Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

American Terrorism American Apathy

salmon I was going to write the second part of Genie and my trip journal... but I couldn't bring my self to do it. It was to be about going to a beautiful land devastated by heavy metal mining - hydro electric dams... prejudice and our apathy. Each time we flick on a light switch, we take land from the Innu and the Cree.

I sent out some emails to Friends, with personal stories of the victims of our hydro eclectic terrorism, and received a single response, one person cared enough to write back, the Friend said, of my idea of giving back an hour a month of electric, "I am not yet convinced" - so instead of the stories of friends of mine, who's lives are destroyed, I sent him some facts about the theft of Native land for our electricity, and well... the rest is silence.

There is much on Friends blogs about the "Terror" Islamic radicals brought us, more perhaps than the terror we brought them. But, you know friends... we have killed with prejudice and apathy, in the Hydro Quebec project many many more than Islamic radicals killed in Britain or the US. We kill with alcohol and drugs and cultural genocide. We kill by "educating" original people away from hunting, then discriminating against them in the work place. Oh look, I don't mean this to turn into the rant it is turning into... it is just I find myself going back to those days of going to places where the victims of our apathy live, and believing if White folks only knew, they would not keep screwing people over... but check out Richard's blog ( Brooklyn Quaker ) about the Quakers of color... most can't even take an hour a month to give back a token amount to those we rob of everything they have. I don't know, I am plumb out of ideas... anyone know how to get through to folks? What they are doing to others today, will catch up with them tomorrow... we are literally killing the planet on which we live by our lack of care for our sisters and brothers.

36 Comments:

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Twyla said...

Your words move me deeply. I get frustrated when I hear stories like this because I feel so helpless to make a difference. What can I do? I applaud you for making an effort. I wish there were something I could do in this case, but as at so many other times, I am left feeling sad and powerless.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Hi Twyla...
As a start... if you read my Aug. 3rd post, I have hopes that Friends and friends may start with a coordinated hour of standing aside from the use of electricity once a month... I will let you know if others take up the leading as well...
thanks
lor

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Dyske said...

Larry,

The reason no one responds to you is because your attitude is so self-righteous. In some ways, it makes you feel good that you care about something that no one cares about. You see yourself as a lone hero. And, that self-righteousness will eventually hurt your own cause, and do disservice to the very people you are trying to protect.

I don’t know the details of the current situation involving Cindy Sheehan, but the reason why she is being equated to Rosa Parks, and getting a lot of support, is probably because she stands alone, having no expectations that others should join her.

Every day we face a whole bunch of people wanting our attention for some humanitarian cause. What is important isn’t that everyone contributes little bit to everything. You contribute to things that resonate in you. Accusing others of being apathetic just because they don’t help the cause you are interested is sheer selfishness. And, in many people’s minds, your selfishness will be associated with the cause you are trying to help. Even if they want to help, they might resist because they subconsciously resent your selfish accusation.

If something does not speak to someone’s heart, standing on a high moral ground and trying to force them by making them feel guilty isn’t going to do anything. With any humanitarian effort, what counts is quality, not quantity. You should put your heart into what you believe in, but don’t expect others to feel the same way you do. All you are doing is to paint yourself as someone superior by calling others apathetic. You are not showing any respect to the differences in our beliefs and perspectives.

For you, what you think is right is absolutely right, and therefore everyone else should do what you think is right, otherwise there is something wrong with them. We have a president who thinks the same exact way.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger Dyske said...

