Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Riddle of Development and Post Colonialism

I am afraid that I have more questions than answers and I can't believe it. Just September, I used to speak about the empowerment of women, the right to education, and the issues with poverty. And if someone questioned me, I quoted the UN's Declaration of Human Rights. But what is Human Rights? Can someone have the right for education? Is it a right? Well, if we applied the golden rule that all people are created equal and treat people as you would do onto yourself, I would want the ability to complete my college or even PhD education as well. But in indigenous communities in Chiapas Mexico, education would disturb the mode of life: horticulturalism. It takes the entire community from children to elders to participate on working the land. Breaking up this mode of life contributes to illegal immigration which leads to a whole slew of problems. What do I do in this case? Was all my rhetoric a waste? I still do not think so. I think in post colonial communities, the morale is down. Some people do not know where to go next. Some continue the spurs of a spencerian economy which is where money lust/ power lust is justified like what is going in India. To me, I do not like the definition of poverty being a person living on less than 2 dollars a day because in Chenalo, the community I lived in, a person lived on 20 pesos but they had access to food and clean water. It is

(My little niece and nephew in Chiapas)

really hard to "develop" those areas because one must understand what women's issues are about. But I think I have the answer to this one: THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY. Through the documentations of these indigenous and post colonialized marginalized people can we empower them. With our empathy and us wanting to support them, but through exchange, give them incentive can we achieve an integration of these people. I want to give an example of Guyana. President Jagdeo has done wonderful things and Guyana is the only country in the world to increase its indigenous populations in the past decade from 7% to 15%
. He put indigenous people in places of position where they did not need a college education. He started out by training them as police officers. This motivated other Amerindian people to look into higher education. Now several of their cabinet members are indigenous. I have hope for humanity. And I do not think interest in those who are marginalized is due to self interest or post colonial guilt. A lot of it is empathy. The reason I went to Chiapas was because I could not believe the Mexican government would steal land from the horticultural indigenous people. It upset me. I thought about India and my history and I could relate. Empathy. I think it drives the world more than we think.

(this is precisely why I have faith in humanity. I love him more than anything I know)

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