Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sharing Stories

Every so often - I have a look at the 'stats' page of my happy little ramblings - and I am so curious about who's out there, reading my notes. The stats are so vague - just a country to guess from. Who are the individuals in Brazil? in Kuwait? in Turkey? in Denmark? and then who are those larger numbers in Canada, in the US, in Costa Rica? Who is reading this and why? I am so curious. :) It still feels like a strange experience, writing to send things out into the world, without a real idea of who it is going to. When I was living in Guatemala - I would send my monthly(ish) emails to a list - and then there would be responses which often turned into a different kind of conversation - but this way - I just send things out. There are a couple people who write me back, like Cecily (which I really, really appreciate) but for the most part, it seems more solitary than my email group storytelling. So - here's my shameless plea - who are you? What do you think? What are you up to? Drop me a line! If 'commenting' or email doesn't appeal to you - send me a letter (I love post! I really, really love post!) I get mail here at:

Diana Coumantarakis
c/o DAA
University for Peace
PO Box 138-6100
San Jose, Costa Rica
Central America

I will write you back. It could be fun! Anyway - back to storytelling. I don't want you to feel to 'on the spot'.

Last week, we had our second performance of the Vagina Monologues. I was amazed at how different the same text can be - based on small differences. Different day, different audience, different reaction, different nerves. One of the profs here, feels that we should preform it more - so has said she is going to try to arrange something in San Jose, we shall see. I wonder how many times I would need to do that - before I stopped feeling like I could implode with fear. I have discovered I like acting though, totally scary, but fun. It is really a different way of telling stories - which I love. I am really thankful for the experience. Who knows - perhaps I will find the courage to try again. I have had the most encouraging feedback from my classmates here... we'll see. I know that it was recorded - but I still don't know who has it. Maybe one of these days some of that will make it to blog-land.

The Vagina Workshop - mid some sentence...
photo care of the sweet Nate Tanes

For the last two weeks, I have been taking Human Rights Education, with Loreta Castro (a visit professor from the Philippines). It is interesting to be thinking and studying about Human Rights Education - and Peace Education in general, in the midst of discussions about the possibilities present in environments where dramatic change are taking place - like Libya and Egypt and other revolutions. We talk about the power of non-violent revolution and the importance of supporting education to ensure that the same structures aren't just replicated by new people. This week, we heard more about the Philippines (as they are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the People Power Revolution). We heard about the incredible feats of solidarity and peace, that supported the removal of Marcos. What happens afterwards though? What can happen to maintain the optimism and collective work to build peace - after the initial shift in system?

I am struggling a bit, trying to figure out the role of civil society and how we create that change - when things aren't as extreme. How do we work to create a non-violent revolution of policy and action in a place like Canada, or Alberta, for example? How do you even really convince people to participate in the discussion, when so many folks seem to feel that things are going well? That there isn't a reason for change - because their lives are comfortable?

Perhaps the mid-point of an MA is the point where it all seems daunting, that idealistic panic that what we are learning will be very very very hard to implement... especially leaving the bubble of community that is at least willing to debate the idea. Who knows. I guess it is one of those journeys that continues, one step at a time.

Peace to you!

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