One more point:

A real change in people’s heart can never happen through guilt or threat. It must happen on their own volition, otherwise the change would only be temporary. One way to do it is to inspire others by your own example, but don’t expect anyone to be inspired. If you are not inspirational, then that’s that; trying to force them or guilt them into getting inspired by you doesn’t do anything. It runs counter to the very definition of the word “inspiration”. If you want to be inspirational but if you are not inspirational, then you have only yourself to blame. Calling them “apathetic” is self-serving.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Self righteous or tired... does it really matter? I'm a bit tired of begging Friends on behalf of Romany people, Indians, all the people who are not the flavor of the month cause four care... shit man, it isn't my baggage, nobody cares or these people would not be oppressed. I rather not be the "one lone hero"... fact is I'd not describe myself as that, I would say the one heroic young woman who was the only Quaker funded worker on Romany rights in Europe ... she was a hero, she's now an out of work hero. Frankly, I have been silent for over a year on these issues because I get this kind of response. No offense taken, Friend and I hope none given, but damn... I have stood and watched Innu bury their children who killed themselves over the apathy of the people who eat their land for electricity, if you find my response self righteous, frankly I don't care... I care more for what I have seen up north, out west, over in Ireland... those things I care about... they to me are worth my attention and care. As far as my own examples in life, I will leave that to others who know me better to judge or speak to...

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

“Frankly, I have been silent for over a year on these issues because I get this kind of response.”

If others have said the same thing to you before, don’t you think there is some truth to what we are saying to you? Isn’t there some clue to a truth that you might benefit by listening? Or, should we stay silent and brush you aside as another ranting guy? That’s easy to do.

Just as one of your Friends said, I too agree that what you are proposing to do is not convincing. One hour of no electricity a month? That would benefit us (by feeling good about ourselves) far more than it would benefit Innu.

Before I read your response, I came back from buying a whole bunch of energy-saving light bulbs and replaced most of the bulbs I had, altogether 8 of them. Now, my lights are going to consume 200 Watts total, as opposed to 800 Watts I used to consume. Over the course of 1 month, I would do hell of a lot better than turning off my electricity for an hour. (Not to mention the fact that I’d be saving money.) Now, what if some of the people who you sent emails to did something similar, only that they didn’t bother telling you about it? After all, why should we tell you? In fact, the only thing that informing you of what we did, would do is to make YOU feel better. So your accusation of apathy is premature and unfounded. You are being judgmental about others based on your assumption.

Besides, I’m not even convinced that saving energy is the solution. If you were the PR person for the Innu, the campaign you came up with isn’t convincing or inspiring anyone. So, instead of accusing others of being apathetic, try something else, some other angles that may have more resonance.

You accuse others of being apathetic, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who would feel the same about you as well. It’s all relative. Blaming others of being apathetic is pointless. People have different priorities. Just because other people don’t honor your priority does not mean that they are being apathetic. Don’t get confused: I’m not criticizing your effort to help Innu; I’m criticizing your accusation of others for being apathetic. If that’s not self-righteousness, I don’t know what is. Do what you have to do, but there is no need to accuse others of apathy. It is not necessary at all. In fact, it just hurts your own cause.

“As far as my own examples in life, I will leave that to others who know me better to judge or speak to...”

If your examples are actually inspiring others to change, then you wouldn’t be frustrated like you are. You wouldn’t be accusing others of being apathetic.

