Thursday, October 12, 2006

Beyond Borders


I saw Anousheh Ansari on The Oprah Winfrey Show today. She spent days in orbit around the earth as a space tourist. She loved the lovely view outside her capsule: it was of the earth, and there were no borders, she said. NO BORDERS. Really. Did you know that?

Yet there is such suffering in the name of borders: a Jewish state called Israel, the often deadly northward passage through the Southern half of North America, Bakassi, and hundreds more large-scale conflicts between the in-group and the out.

Are you in the EU, or not in?
In North Korea or South Korea?
Israeli Arab, or born right outside the borders in Palestine/Lebanon?
Northern Moroccan or Southern Spanish?
Who cares - it shouldn't matter. Sadly, it matters too much.

There are people who see that it doesn't have to be this way. I met N. at the film festival. She and I talked about how far we are from where we need to be in designing a peaceful the framework itself, one that divides with borders, is flawed.

There are no borders.

Yes, we have inherited a recent tradition of knowledge that partitions as much as possible, puts things in mutually exclusive classes: this country is in Africa, this in Asia...this is a mammal, but that is a bird. All this grouping is sometimes useful for representing data simply but incompletely. That is, it's not the whole story...not the whole truth...Is this land Camerounian or Nigerian? Maybe the answer is both. Or neither.

Perhaps you dare to dream of a new world order that doesn't have division built into it, but increases freedom. Maybe you dream of something crazier. Hold fast your dreams, anyway.


Erik Donald France said...

Excellent post. I couldn't agree more. Even crossing into Canada from Detroit is fraught with stress these days.

Kunmi said...

ha, nice. I started reading the poem first, before I saw the note above it, and I was like wait, I know this poem! (i memorized the first verse ages ag...somehow still remember it). ha ha, e ku aigbagbe to you.

t said...

I first saw the poem "Hold Fast Your Dreams" in a book Kunmi owned when we were kids.