This morning, I would like to start off with one of my favourite quotes. I found it a few years ago whilst living in San Francisco and every year that goes by, I grow more doting and enamoured by it. It goes a something like this:
Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behaviour. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know, many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry. – J.D Salinger.
How divine is this passage? Especially the ending, “You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
It is 3:48 am, I went to bed shortly after 8:30 pm – yesterday I had a very productive day going through the archives. I found the 20th Anniversary of Bhopal Chemical Disaster media highlights from December 2004 and they are absorbing! I learned about these two amazing women: Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla. I am always inspired in the most unusual times and I think those aberrant moments of surprise are the salt of life. There are so many ways to stand up for something that you believe in. There are so many ways you can voice your values and what those values mean to you. The beauty of living in a democratic state is for that exact reason, to celebrate the differences and varied ways people express themselves, their beliefs, and the things that they value. Some, like Bee—who was illiterate at the time of the 20th Anniversary publication—fight for their core beliefs by protesting and fasting, but there are other ways to voice your disgust against injustice and inhumane acts. Others, like myself, select their daily actions and the written word to express what is in their souls, their beliefs, and their visions for the world. And here is a blurb from Our 15th Year and 100th Prize Recipient, the Goldman Environment Prize 1990 – 2004, “The duo draws strength from each other. Bee’s vision and oratory passion make her a natural spokesperson; Shukla’s quiet diligence and strength make her a formiable organizer. Their partnership is all the more remarkable because Shukla is Hindu and Bee is Muslim, religious factions with a long history of conflict in India. Together, they have made the struggle for justice a powerful validation of women’s role on the frontline of India’s civil society.”
Today, I want you to think about the way you show up to lend alliance to others, the ways in which you stand against things that are opposed to your core beliefs, and the ways in which you show up against injustice and inequality in its multifarious forms (gender, sex/sexuality, race/ethnicity, age, career hierarchy, caste/class etc.). Be inspired…disrupt the status quo, think outside the box, dare yourself to do something different (within reason, obviously, haaha).
Today, I will continue reading the 20th Anniversary media release because it is wise to compare the notes from the 20th Anniversary of the disaster to the 30th Anniversary report. By comparing, I can track the changes that occurred since and the things that have remained the same. It is a way to mark progress (not that progress always equates to a victory). In addition, I am engaging a few employees at the clinic in conversation—a handful are victims/survivors themselves, it would be nice to hear their perspectives on tragedy and the varied ways healing can occur (or I should say, the varied ways healing occurs). I will be visiting the Ayurvedic system of care practitioner and shadow his daily routine…see the healing in action, experience how it is done, here, in Bhopal, India.
Live and let live…