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

For Twyla and the few readers for whom the issue is not me, but the continuing conquest of Native land... the issue is not, on the small scope of this blog, real energy saving, but rather a few people who care joining me in sending a message of hopeful support to the Innu. About an hour ago, I received the usual notes I get from the Cree and Innu, this from a Cree posting. The Cree hunt just west of the Innu and face the same destruction of their land. The suicide rate is higher among the Innu, howver, last I looked. The note reads in part...
_______________________
Crees are still divided over his deal with Quebec, with many feeling that a deep malaise has already set into their communities. They say the deal endangers their fragile traditional hunting way of life, and that in turn will undermine the Cree social fabric. They say signs of this are already surfacing in a recent string of youth suicides and in reports of heavier drinking and drug use – social ills that have befallen some native communities but that the tightly knit Crees had largely avoided.
Moses’s critics say the deal came with an unacceptably high price tag – Quebec’s insistence that, in return for settling the province’s outstanding obligations from the James Bay agreement, the Crees okay the construction of two new hydroelectric projects that will flood 1,000 square kilometres in the heart of Cree territory. The second of the projects, now under environmental review, is especially contentious because it would divert the majestic Rupert River, known as one of last great virgin rivers of North America.
The agreement reversed a legacy of fierce Cree opposition to hydro projects which had culminated in a savvy international campaign that was widely credited with forcing Quebec to shelve its proposed $13-billion Great Whale hydro project in 1993. Yet many Crees feel they got little in return in terms of protecting their forests from logging – a key element in one of the Cree lawsuits.
The first of the two hydro projects, the 480-megawatt Eastmain-1, is now 70-per-cent completed, but the emotional debate that divided Cree families and friends appears to have only gotten more bitter.
Moses barely eked out a victory in his last election in 2002. He was never able to assume the image of charismatic leader and consensus-builder that his predecessor, the wildly popular Matthew Coon Come, seemed to cultivate with effortless ease.
"I don’t feel we’re going where we should be going," said Robert Weistche, chief of the Cree community of Waskaganish.
Weistche’s village of 1,800 residents sits at the mouth of the Rupert River, where it spills into Rupert Bay and James Bay. Hydro-Quebec’s proposed diversion project would redirect three-quarters of the Rupert’s flow northward into the gargantuan La Grande hydro project to increase its power capacity. The river’s flow would drop by over 50 percent at the point where it sweeps past Waskaganish.
Reached one morning in early August, Weistche said the Rupert was a beehive of activity that day. "Kids are swimming, people are out canoeing and fishing," he said.
Weistche gets audibly choked up as he talks about the diversion. "God made [the Rupert] perfect," he said. "What is man’s right to say we’re going to change it? The Rupert River is the lifeblood of the people here. If they kill the river, what is going to happen to us?"
* * *
At the Eastmain-1 work camp, 1,000 kilometres north of Montreal, Johnny Saganash was one of the first people hired after the Cree-Quebec deal was signed. A former policeman who worked for 12 years as a Hydro-Quebec electrician, he is now the camp’s Cree counselor – scouring Cree communities in search of workers, and smoothing their transition once they arrive.
There are currently 193 Crees at the camp, working mostly in construction, tree-cutting and cafeteria jobs. They’ve joined 2,300 Hydro-Quebec employees who have been toiling there since 2003 to build the project’s 33 dikes and the dam that will contain the 600-square-kilometre reservoir slated to come online in 2007. (Another 124 Crees are among the 526 Hydro-Quebec employees in a second nearby camp, Nemiscau, working on both Eastmain-1 and the Rupert diversion project.)
At first, Saganash said, many Crees accused him of going over to the enemy. But he said attitudes are changing. "Yes, it’s mother nature we’re going to destroy," he said. "[But] when I go to the [Cree] villages, a lot of people give me a handshake, thanking me for work."
Just 85 kilometres to the south of the main camp, in the Cree village of Nemaska, changes from the project are already hitting hard.
Roger Orr owned a thriving restaurant in this community of 600—which is the headquarters of the Cree Regional Authority—before Moses signed the deal with Quebec. Orr said he had to close down because he couldn’t compete with the wages and the enormous amounts of overtime Crees can earn in the Hydro camps.
But Orr said the jobs open to Crees are mostly low-skilled and temporary, largely slated to disappear when the projects are completed. "The agreement had a reverse effect on our efforts to start our own economy," he said.
The influx of workers with pockets full of cash has also brought a flood of alcohol and drugs to Nemaska, Orr said. "People don’t wait for the weekends now. They drink all week. There are a lot of drugs. Cocaine is one that’s hitting hard," he said.
“It’s amazing how fast this thing is coming upon us. The fishing spots are overcrowded [with Hydro workers and other non-natives]. The culture is disappearing fast. It’s slipping through our fingers.”
Another problem preoccupying Orr and other Crees is a rash of suicides by young people. A Cree Health Board study earlier this year found the suicide rate had increased since 2001, the year the deal with Quebec was announced. It reports seven suicides in the Cree communities since August 2003, a rate that is more than twice as high as the average over the past 20 years.
"It’s a crisis of epidemic proportions," said Weistche. "When a big project happens, there is a lot of turmoil and dealing with fast change. There is a feeling of alienation from the land."
Orr agreed. He is about to start a new job as a counselor at a Cree substance-abuse treatment centre. In July, he said, he saved one teenaged Cree girl who was trying to drown herself, then a day later he got a phone call from another who had suicidal thoughts and needed someone to talk to.
"Our social structure becomes ineffective due to the loss of our way of life," he said. "We’ve only seen the beginning. If the river is diverted, the problems are going to be 50 times what they are now."

