Ich lebe am Rand und “potential-arm”…

Dramatische Stimmung im Safiental. - Dramatic mood Finte Safien Valley
Dramatische Stimmung im Safiental. – Dramatic mood in the Safien Valley

Ein Dorf will bleiben ist der Titel eines längeren Artikels im Tagesanzeiger vom 13. August 2016. Diese Reportage aus dem Safiental ist wie eine Antwort auf ein früherer Artikel, in dem sich der Präsident eines einflussreichen Branchenverbandes frei dazu äussern konnte, dass abgelegene Bergtäler sich selber überlassen werden sollen, um dafür die öffentlichen Gelder, die es braucht für die Infrastruktur für alle Leute die in der Schweiz leben, auf ein paar ‘rentable’ Zentrumsorte zu konzentrieren. Neo-liberales Mantra basierend auf dem Dogma der Gewinnmaximierung und Machtkonzentrierung: Oh Money, Pass Me Some.

Hier eine Reaktion meinerseits auf den Artikel über das Safiental:

“Liebe RedaktorInnen,

ich lebe im Safiental, und ich bin nach mehr als zwanzig Jahren Auslandaufenthalt auch wieder dahin zurückgekehrt.
Der Beitrag im heutigen Tagi “Ein Dorf will bleiben” war interessant zu lesen. Doch habe ich auch ein paar kritische Bemerkungen und Fragen: Was soll die Rechnung mit 12 Millionen Franken für eine Gesamtmelioration? In Zürich werden Milliardenbeträge in den Um- und Ausbau eines Bahnhofs gesteckt, da fragt sich kein Hoteliersverband ob es verhältnismässig ist, so viel zu investieren um eine neues, unterirdisches Einkaufszentrum zu erschliessen. Denn die Verkehrsprobleme der Zürcher werden mit diesen Investitionen ja offensichtlich nicht gelöst, noch höre ich immer wieder die selben Staumeldungen und frustrierten Benutzermeinungen von Strassen- und Bahnpendlern. Die paar Millionen, die hier in Gemeinde Infrastruktur gesteckt wurden, bringen spürbare Verbesserungen der Lebensqualität für die Talbevölkerung; ebenso für die Besucher von ausserhalb des Tales wenn sie zB. auf den Erschliessungsstrassen bequem ihre Ruhe in den Bergen finden können!
“Potenzialarmer Raum”: das ist auch ein Ausdruck der nur ein von urbanem Denken und Konsum-Kapitalismus korrumpierter Geist prägen kann. Klar sind die renditenversprechenden Ressourcen längst ausgebeutet oder angezapft. In den abgelegenen Tälern gibt es jedoch Potenziale die heute gar nicht mehr gesehen werden im Scheinwerferlicht des Mainstreams. Da gibt es zB. Netzwerke unter Menschen, gewachsene und geschaffene Gemeinschaftsstrukturen, die viel mehr Potenzial in sich bergen als die urbane Anonymität und Paranoia, wo Leute sich konstant unsicher fühlen. Es würde sich sicher lohnen, auch diese Potenziale mal in Betracht zu ziehen. Für die glückliche Zukunft der Menschheit braucht es kein weiteres Wirtschaftswachstum (auch wenn diese Illusion vorläufig über alles trumpft).
Ja, wie sie schreiben: “Es funktioniert” in den Randregionen. Und es profitieren in grosser Zahl Besucher von ausserhalb der Gemeinde die genau das suchen, was sie bei sich dem Profit, dem Fortschritt, und der Entwicklung geopfert haben. Ich wünschte mir ein grösseres Verständnis der Metropole für die Tatsache dass eine Metropole nur funktioniert solange sie eine Peripherie hat. Wir sind nicht zu trennen.
Mit freundlichen Grüssen,

Othmar

(Als Leserbrief im Tagesanzeiger gedruckt: Leserforum 22. August 2016)
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Ecopop Initiative – neue Textfassung

Die Ecopop Initiative ist zur Zeit in der Beratung durch die schweizerische Legislative. Es gibt viele Argumente für und gegen die verschiedenen Anliegen im Initiativtext. In der folgenden Fassung werden diese Anliegen noch deutlicher, und weniger restriktiv, vorgelegt.

