Sunday, July 10, 2005

Make Patronising History

White Band - ONE Campaign
Originally uploaded by Saizhoo.
One of the best things in weekends is the fact that I have time for reading. Today the sun has been shining in Amsterdam and I’ve spent the afternoon sitting in the window and hanging my legs above the canal. My soundtrack ranges from N.E.R.D. (bought the old CD today) and Stevie Wonder.

I love the feeling when I find a marvellous and inspiring text. Today’s finding was from the German political magazine Cicero, which I got from my boss.

Professor of Sociology Frank Furedi from the University of Kent analyses the establishment’s reactions to the referendum results of the Netherlands and France. He sees them as a continuum to the way politicians portray the people as simple and ignorant bunch that does not know their best or does not understand complex matters. The headline of his essay is Zu Dumm für Europa? (Too dumb for Europe?)

I could not agree more with his concerns and criticism. I am easily provoked by politicians who patronise us, the people. Taking all this into consideration, I agree with Professor Furedi: the results of the referenda were highly useful.

People are not ignorant or passive. Or stupid. As Tom Bentley puts it in his essay Everyday Democracy, we just need clearer links between responsibility and power. I heard several politicians seeing the Make Poverty History movement as simplifying or as a nice activity for the masses. "Just another pop concert." Sod off. Make Poverty History with its Live8 concerts is a clearly political movement. And it worked.

So there clearly is a momentum. Our dear leaders, do not screw this up. The problem is not in lack of leadership, it is in lack of ownership and true democracy.

p.s. I had a chat (to be precise, a debate) a while ago with a friend of mine about superstars and poverty campaigns. View the Click ad. I am impressed. You find it from this page. The Click ad makes me cry. If this or Madonna performing gets at least one more person active, I think it is worth it.


The Bionic 1 said...

Hey dude, keep an eye out for lunatic islamic terrorists in Amsterdam. I work 10 miles from downtown Manhatan and I watched the towers colapse on 9-11. With London being hit two days ago, its only a matter of time before another Eurpoen city gets nailed.
Be safe, and alert.

Tommi Laitio said...

Thanks for your comment. To be honest, I am not that scared. I don´t mean to sound cynical but terrorism is something that we have to live with, at least when the polarisation of wealth in the world is as strong as it is now.

I strongly feel that by fighting against poverty and undemocratic governance we do much more efficient work for peace than by investing in anti-terrorism work.

I know it is not an either-or question but we should not let this tragic incident make us lose our focus.

This is something where Tony Blair was brilliant. He kept speaking about poverty and Africa even on a moment of national crisis.