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

By the way... Dyske... I am in no way comparing myself to Rosa Parks... but you should know, her's was not a one woman setting an example spur of the moment protest. It was a carefully planned event, engineered to raise awareness and support and carried out, not, as the legion goes, by a tired woman wishing to rest her feet, but a brave and dedicated member of the NAACP after much consideration of the effect on the apathy of most Americans.

For almost a hundred years the civil rights movement was a few tired hot heads, fed up with the apathy and terrorism of White America. There are still people awaiting their civil rights movements. I grew up in the civil rights movement... when it meant being called a commie... and I am old enough to be able to remember that MOST of White middle class and liberal America saw Dr. King as a fellow traveler when he spoke out against the Vietnam war... even those who TOLERATED his holding them to the light about race, hated him for his statement that every bomb we drop on Vietnam lands on an American ghetto. Frankly tired as I get, beaten down as I get, I really am quiet shameless about how folks view me... I am in good company on this, I remember how many Friends were quite annoyed that Berrington Dunbar, the sole Black member of the 15th street meeting when I was a child, kept speaking about race... I am not the issue, the children I watched being buried are.

 
At 3:22 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

As I said above, I am not criticizing your cause, but your accusation of apathy. By accusing others of apathy, YOU are necessarily turning the issue towards yourself by expressing YOUR frustration (accusing others of apathy). Listening to YOUR frustration doesn’t inspire or help anything. In fact, it hurts the cause. If you don’t want it to be about YOU, then keep the frustration to yourself, and stick with what is actually productive, like coming up with different strategies that might work better.

You might see yourself as doing the same thing Dr. King was doing, but it isn’t. Dr. King’s words were inspirational, yours obviously aren’t. So, just because it’s not working for you, don’t blame the people.

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

You know... you have to read more carefully... I never said I am doing the same thing as Dr. King... what I am saying is every voice of the civil rights movement, successful or not, inspirational or a pain in the ass, gets vilafied the same, painted by the same brush... I don't give a damn what folks think of me. I don't even care what history thinks of me or the causes about which I care. I have been compaired to Joe Stalin, to Lenin, to Mao Tse Tung... called a commie, a n--- lover, a trator to the Anglo Irish community, a fenian bastard, a paddy, yellow bellied yankee, shit, I've been barred from the pub of an Irish writer I admired, by the man himself, saying we don't let you tinkers in here... why should I mind being compaired to George Bush. Having an opinon in this nation is a great social crime... one to which I am very happy to plead joyfully guilty as charged... and when that crime gets more dangerous, as it will, I will blissfully continue to break the law.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Oh... and yes, I have heard all you said before... but not from the folks who have asked for my help, those folks who say I listen when most of the rest of the world hopes they go to hell. As my fellow law student once asked me... "why do you waste so much time with "Gypsies... " Your comments answer that better than I ever could.

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

“Those folks who say I listen when most of the rest of the world hopes they go to hell.”

That’s what you wish. The actual truth is that most people care a lot more about your cause than you think. They just don’t want to listen to YOU. After all, I did replace all my light bulbs.