Ein Grundgesetz soll meiner Meinung nach in erster Linie wahrhaftig sein und die enthaltenen Anliegen direkt ansprechen. Das Grundgesetz soll einen Gesetzesraum ermöglichen und nicht das Leben der Menschen einschränken.

Rappi

Initiativtext

Die Ecopop-Volksinitiative «Stopp der Überbevölkerung – zur Sicherung der natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen» stellt, gestützt auf Art. 34, 136, 139 und 194 der Bundesverfassung und nach dem Bundesgesetz vom 17. Dezember 1976 über die politischen Rechte, Art. 68ff, folgendes Begehren:

I    Die Bundesverfassung wird wie folgt geändert:

Art. 73a (neu) Bevölkerungszahl

1 Der Bund strebt auf dem Gebiet der Schweiz eine Einwohnerzahl auf einem Niveau an, auf dem die natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen dauerhaft sichergestellt sind. Er unterstützt dieses Ziel auch in anderen Ländern, namentlich im Rahmen einer globalen Debatte um die Grenzen des Wachstums und der Ausbeutung der natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen.

2 Die ständige Wohnbevölkerung in der Schweiz soll im dreijährigen Durchschnitt um maximal 0,2 Prozent pro Jahr wachsen.

3 Der Bund investiert mindestens 10 Prozent seiner in die Wirtschaftsförderung fliessenden Mittel in Massnahmen zur Förderung der Fortpflanzungsfähigkeit und –willigkeit der traditionsbewussten Schweizer und Schweizerinnen. Continue reading “Ecopop Initiative – neue Textfassung”

Hope on the horizon – the movie (+de)

Hope on the horizon: The short experimental film Healing in Babalmé has been officially selected for screening at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival 2013.

DCISFFlogo

Healing in Babalmé – A story of hope from a marginalized place tells the story of a humanitarian worker’s lived experiences during a malnutrition crisis in Chad, where a pastoralist community on the edge of the Sahara desert mobilizes its own resources to overcome effects of marginalization. This short experimental documentary is a witness to the power of supportive non-intervention and true community development.

für eine deutsche Übersetzung klicke hier: Hoffnung in Babalmé
I am pleased to announce, that my creative spirits have persisted, thanks to the encouragement of Celia and others, to revise and re-edit the animated audio-visual presentation based on my experiences in Chad. I still feel blessed that I have been able to witness the events that inspired me to write the story. They are still a source of hope for me. The events illustrate for me that there is “that of God in everyone”: People with nothing can make a difference if we don’t crush their individual and collective agency with might and paternalistic intentions.

The 2013 Dawson City International Short Film Festival will be another venue to share the message of hope with a wider audience.

You can enjoy the preview in this YouTube version anytime by clicking the arrow button:

Dedicated to the people of Babalmé and the North Kanem/Chad Continue reading “Hope on the horizon – the movie (+de)”

Ausgrenzung, Unterdrückung, und Widerstand (+en)

(English translation below)

Bei der Ankunft im ehemaligen Kapuziner Kloster, dem heutigen Haus der Gastfreundschaft, ist eine grosse, steinerne Gedenktafel sichtbar. Obwohl die Tafel in erster Line auf die Baugeschichte des historischen Gebäudes verweist, lässt sich aus dem ersten Satz viel Vorgeschichte heraus lesen:

Sunnehuegel7

„Zur Beruhigung der bitteren Untertanen schickte nach dem Bauernkrieg von 1653 der Rat von Luzern die Kapuziner nach Schüpfheim und erbaute ihnen auf eigene Kosten hier, wo bisher ein Galgen mit Überresten hingerichteter Bauernführer stand, Kirche und Kloster. 

Der Bauernkrieg war ein Aufstand der rechtlosen Landbevölkerung. Die Bauern hatten genug von der politischen Bevormundung und der wirtschaftlichen Ausbeutung und Benachteiligung durch die mächtigen Stadtherren. Continue reading “Ausgrenzung, Unterdrückung, und Widerstand (+en)”

En route – Tongeren (Belgium) to Noorbeek (The Netherlands)

For those who would like to see the trail portion of my journey so far: here is a map.

Map it out – the extent of obvious misery

Here I am in the Kensington area of Philadelphia.

