03 April 2010

What Does Reading Do?

I read and read and read. I read about injustices all over the world, in the South Pacific, Indonesia, Central and South America and so on. I read about displaced populations, gender and poverty discrimination, hate, degradation, destruction and starvation. But, I also read about heroic acts, bravery, pride, determination, protests, confidence and strength.

And I read on...

Now I sit here typing this entry wondering what I am to do? Who am I? I read about many terrible things that are going on around the world and I want to cry. I want to cry because it is so horrible, because I am part of the problem, because I don't know what to do. I just read.

But it's not enough! I'm not content. What good am I if all I do is read? Do I not have any power to act? Let's see...

I don't have any real power here in Canada. I'm one of millions in the 'developed' part of the world. I work, have children, own my own home, have leisure time and plenty of time to read. I do what I can at a very small level regarding the environment. I plant trees, reduce paper waste, promote environmental awareness, raise funds for hospices and orphanages in South America and Zambia, live simply (or try to) and so on. Woopdeedoo. I don't deserve a pat on the back which I often get, I deserve a slap in the face. Well, maybe not a slap...

I know I can do more. But what? Should I go back to school for more education? What would that do? Should I sell my house and move to another part of the world to help? What can I do? I'm stumped. Should I write about what's going on in the world or about my own self-imposed oppression?

Listen to me...I can't, I don't...what a wimp. So, what to do? I can keep on reading and hope that someday I'll get some guts. Where does the fear come from? Am I afraid of change? Failure? My own inadequacies?

These are difficult questions to answer. I'm as good as the next person, maybe not as educated, powerful or rich. And to be honest, I don't understand why the world is as unfair as it is, why I get to live a comfortable life while others suffer, why I feel paralyzed to act.

So I'm not well educated (relative to what exactly I don't know), powerful (according to whom) or rich (compared to whom exactly). In my eyes, I should see myself as very educated because I am aware of what's going on and feel a need to act. I should feel powerful because I am strong and lucky and determined. I should feel rich, not because I earn and spend more than the majority of the world but because I have a family, a home, good health and a strong support network.

So, I have nothing to stop me. What next?

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