Quakers in general are very receptive to most any humanitarian efforts. If you cannot inspire them, it makes more sense to question yourself than to accuse them of being apathetic. After all, if you can’t inspire them, how do you expect to inspire anyone else? Obviously you are doing something wrong, which may even be hurting your own cause. Which is more important, health of your own ego or the cause?

As you read my arguments above, did you think something like this?:

“There are some truths to what Dyske is saying, but he says it in such an unnecessarily rude, arrogant, and offensive way that I don’t want to give any credibility to what he is saying.”

If you did feel this at any point, you can see how other people might feel about what you say. How you express something is just as important as what you are expressing. By expressing something in a wrong way, you can do yourself and your cause a damage. If you are not willing to question that how, and if you don’t care what other people think of you as long as you can say what you want to say, then you are really serving yourself, not the cause.

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

One more thing:

The fact that you don’t care what other people think of you is the very problem that I’m criticizing. That is self-righteousness. You don’t care what other people say about you because you think you are absolutely right.

When you speak for some group of people like the Innu, you are representing them. You SHOULD care about what other people think of you. It is naïve to think that what you say and what you are, are two separate things. Just as many Black people do not want Michael Jackson to speak about racism, who is saying what is critical to the success of any social movement. If you are not representing the people, then you are representing yourself, which means that you truly are serving yourself; doing and saying things for your own satisfaction. Many people do hijack various social causes only to use them as excuses for venting their own anger towards the world. If you do care about the people you are representing, you have to care about what other people think of you. If the people think of you negatively, you have to realize that that negativity reflects on the people you are representing. To ignore that is selfish.

 
At 7:05 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Two comments were removed as they were not on point but were commercial ads. This is not a billboard for computer salesmen or carpet cleaners...

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

well we are up to three adds... I detect a new anoyance on line...

 
At 7:44 PM, Anonymous genie said...

I was reading the blog today and was rather disturbed at seeing an exchange where a bloggers friend directed insulting and barbed attacks at the character of Lorcan. I should acknowledge, that I am Lorcan's wife. On one hand that shows I am not unbiased but it also means I have seen my husband in many generously giving of his soul to people in need who can not pay. Instead of withholding anything back, he gives. He also has always made the moral decision even if that was a hardship or that he would lose friends.
He was reaching out for others to care and it seemed to him, no one did. That fact that he expressed a feeling that there was apathy only shows the feeling that people are being irreparably lost and broken everyday and it can cause feelings of saying something somewhat desperate. The fact that someone cares that much should not engender so much venom. I would ask that there be some quiet reflection. I think that sometimes the use of computer,emails ect, leads to many flip or unkind responds that may not occur if responding were not so easy and one had to sit and write, get the envelope, maybe reread what you said before you run out and hurt someone.

 
At 8:11 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

Genie:

Why is accusing of others for being apathetic is “caring” while defending it with “self-righteous” is “venom”? If he explained to me that what he said was “somewhat desperate” and that he didn’t really mean it, but I didn’t stop my criticism, I would understand your sentiment. But that is not what happened. Apparently he does not think it was something he should not have said. He truly believes that people are apathetic, and not just some people, but a very specific people (just short of naming them). If he is unable to take criticism from others, then he shouldn’t be criticizing others to begin with. When someone is critical, I don’t hold back. It’s a fair game.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Self righteous!!!!!!!!!! Romany people are being sterilized by European governments... Roma are being murdered without protection of law... in this nation Romany people are being jailed for the medieval myths that haunt them and the response of the Quaker community, is in point of fact... no response at all... apathy, no funding, no help, apathy. With some 2 million Romany people in the US, about 60,000 in New York, 90% illiterate, Friends have been responsible for the education of... lets do a quick count... ah... none.

When plain talk is seen as self righteousness... well, Friend... that is not my old time religion. I have seen enough apathy on the part of Quakers but when plain speech is branded self righteousness, I suppose we may be able to ad hierocracy to our failings.