The row houses in the Kensington area were originally built for workers in the vicinity of the factories that employed them. They are a monument to industriousness and dignity. The factories were not social institutions, but apparently it was possible for many families to live in their own little house in the neighbourhood. It was a short commute to the workplace. There were many little corner stores selling things of daily needs, and bars for those who had daily or occasional wants. Some avenues were commercial districts with a variety of stores and shops. I have seen a library in a park, schools and a hospital – all in a similar architectural style making use of brickwork, just the way the factories were built. And there were many churches to comfort the ones hit by hardship and to celebrate with the ones who were able to make it.

Industrial Beauty - a restored factory portal in Kensinton
Industrial Beauty – a restored factory portal in Kensington

Continue reading “Map it out – the extent of obvious misery”

Daily Random Act of Kindness #3

The Kensington neighbourhood might be one of the rougher places in Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love.

There must be a way...
There must be a way…

Allegheny Station of the subway system is not particularly accessible. The trains are running elevated at the level of the third and fourth story of the adjacent houses. The station exit is not fitted with an elevator – just long concrete stairs down to street level, moist and slippery from the melting snow mixed with the grime of an administrative district with low-priority for proper maintenance. Continue reading “Daily Random Act of Kindness #3”

En route – Philadelphia

A Better Yukon for All – the governmental strategy for social inclusion and poverty reduction

A critical review by Othmar F. Arnold

(All mentioned documents are linked directly to the original source.)

The preamble to the new strategy document outlines very nicely what a better Yukon for all means: “A socially inclusive society is one where all people feel valued, their differences are respected, and their basic needs are met so they can live with dignity. It is a society where everyone has the opportunity to participate and to have their voice heard.’ (p. 8) And it continues with deep insight about social exclusion: it “is the result of barriers in the social, economic, political and cultural systems” (p. 8).

In the introduction, the scope of the strategy is presented as a guideline to social policy development; or in other words, how government will facilitate a way of meaningfully living together. From the research the government conducted, it concluded that service delivery and access to services appear the main reasons for the fact that some people in the Yukon do not feel included. Furthermore, “poverty is one of the most obvious factors contributing to social exclusion, but social exclusion also stems from and is exacerbated by inadequate education, housing, health, social participation, employment and access to services (p. 8)”.

Continue reading “A Better Yukon for All – the governmental strategy for social inclusion and poverty reduction”

A Better Yukon for All – a new strategy paper

The Government of Yukon has recently released its long-awaited

Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Strategy

It has been in the works for a while and there were several delays in releasing the document. But I am glad that it has finally seen the light. The entire strategy document can be downloaded from the following page: A Better Yukon. On the same page, the government released the 2010 background research report: Dimensions of Social Inclusion and Exclusion.

A socially inclusive society is one where all people feel valued, differences are respected and basic needs are met so they can live with dignity. Barriers in social, economic, political and cultural systems can prevent people from being part of their community. Everyone is affected by social exclusion and poverty, and everyone plays a role in finding solutions.

Vision

A Yukon where social exclusion and poverty are eliminated, diversity is celebrated, and all Yukoners have the opportunity to prosper and participate to their full potential, free from prejudice and discrimination.

The strategy document provides guiding principles, goals, and a commitment to measure success.

Evidence of Homelessness in Whitehorse: abandoned camp along the Yukon River
Evidence of Homelessness in Whitehorse: abandoned camp along the Yukon River

Continue reading “A Better Yukon for All – a new strategy paper”

Landfillharmonic

Dear Friends,
please enjoy and get inspired by this teaser film for a documentary called “LandFillharmonic” I found on an other blogsite. It is excellent evidence that we can make the best out of whatever we have, even if we have nothing!

“One day it occurred to me to teach music to the children of the recyclers and use my personal instruments,” explains 36 year-old Chávez, who worked as an ecological technician at the landfill. “But it got to the point that there were too many students and not enough supply. So that’s when I decided to experiment and try to actually create a few.”

Working beside the families for years Chávez eventually made friends and became acutely aware that the children needed something positive in their lives. He was inspired to do something to help. He began using the trash in the landfill to create instruments for the children.

