That pearl of wisdom came from a taxi driver yesterday in Barcelona. He did it as a conclusion of a conversation we had around politics, economy, religion, poverty….basically a typical taxi conversation, with no football by the way.
Today, while reviewing the draft of the new Oxfam Strategic Plan I found this statement, “Oxfam believes that there is a realistic possibility that the present decade could witness a tipping point, with the power of global elites successfully challenged by accountable and active global citizenship.”
My first reflection thought was what my colleague, now I can call him so, the taxi driver said. That is exactly the sentiment he expressed; … this is going to change, and it is going to change because it cannot continue it is now.
It cannot be that, that in a world plenty of obscene wealth, inequality and poverty is increasing. In a hyper connected world, where everything may be instantly known, that we do not know about a huge number of inaccessible secrets like tax havens, lack of transparency in governments or the use of funds of big corporations. Nothing happens when someone breaks a bank, a government or a country.
Hence, if my taxi driver was right and so is Oxfam, it looks the capacity and onus for change is on us. The push may come from indignation or hope or even ingenuity, but it seems that accountable and active global citizenship may have some of the answers. At the same time on those answers we find our challenge, those three adjectives.
Accountable, so easy to say but so easy to forget. This is one of the task, to tell, to share, to disclose, the actions, the successes and failures, the mistakes and the right decisions. We have been thinking that the triumph is only of those ones who never mistakes, what a silly thing! All of us succeed everyday in something, no matter what it is. Taking care of one children or our elders, go to work hard everyday, or go to find a job, be everyday a bit better, we do it, and we succeed, and not always things are right, we make mistakes but we continue doing our best. That is the collective spirit, no matter to make mistakes, only matter to keep doing the same mistakes and to avoid that accountability is the best vaccine.
Active, what a laziness! With so many things I have to do, am I going to engage in such a thing? Well, it is your call. The old Greeks, wise people even misogine, call “idiot” to those who refuse to participate on the issues of the city, on the common issues, on the public issues, the things related to the citizenship. You can always end being happy with not participating, but remember, you will be happy idiot.
Global, very hard that one! How difficult is to feel those suffering 8,000 miles far away are my siblings. How difficult to feel solidarity to those we do not even know. It is hard with the acquaintances, so guess how is it with the aliens? So in such moments we became hard with the immigrant, with the different, with the weakest. We compare cynically our poor with the poor of the others. But such a thing does not exist. One of the reasons of our trouble is that false difference. The solution to be a solution needs to be global, I cannot save myself without saving the other.
And now I am back to my colleague the taxi driver: “This can’t be as it is and it’s going to change…” Are you going to be one of those who engage with the change or you rather will be a happy idiot?