If recognizing the genocide against Romany people and Indians is self righteous and surety of my point being right, well then I am happy to be self righteous, and better that than a hypocrite

Frankly, the major difference between your comments and mine, is that I have first hand experience of Quaker apathy, and you know nothing about my past history as an activist.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

And, yes, one more thing:

Accusing others of apathy is one of the most annoying, insinuating things to do. The only way to counter that is to explain why you are not responding. Most people would not bother doing that, but if they don’t, their silence would be taken as the vindication; guilty as charged.

And what is more annoying is when you do respond and explain, you are accused of being venomous. So, you are screwed if you do, and you are screwed if you don’t.

Genie, I suggest you take your own advice before you use a word like "venom".

 
At 8:49 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

No, recognizing the genocide against Romany people and Indians is NOT self-righteous. Do I have to repeat this over and over again? I never criticized your cause. I'm criticizing your accusation of apathy, which is not only annoying and condescending but also pointless, and hurts the very cause you are fighting for.

 
At 8:50 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Frankly, Genie doesn't need advice from you on what words she uses. She is a careful advocate and uses words to describe that which she knows. I have never her pontificate on things she knows nothing about.

I should say, that the only response, the Friend who was not convinced, as he pout it, I have a great debt of gratitude to, as he was one of the few voices who expressed concern about the AFSC cutting all the funding to the single Romany project that organization undertook.

 
At 8:52 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

When a group fails to act in the face of genocide, apathy is a fact, not an oppion. If Friends are bothered by that... they can act.

 
At 9:06 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

If Quakers are factually apathetic people like you describe, then why do you call yourself one? Whatever the reasons they have for not acting, calling them apathetic is not a good way to start or inspire action. That’s why I’m saying you are sabotaging your own cause. If you do really care about the cause, put aside your self-righteousness, and you might actually inspire some people to act.

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

"If Friends are bothered by that... they can act."

Don’t you see the self-righteousness in this statement?

Well, I’ll keep accusing you of self-righteousness. If you are bothered by that… you can stop accusing others of apathy.

Now, how likely is it that you would listen to me, framed in such a self-righteous way? You keep accusing others of being apathetic, you’ll just create more people who are resentful.

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

I said earlier:

“Accusing others of apathy is one of the most annoying, insinuating things to do. The only way to counter that is to explain why you are not responding. Most people would not bother doing that, but if they don’t, their silence would be taken as the vindication; guilty as charged.”

To be more accurate, I should say that most people are unable to respond. They might have a reason, but it’s instinctual, and they don’t know how to express it in words. Not everyone is a lawyer trained in defending their own positions in words. Imagine if you were one of them. You want to respond but you can’t. So, they have to bite the bullet and let you believe that they are apathetic. It is not fair. You give them such an unpleasant feeling, and how do you expect them to react to you?

When you first posted your proposal on August 3, I thought of responding, but something was amiss. Your proposal didn’t resonate in me. As a matter of fact, I was afraid that you might accuse us readers for being apathetic (especially since no one commented on that post), and sure enough you did.

Most Quakers I met are far from being apathetic. I’m not sure if there are any greater insult to them than to call them apathetic. So, whether it is a fact or not is beside the point. Don’t insult the people whose help you need. What I’m saying is as simple as that.

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger Dyske said...

Now the word “venom” is stuck in my head and I can’t even go to sleep.

“She is a careful advocate and uses words to describe that which she knows. I have never her pontificate on things she knows nothing about.”

Are you telling me that she knows me so well that she is convinced of my venomous intentions behind my arguments?

All I wanted to do initially was to help you achieve your goal better. I was informing you of how your expressions can be interpreted from the receiving end.

If what you guys perceive is “venom” then, I’m not going to waste my time or yours by reading this Blog.

 
At 5:19 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

"If Quakers are factually apathetic people like you describe, then why do you call yourself one?" Well, dear Friend... if you do come back to read any of this... let me provide a lesson in rhetoric. To say that Quakers have shown apathy towards an issue, is a factual matter - not opinion based on personal experience... You accuse me of being self righteous... in the construction of the above question, you imply that if you do not think of your community as perfect you should either shut up or get out. If that is not self righteous, I don't know what is.