The town of Cateura was built virtually on top of a landfill. Situated along the banks of the Paraguay River, the landfill receives over 1,500 more tons of solid waste each day. There are seven different neighborhoods built around the landfill, accounting for over 2500 families living in close proximity to dangerous waste. Most of the families, including children, are employed by the landfill as recyclers. The poverty has forced children to work in the landfills, neglecting any education that might lead them to a better life. (from: artjournal.com)

It matches the powerful message of my own film project about community development, empowerment, and resourcefulness “Healing in Babalmé”. Watch the short film on YouTube or follow this link:

Hope on the Horizon – the movie

Here is the link to the Landfillharmonic video: The world sends us garbage…

Scribblings from the Bluegrass

Check this out:

View original post

The time for giving – global needs you would have never dreamed of

Over the last few days, I came across several writings in the blogosphere about aid. It started with the blog from a Norwegian family that inquired whether providing employment for a person from a marginalized context (read: Third World country) could potentially constitute a form of development aid at the private, most direct level.

Is hosting an au pair the most direct form of developmental aid maybe?
I´m not being cynical. It is a sincere question. (from Au pair host: “Development Aid?“)

In response, I offered some of my own thoughts for finding an answer:

…However, I have some doubts about the notion of development aid. In the first case, the mother and child have migrated from the less affluent to the more affluent context due to marriage. They have uprooted themselves to significantly improve their social and hopefully economic standing – this is what I call upward mobility. There is no development in Kenya associated with that.
In the second case, the young woman has returned with hard earned and saved cash and is able to run a family business. At least that will have a development effect in the country of origin. But the process is a form of migrant labour, or maybe another form of remittance.
I think that if a person from a marginalized country comes and works as au pair in a highly privileged country and is treated like a human being and not simply as cheap labour, it is a noble exchange.
But it does not constitute charity:

Nick Negerli - the ubiquitous guilt-absorbing church collection boxes of a recent past (photo credit: vgntramp.wordpress.com)
(photo credit: vgntramp.wordpress.com)

Continue reading “The time for giving – global needs you would have never dreamed of”

Hope on the horizon – the movie (+de)

Healing in Babalmé – A story of hope from a marginalized place tells the story of a humanitarian worker’s lived experiences during a malnutrition crisis in Chad, where a pastoralist community on the edge of the Sahara desert mobilizes its own resources to overcome effects of marginalization. This short experimental documentary is a witness to the power of supportive non-intervention and true community development.

für eine deutsche Übersetzung klicke hier: Hoffnung in Babalmé
I am pleased to announce, that my creative spirits have persisted, thanks to the encouragement of Celia and others, to revise and re-edit the animated audio-visual presentation based on my experiences in Chad. I still feel blessed that I have been able to witness the events that inspired me to write the story. They are still a source of hope for me. The events illustrate for me that there is “that of God in everyone”: People with nothing can make a difference if we don’t crush their individual and collective agency with might and paternalistic intentions.

I am planning to submit this version to the Dawson City International Short Film Festival 2013.

DCISFFlogo

It will be another venue to share the message of hope with a wider audience.
You can enjoy the preview in this YouTube version anytime by clicking the arrow button:

Dedicated to the people of Babalmé and the North Kanem/Chad Continue reading “Hope on the horizon – the movie (+de)”

Hope on the Horizon

"Hope on the Horizon" screenshot from the online version of the MSF Canada magazine Dispatches 16(2), Summer 2012
“Hope on the Horizon” screenshot from the online version of the MSF Canada magazine Dispatches 16(2), Summer 2012

I still remember my first visit to Babalme in July 2011. The MSF vehicle had to use a local guide to point at indistinguishable features on the horizon, a lone tree or a sand dune, to direct us more than twelve kilometers off the last known track in the desert sand. It was a bleak picture. The area was drier than the rest of the Sahel, not a single mud brick building, no school, no health centre – just people living a pastoralist life in a forgotten corner of Chad and close to the border with Niger.

Continue reading “Hope on the Horizon”

A call for lateral love from down under

Today I learned through a follower of this blog about an important indigenous healing initiative in Australia. It is called Lateral Love Australia and is intended to explore and help overcome the opposite of lateral love: Lateral violence.

Lateral violence happens when people who are both victims of a situation of dominance, in fact turn on each other rather than confront the system that oppresses them both.

I was touched by this initiative. I have witnessed many instances where people in marginalized communities I served in were hurting each other. Instead of pulling together towards healing from various forms of colonial trauma, people engage in acts of lateral violence (gossip, bullying, blaming, alcoholism, drug use, domestic violence, suicide). This only creates more hurt and pain, helps reinforce stereotypes, and perpetuates racism.

Inuit children in Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay practicing lateral love. Family dance Christmas 2008.

Continue reading “A call for lateral love from down under”