Today I had lunch with and interviewed my friend Nena, who was my Uruguayan “mentor” in Stockholm when I started scratching on the surface of what later became the reportage “Hijos de la dictadura” (Children of the dictatorship). I asked her a lot about Tupamaros, the Uruguayan guerilla that emerged in the 60’s, and her escape to Sweden but what was the most interesting of our conversation was what she started talking about and also what the history ended in – what’s happening in Sweden today. And not just in Sweden, the whole world – Internet has become our most important tool to communicate and to raise our voices, a tool that has made it possible for us to join causes all around the globe.
But then, what’s happening in our own environment while we’re busy, connected to the computer, reading about what’s happening in Somalia and thinking you’re happy YOU don’t live there. Yes, if you’re gonna compare, Sweden is probably one of the “best”, safest countries to live in, but what happens to the society when we block out each other and don’t care about our neighbor. It’s an “every man for them selves”-society. We develop in technology but what about developing in humanity and remembering what we are living for?
I talked about this also yesterday with a guy from Brazil (who I met while working at the coffeeshop the other day). While walking around the lake of Stockholm my mouth went “bla balbbablöa”, he’s studying environmental engineering and I admire people who actually are good at becoming something that the society really needs to survive (instead of me, imagining that my pictures are important to make people think…?). I mentioned I always had thought I would work for the UN or at some smaller aid organisation, to make a difference and do something meaningful – while growing older I realized how corrupt even those organizations are and I started detest giving away money to charity, like paying the catholic church for cleaning you of your sins… it’s an easy fix to keep on living an “expendable” lifestyle, over consuming and clean your conscience when what we really need to do is to take a look in our closest environment, have time to stop and buy a sandwich or a blanket to that poor man sitting outside in -13 degrees – instead we rush by and think to ourselves “he probably has himself to blame”.
Why is it easier to care about starving kids in Africa while we’re ignoring the homeless in our own streets?
What happened to caring? Many times I catch myself being dragged in to the attitude that almost is the hallmark for our generation – don’t care too much about anything, just care enough to be political correct. Multitasking in commitment. The word solidarity has almost lost it’s meaning – it’s been associated with hippies and “unrealistic” ideas, like communism, the same way that feminism has become a word some women don’t even dare to take in their mouths because it would mean that you’re a butch and hate men? (How can you wanna be a free woman and not being a feminist please tell me)
Our generation has stopped caring, we think everyone else, the government, will deal with the important stuff so that we can just enjoy life – but then, isn’t commitment the most important thing in life? Passion? Interest? What will your life become if you don’t care about anything? and what society will we have to enjoy in if there’s nobody committing them selves to making it better…? It’s so easy for us today to live without participating in society – finally you’ve stopped caring so little, or forgot about how to make a change that you’ll let the wrong people rule and you’ll make it easy for evil men to cease power.
Then one day you’re watching SD, the Swedish Democrats, collecting all people in Sweden with “non-swedish” surnames being thrown out of the country and you’ll fear to raise your voice in protest.
We always believe we’re better than before, let’s not forget about the history, talk to more old people.
Picture from Museo de la Memoria, Montevideo, of when they freed the female “rehenes” from the military at the end of the Uruguayan dictatorship, after 13 years of being held hostages and tortured to keep their families and fellows from raising their voices.
För blogg om reportaget på svenska, y a veces en español – http://www.diktaturensbarn.blogspot.se/