 
At 5:52 AM, Anonymous QuaCarol said...

... anyone know how to get through to folks?

That's a question you asked, Lorcan, at the end of your original post.

It's a good one. And an empowering one.

It recognizes that you are not getting through. It's empowering because it puts the work in your hands to understand where the disconnect is between the intensity of your perceptions and passion and those whom you wish to mobilize. It so clear to you and your feelings are so powerful. Why is no one standing with you?

If the fault is in them, in their apathy, lack of empathy, and denial, then you're no longer in charge. They've got all the power and you've become the victim of the very people you want to mobilize. They've become perpetrators.

And you're left to wail, rage at, and scold the folks you want to join you.

This sounds like the replication of an abusive family system. The child is filled with clear, intense feelings about real injustice, emotional pain, even bodily harm. But no one in the family comes to stand with him. He stands truly victimized and alone--bereft, isolated, alternating between waves of shame and rage.

 
At 8:10 AM, Blogger Twyla said...

I'm surprised and discouraged to read these judgemental and catty comments. I don't understand. Perhaps I'm missing something. In the original post I read about a terrible situation, a desire to help bring change, and a weariness with the all-too-common phenomenon of apathy. Perhaps I'm out of place, but to my mind Lorcan didn't deserve to be personally attacked, especially when he was transparent in his vulnerability. God, help us to be compassionate and merciful.

"Make injustice visible" ~Gandhi

 
At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Book recommendation for all: Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg. (This is not a commercial advertisement -- you can check it out of a library!) Very powerful!

 
At 8:04 PM, Blogger Daithí said...

1.) Dyske, your response is rather hostile and unwarranted. Lorcán did not name anyone specifically, yet your response was directed at him.

2.) You seem to think that he could communicate his message in a better way. (We all can improve that that area!) His concern is a worthy one, and if you can help him, ideas and constructive criticism are called for, not ad hominem attacks.

3.) It's quite okay to differ with another person on a matter. Indeed, I can't say that I agree totally with him. Here, I question his perception, rather than judge his heart. We all expect people to share our concerns, and in reality they often do. However, they don't respond the same way we do or the same way we'd like them to. Sometimes, they respond and act without our even knowing it! How often has someone told you that something you said or done a long while helped him or her immenselt...and you don't even remember it yourself?!?! All too often people do care but just don't know what to do. I did not attend the protests when this current Iraqi war started. It angered me greatly and even made me ill. However, I also knew that the Government wanted this war intensely and nothing would stop them, no protests from the governments of their own allies, and much less from New Yorkers for whom they have so much distain and contempt. I was right, it seems. Now, however, my response is more apparent. Lorcán might be impatient (and I suspect that he'd agree) but by no means "self-righteous". Lorcán should know that people are moved and may well be responding in ways he can't see. We ought to encourage him with this, rather than tear him down.

4.) You seem personally offended here. I do not belong to the Society of Friends. Hence, I do not fully grasp your theology, much less your ecclesiology. However, I am a Christian and it does seem inappropriate to air your personal compaints on the Internet. Christ teaches, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone," [Matthew 18: 15]. He provides other steps to follow before bringing the offense to a public forum, that forum being the community of faith. You two worship together. I pray elsewhere, yet I can read these personal intracongregational disputes on my computer screen either at home or at work. That's not right.

5.) I've a good friend who is a clergyman of a church other than my own. He used to fill me in on the latest infighting within his denomination until he figured out that it made me feel uncomfotable. Anyway, since I'm a Catholic living in the United States, his church scandals pale by comparison. For the sake of the rest of us, please keep these things on 15th Street.

6.) I don't know how long you've known Lorcán. I know him for about twenty years now. Are we taking about the same guy?

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Larry said...

