this chinese proverb originated from the netherlands
As the countdown to my public-speaking catastrophe ticks, I spend the afternoon blithely consuming the American Center's fast free internet. Yummy.
Isn't it annoying that Blogger is doing maintenance whilst I have access? I can't fix formatting and whatnot. Also I can't figure out the printing costs and don't want to ask for fear that the prim librarian types will point accusing fingers at the "please restrict usage to ONE HOUR" sign and then boot this four-hours-plus weasel off the machine and out of the aircon. On the other hand there's nobody else in the joint aside from the staff and the embassy cultural officers in their "Public Diplomacy" offices and embarrassing outfits. (Really, countrymen!)
Conclusions to be reached, with internet consumption:
1. Indi is very, very hungry. Three posts about food?!
2. Bloggers would make lasting peace in Sri Lanka if only someone with actual power would listen to us/them. See thread at nittewa.blogspot.com for details of a proposed peace plan. On the other hand, if someone with actual power was listening, we'd all be getting shot.
3. All my American friends are getting increasingly riled over the Katrina debacle and are starting to more or less handwringingly blog about what to do. Some are philosophizing, some are ignoring. I don't want to sound nasty about any of these approaches, but more lead-in to conversations about how we should be Saving the World (or southern Louisiana) is probably not going to make us feel better.
Also in hurricane response opinions--mine:
The efforts to create a refugee/people-driven rebuilding and relief distro organization are snowballing like mad, which is awesome, and I seriously hope that it works. I also hope that the group doesn't resort to crude development-bashing as a solution to poverty and its ills.
This tragedy should not be envisioned as an inspiring kickstart to all the movements against all the injustices at play in New Orleans (before and after). That is poor logic at worst and shoddy planning at best. Yes, the grassroots needs money; yes, people need vision and hope and utopian dreams. We should set realistic goals, though; otherwise you just get rhetoric, failures, and cynicism.
For example, one site states that money for school rebuilding should go through channels run by people who've been creating good charter schools in NO for years. Sounds like a good idea, but these people are going to need to work on their own schools before they can oversee a districtwide revolution. This is definitely a case for local governance, but also a space for outside expertise.
I guess a lot of this is filtered through ongoing tsunami frustrations here. Of course, the tsunami survivors have basically been forgotten in the National Question rhetoric now surrounding the election biz. You'd be hard pressed to find tsunami 'news' in the papers aside from the very occasional key-handing-over ceremony.
Meanwhile Mahinda has bent over and kissed the JVP's tush, and Ranil is still mad sketchy (and probably unelectable) and the LTTE and SLA escalate killings daily. Nothing, of course, has changed in Colombo.