The animal-rights activists said, “First we must end the use of animals in medical experiments. We can’t let this be subordinated to lowering the lifeboats.”

Finally the ship sank, and because none of the lifeboats had been lowered, everyone drowned.

The last thought of more than one of them was, “I never dreamed that solving humanity’s problems would take so long—or that the ship would sink so SUDDENLY.”
~ Daniel Quinn


3 Comments on “Strategies for Sinking Ships

  1. Crucial questions, important examples of activist movements, and a powerful story that reminds us all that our future ultimately rests in acknowledging that we’re all in this together. We sink or float together. What I can do here and now is engage in dialogue with my students. I only have 11 right now, but we’re focusing on what healthy community means. Hopefully, the outcome will be little insights about how transformations can be feasibly begun in 11 different ways, in 11 different places where they are now, using processes that are respectful and inclusive of all community members. I suspect as long as you and I breathe, dear friend, we will keep doing what we can to make things better because we care. Hugs to you, Silvia, and thank you for continuing to raise crucial questions in such thought-provoking ways.

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