Lorcan, was my name written in vain? Ole buddy, you have an interesting problem here, an irate correspondent. Of course his problem is much more acute, but you're in a position to do something: the only thing I can suggest is to "love the hell out of him/her/whatever".

I do see the grain of truth in his frustration, and here is my 'psychoanalysis (such as it is). Ole buddy, you carry your feelings on your sleeve. Of all my acquaintances (past and present), you are by far the champion "feeler" (I even include myself!)

Your causes are multitudinous, but you're only one of many. Frankly my own causes outweigh yours (in my own self preoccupied way of course).

Well actually I suppose when I was your age, I got in trouble about as often as you do now (with your angry friend). Forgive me for giving you this (sixties type) advice: lighten up. Maybe less people will love you, but also less angry people will butt in.

With fear and trembling, but much affection.

 
At 10:51 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Larry dear fellow,
and Friend and friend...

I am a lot more light than some folks think!!!

I sent you a wee note, I realize less light than I feel...

looking for an opportunity to give Dyske a hug...

Thanks again,
lor

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger Dyske said...

I’m back here to make peace.

Just to let you know; I’m not a Quaker nor Christian. I’m not religious but I’m not an atheist either. I’m just indifferent to religion.

I use what you call “violent communication” whenever I feel appropriate. In this instance, I felt it was appropriate, because it illustrates how important how you say something is, as opposed to what you say, which was the crux of my argument.

I don’t particularly believe in communicating with everyone the same way, I choose what I think is most effective. Personally, I prefer people who are direct. So, if you want to criticize me, please do so violently or otherwise, psychoanalyze me, publicly or privately.

I have a website of my own where I publish my writings. (dyske.com) Unfortunately, I closed the discussion boards recently since I was getting too many of those Weblog Spam advertising. When I had it up, I received all sorts of comments, violently negative to annoyingly sensitive. I appreciated them all. I especially like psychoanalysis, professional or amateur, because I like knowing how other people perceive me. I find it fascinating.

To me, the only truly violent communication is when you use negative words without explaining what you mean by it. Cursing, is essentially that. That is, you can call me “arrogant prick”, as long as you explain why you feel those words are appropriate to describe me. I wouldn’t deny that I have been an arrogant prick in many occasions in my life, so if it is true, then it is true; the use of it per se is not violent to me. In that sense, some of the posts above, fall into that category even though they are written very softly and pleasantly, because they don’t back them up with explanations.

I took offense at Genie’s use of the word “venom”, because my intention was not venomous, and she did not explain why. To me, the reason why Lorcan was not getting any support was obvious. It’s like when someone has really bad body odor; most people wouldn’t bother confronting him about it because they don’t care enough about him (and the potential of him getting offended could be very unpleasant); so they simply avoid him and laugh at him behind his back. I too ignore those who I do not care about, but Lorcan, I do care about. If my confrontation could help him change the way he expresses himself, I thought he would benefit greatly. I could be wrong, but I thought it was worth a try. Obviously, it didn’t work; it just offended him.

Daithí, I appreciate your sentiments, but unfortunately, I am not a Christian, and your arguments would hold true only if I believed in the fundamental values of Christianity. To assume those values to be universal is ethnocentrism.

The lesson here is that I don’t belong here. I shouldn’t have been involved in this discussion. My values are far too different from most of you here. So, I say goodbye with good intensions, and Lorcan, I apologize for offending you, but believe me, my intensions were good.

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Dear dear fellow...
Hello, not goodbye
You absolutely belong here... don't be so thin skinned... I don't take personal deep offence about what is said to me, even when we are in a wee tussle... stick around... we learn from you and you from all of us here. Frankly your strong words about ego and soul were very illustrative and appreciated... as to my life as an activist, there is a lot of history to understand here, both success and the opposite, and a lot of pain, as I have never been an armchair activist... but always gone to where these terrible things happen.

Hey, kiddo... let's have tea soon and not talk about this for awhile, eh, dear friend?

lor

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Dyske said...

OK, Locan.

 

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